Role: Attacking Midfielder
Squad Status: Loaned Out
Season in a Sentence: Bassett struggled for minutes during two loan stints with Dutch clubs in 2022, and will look to rediscover his 2021 form when he returns to MLS next season.
After nabbing eight goal contributions in 32 league appearances with the Colorado Rapids in 2021, Cole Bassett became the team’s second homegrown to make the jump to a club in Northwestern Europe in the space of a year. The loan move to Feyenoord Rotterdam in the Dutch Eredivisie gave the Littleton native a chance to play his way onto the field at one of Europe’s most historic clubs, but the move didn’t pan out as expected.
Bassett managed to earn only 90 minutes of game time across seven substitute appearances during his first six months in the Netherlands, and Feyenoord refused to register him for their continental matches in the Europa Conference League. While he managed to record one assist from the run of play, Bassett ended up playing more minutes with Feyenoord’s second team during the early months of 2022.
He went into the club’s ensuing preseason on a mission to prove his doubters wrong. However, despite scoring a pair of goals during the Dutch’s club’s slate of summer friendlies, Bassett couldn’t gain Slot’s confidence. The midfielder made one final substitute appearance in Rotterdam before the Rapids recalled him and subsequently loaned him back out to Fortuna Sittard—a club that pundits widely expected to be locked in a relegation battle during the season. The re-loan saw Feyenoord retain their right to purchase Bassett through March 2023, but the homegrown’s struggle for minutes continued. Then-Fortuna manager Sjors Ultee publicly pushed for Bassett’s move to the club, but the 35-year-old Dutchman got sacked just three games into the season. New manager Julio Velázquez didn’t share Ultee’s faith in Bassett, and the midfielder only made two league starts in ten appearances for his new club. He did score a clean-up goal in his sole start in the KNVB Cup, but that performance didn’t force Velázquez’s hand and Bassett continued to ride the bench.
Bassett’s three spot starts and eight substitute showings weren’t enough to reach the minutes threshold established in his agreement with Fortuna Sittard, and Colorado was able to recall their homegrown back to the States shortly after the season ended. Feyenoord will retain the option to buy Bassett through March for a fee believed to be in the $1.5-2.5 million range, but the club appears to have moved in another direction.
The pair of loans proved to be disappointing for all parties involved. Neither Feyenoord nor Fortuna were able to find a use for Bassett’s talent, and Colorado lost the chance to rely on a player that was a key midfield figure in the club’s record-breaking 2021 season. Bassett himself also probably didn’t benefit from missing a whole year’s worth of minutes, and he should be looking to kick-start a turnaround during the coming year.
Bassett signed a contract extension through the 2024 season prior to facilitate his initial 18-month loan to Feyenoord. He’ll return to a Rapids squad in desperate need of reinforcements, and Robin Fraser will undoubtedly welcome the versatile midfielder’s ability to slot into a handful of positions in the midfield and attack. His new yearly salary of $450,000 represented a significant raise from his original homegrown agreement, but he’ll be worth the higher wage if he matches his rate of production from the 2020 and 2021 seasons. A return to that level of form would also bolster Bassett’s case for a second stint in Europe, and the 21-year-old still has plenty of time left in his career to earn that chance.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Cole back home to Colorado,” Rapids General Manager Pádraig Smith said following the conclusion of Bassett’s time with Fortuna. “We all know the caliber of player he is, and given his obvious familiarity with our club and the league, we believe he can be a key contributor as we make a push to return to the playoffs in 2023.”