BALTIMORE, Md. — With the Baltimore Blast's 40th anniversary logo emblazoned on his chest, you can tell in David Bascome’s voice what it means for Baltimore’s indoor soccer fields to be empty this winter.
"As a franchise, been around for so long, 40 years and there are no games," said the team's head coach.
For the first time in four decades Baltimore’s professional indoor soccer team is not competing. The pandemic forced the Blast to opt out of the Major Arena Soccer League season.
"A very tough decision. It was an emotional… like it was frustrating knowing you are not going to play," said Bascome.
The Blast made the official announcement last month. They are one of ten MASL teams to opt out. Owner Ed Hale told his players on a virtual video call.
"You could watch the players didn’t even say anything," described Bascome. "We couldn’t even say anything else. It was kind of like it was crickets."
For the Blast Hall of Famer, Bascome, he didn’t expect his first year as head coach to go this way.
"I can say I’m undefeated, right? I haven’t lost a game," he chuckled. "You know what it’s like? We’re getting ready to paint this picture. We got a blank canvas and the canvas just got taken away from you."
He had already started painting the picture, too.
His players were training on their own, working mostly on conditioning. Three of those players have been loaned to other teams for the season. Goalkeeper William Vanzela is suiting up for San Diego. Defender Adriano Dos Santos is playing for the Tacoma Stars. Forward Mike DaSilva is taking the field for Kansas City. Bascome said the focus now is getting set for a full season starting in November and staying engaged with the Blast's loyal fan base until then.
"Our plan right now is staying connected to the fans, staying connected to everybody. Because, we will be back around. We will be back playing."