We caught up with David Bascome, the head coach of the Baltimore Blast.
Bascome is a former professional soccer player from Bermuda, playing for multiple professional indoor soccer teams while representing the Bermuda National Team.
Bascome became the assistant coach of the Blast in 2006, before being appointed the head coach this year.
In addition to his exploits on the field and in the arena, Bascome is the founder of Hope 4 Life, which focuses on steering individuals away from negative influences and finding ways to positively impact their communities.
We asked David questions on his playing career, coaching career, and his work outside of the game.
Describe your career prior to playing professional indoor soccer?
I always looked at the game from the perspective that I was an entertainer! I was immensely passionate for the game and loved developing my craft and training every day. I wanted to be the best and work on that craft every day.
When I finished high school at 16, many college coaches came to recruit players in Bermuda. They had connections which helped me land a place at a community college in South Carolina.
After my stint at community college, I trialed for multiple teams in England, including Walsall, Cambridge, Nottingham Forest, and Tottenham. However, I didn’t really fit as an attacking midfielder in England’s super physical and direct game.
While trialing in England, I was playing for the Bermuda National Team, which gave me the opportunity to connect with coaches in the US. The Bermuda coach knew Gary Hindley who was the coach of the Baltimore Bays at the time. I played there for a bit, however the league only allowed two foreign players, so the coach suggested that I try playing in the indoor league.
I signed with a team in Albany, New York, however the team folded and moved to Harrisburg to become the Harrisburg Heat, so I ended up signing there.
I initially didn’t adjust well to the indoor game and I had to move around a lot because of visa issues. Eventually after playing in Dayton, Ohio, I became a green card player. I also played half a season in Denver, Colorado, before re-signing with the Harrisburg Heat which allowed me to find some consistency in my career.
What was it like playing for the Bermuda National Team?
It was a great sense of pride to have the honor of wearing your country’s flag on your shirt. It means the world to any footballer!
Most memorable experiences with the National team?
I played against Carlos Valderrama when he was at the Miami Fusion, who was one of the best players I played against in my career. He was fantastic; his vision and ball control were excellent. He was so efficient in his movement, he barely had to run! I also talked with him after the match and he was willing to give me advice about how to continue developing.
I enjoyed traveling to different places to experience different cultures and understand what football means to people. I also got to play in front of 100,000 people in Haiti!
What skills are integral to succeed in the indoor game?
Besides having talent, sharpness and a strong all-around game, you must have a strong growth mindset and not be willing to settle for where you are as a player. You must be much more mentally aware in the indoor game. Compared to the 11 a side game, you spend more time on the ball, so you are going to make more mistakes. It is important to not dwell on them and let them affect your performance.
How different were your training regimes for playing 11 a side vs. indoor?
The training was more focused on conditioning for the outdoor game and transitioning to not having the ball at my feet every second I am on the field. I had to be patient and wait for the game to come to me.
What do you enjoy most about the indoor game? Biggest qualms?
I enjoy the high skill level and technical ability of the players as well the mental toughness. I always enjoyed the indoor game because I was an entertainer. With all the fans in a closed arena, I got to entertain and show people my skill. The indoor game is so different because of the atmosphere with all the music and added crowd interaction. It was new to me coming from Bermuda as I had never experienced basketball before. The overall atmosphere, environment, and climate was amazing.
Despite all the positives, I want the indoor game to continue to grow in this country.
Most memorable moments from your playing career?
Winning my first championship at Baltimore. I was very disappointed to not win a championship at Harrisburg because I spent the majority of my career there, but it was an amazing moment!
We won the final 6-4, and after the final whistle blew, I remember kneeling down on the ground in disbelief! It felt like days went by and I ended up crying. As I enjoyed being an entertainer, I finally got the big reward for my performances.
Lots of personalities had to come together to make it happen and it was closure for everything I’ve been through in life. I made it! Football and my achievements saved my life at the time.
What did you do to improve yourself as a player?
I evaluated myself against the top 15-20 players in the league and noted what they had that I didn’t. I then tried to develop those skills and perfect them.
You played for the Blast for five years and were the assistant coach for 14 years, what does it mean to you to now be the main man in charge?
The only transition for me is with my players getting us to my voice and hearing it louder. Earlier this year, we played 3 games in Canada with me in charge, so it is already a comfortable transition. Loyalty, consistency, and trust are three important elements.
Where do you recruit or find your players from? Do most of your players have a strong futsal or indoor background?
In my early days at the club, the majority of players came from local colleges such as Towson, UMBC, and Loyola, but now we are able to attract talented foreign players as well. Brazilian futsal players entering the club and league change the complexity of the game. Many of the foreign players we get, like myself, use the game as a way out from a tough upbringing or situation.
The indoor game and soccer community in general is very well connected, so players can come from almost anywhere. Our club has a ton of connections, but we also rely on local players trying out. Baltimore has a strong soccer community, so we’ve always been able to sign and develop strong local talents. We also have to compete with USL and MLS teams for attaining players.
Outdoor players transition quicker to the indoor game than futsal. The outdoor players’ high fitness levels help them adapt more seamlessly.
Since futsal has been implemented into the US game, we have seen many players coming into our tryouts with a higher skill level than before. Most of our players have strong futsal backgrounds.
What makes the Baltimore Blast unique as a club compared to your competitors?
Climate and culture are a great reason for our success. We have a strong will to win and integrity that is driven from our owners, coaches, and players. The club is also reputable because it has been around for a long time which allows us to continually attract very good players.
Does the Blast have a unique playing style or tactics compared to other clubs?
I can’t compare anything to other clubs as I’m only responsible for my own house. However, we focus on keeping the ball. If you have it, you want to keep it and not give it away. We are also attentive to details.
What do you enjoy most about coaching?
Completing the task, watching something grow and seeing the seed grow and a tree pop up. There is nothing better than grinding with your players seeing the players learn something new. I also enjoy the process of players developing trust in you.
The indoor game is a stage, so its always a pleasure to see the players entertain and performing their art. However, they must want to win and the constantly hone their craft.
Best players you’ve coached?
I enjoy coaching all players, so I can’t pick out one player, they all have their different skills. The best players are the ones that understand what hard work and pain look like and are willing and want to be the best. They also learn what succeeding looks like.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions to help continually evolve the indoor game in this country?
We need to develop a culture and climate in this game. People need to be socially and emotionally connected with the club. In England, fans are so connected to their club and the game. In this country, we have to continue to find that.
We also need to develop a brand that resonates with people and the players and not just have players there for a paycheck.
What projects are you currently working?
Develop the “Power of One” which gives people leadership tools and success. “The Power of One” is aimed at sports groups, governments, and schools. We’re currently working with basketball, football (soccer), and leadership academies.
I also want to focus on franchising out of Baltimore. We’re currently developing an app around the model “Power of One”. Since Covid-19 has affected the world, we’ve still been able to connect and empower people through social media. We have been working with the BFLA academy in Bermuda and US.
What are your future plans for Power of One?
Continue to empower people. When we empower people, they empower others. We give them the tools, but they must use the tools we give them to be successful.