The American United Soccer League (USL) will bring International Teams to Bermuda for seven games this summer and host Bermuda players in matches overseas, under a new partnership between FC Bascome Bermuda, National Sports Center, Grotto Bay Beach Resort and Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA).
The initiative leverages the relationship between North America’s fast-growing professional soccer organization and Bermuda’s FC Bascome football club, which will play in the USL Two Mid Atlantic Division starting this year.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Bermudian soccer, for our tourism industry, and for Bermuda as a whole,” said Hazel Clark, the BTA’s Director of Sports Business Development. “We thank FC Bascome for creating this opportunity and driving this project forward, offering young men exposure to potential college scholarships and professional Major League Soccer (MLS) opportunities. There’s no doubt that some of our young people will dream a little bigger today.”
Sanctioned by the US Soccer Federation, the USL is the largest professional soccer organization in North America, bringing the sport to communities across the United States, Canada and associated jurisdictions. Overseeing the USL Championship (USSF Division II), USL League One (USSF Division III), and USL League Two (Pre-Professional), the Tampa, FL-based organization counts more than 125 clubs in its membership.
“Given the age focus of 17 to 23 years, playing in the USL League Two can be an essential platform for Bermudians to transition to the next stage of their football careers,” explained FC Bascome Bermuda Co-Founder and Head Coach, Andrew Bascome. “Our primary goal is to develop the local football community, but we recognize we can also provide an entertainment outlet for Bermuda and Bermuda football fans.
“We believe in our product and are appreciative of the support we are receiving from sponsors like the Grotto Bay Resort, and are especially grateful for the backing we have received from Day One from Hazel Clark and the team at the BTA and partners like the National Sports Centre.”
Seven home matches for the Bermuda team against visiting USL counterparts are scheduled at the National Sports Centre, Devonshire: starting May 9th (Philadelphia Lone Star), May 27th (Ocean City Nor’easters), June 3rd (Reading United), June 16th (West Chester United), June 30th and July 1st (Evergreen Hammers), and July 7th (Lehigh Valley United).
“The team at the National Sports Center is excited about the opportunity to have the USL feature at our facility during the inaugural season of FC Bascome,” said Craig Tyrell, Senior Vice President, Operations Manager, National Sports Center. “We trust the players, coaches and spectators will enjoy the games, and we will do our part by preparing the grounds, and in association with the football club, ensuring everyone has a first-rate experience.”
The seven home matches will bring 840 participants to Bermuda this summer, generating an estimated $ $1,1178,144.34 in spending and amounting to a total 637 hotel rooms. Under the partnership, Grotto Bay will host the visiting teams and offer spectator rates for supporters from overseas.
“The entire Grotto Bay team looks forward to hosting overseas teams and spectators,” said JP Martens, General Manager of the resort. “We wish to thank Mr. Calderon and his team as well as the BTA for all their efforts in bringing the USL to Bermuda”
Away matches will take place in the US May 17th (against West Chester United), May 19th (Philadelphia Lone Star), June 7th (Evergreen Hammers), June 10th (Lehigh Valley United), June 12th and 14th (Reading United and July 12th (Ocean City Nor’easters).