FC Bascome facing delay to maiden season

From: www.royalgazette.com by Stephen Wright, Sports Editor

FC Bascome Bermuda will have to wait to get their inaugural USL League Two campaign under way because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The newly formed team were scheduled to face Philadelphia Lone Star FC at the National Stadium in their Mid Atlantic Division opener on May 9.

However, the United Soccer League announced yesterday that they were following the lead of the USL Championship and USL League One by delaying the start of its season.

FC Bascome Bermuda, coached by Andrew Bascome, the former Bermuda coach, were due to play their first away game against Westchester United on May 17.

Joel Nash, the USL Division Two president, said the league fully intended the play this year but admits “they may have to get creative with our competition structure”.

He told ProSoccerUSA.com: “Obviously there are a lot of more important things going on than soccer at the moment, so our main focus right now is on being as supportive to our clubs — who are doing their best to promote positive public health habits within their communities — as possible.

“With that said, we do intend to play in 2020. The feedback we’re being given from the majority of owners in our league is that they want to play and are willing to do what’s necessary in order to do so.

“And hopefully once we’re through the crises, those games can be a reason to bring communities back together in a safe way.”

Nash admits that some clubs — and some divisions depending on how their region has been affected by Covid-19 — may decide to skip the entire season and focus on returning for the 2021 campaign.

“What we need to balance is the intent to play in 2020, with the understanding that some parts of the country are going to be more directly affected by the Covid-19 crises to the extent that participation in the 2020 season may no longer makes sense for them. So, for those clubs, our goal is to try and provide the maximum amount of flexibility.”

The USL League Two, formerly the Premier Development League, provides a pathway for players to progress to the professional ranks and includes member clubs that are owned or in partnership with a professional club.

The Mid-Atlantic Division also includes Lone Star, Ocean City Nor’easters, Reading United, West Chester United, Evergreen Hammers and Lehigh Valley United.

The seven home matches were expected to bring 840 participants to Bermuda this summer, generating an estimated $1.1 million in spending and amounting to a total 637 hotel rooms at Grotto Bay Beach Resort, which has partnered with FC Bascome Bermuda.

The Bermuda Hogges were the last local team to compete in the USL. The Hogges pulled out of the PDL a week before the start of the 2013 season due to financial difficulties, bringing the shutters down on their six years as a USL franchise.

The Hogges were owned by local businessman Paul Scope who formed the team with the help of former professional players Shaun Goater and Kyle Lightbourne in 2006.