Last year, 17-year-old Cole Bassett was the youngest player to sign with the Colorado Rapids. Earlier today, sixteen-year-old Sebastian Anderson took that spot when he signed his contract at a press conference at Western Union’s Denver office.
The right back started with Real Colorado’s U-14 and U-16 teams and then joined the DA in 2017. Described as a quick learner by Senior Director of Soccer Development Brian Crookham, Anderson joined the first team for the entire 2019 preseason.
At the event this morning, both Crookham and Pádraig Smith said how impressed they’ve been with Anderson’s willingness to learn and make improvements. Smith told the crowd about the high expectations captain Tim Howard has for the young homegrown player, who is just three years older than Howard’s son. “It’s interesting when you see Sebby out there, because you forget that he’s 16 because he’s a really good kid—and he certainly minds his manners around his older teammates—but he’s found a way to [in a very good way] integrate himself and be a part of the team,” Howard said in a club video. “When he’s on the field, if no one told you he was 16, you wouldn’t know it. He gets up and down that right wing and he’s a good defender one-on-one.”
Anderson said it’s “amazing” to play with guys like Howard and Kei Kamara. “I want a lot of responsibility on me because that’s what makes me a better player,” he explains. “When guys like Tim are getting on me or Kei or Diego Rubio are yelling at me because I didn’t something wrong, it’s not because they don’t like me as a person, I know it’s because I need to keep up my standards and I need to do better. I love criticism where I can turn that around and play better and hopefully remodel my game a little.”
He’s currently a junior at Thunder Ridge High School and it took some work on all sides for Anderson to be able to join the club in preseason and then as a professional athlete, but the AP student is committed to finishing school, even though joining the first team is a “dream come true.”
Seeing Cole Bassett make the team and get playing time was a huge inspiration for Anderson. “He’s doing this, why can’t I?” Anderson asked himself. “We were playing on the same team less than a year ago and something just switched in my head.” Bassett calls Anderson his best friend and says that “when he stepped into preseason, he came in right away and was in the first team group and he showed that he belongs on our team. I’m really happy for him.”
Anderson signed a five-year contract with the club with an option for 2024 and will be added to the Supplemental roster.