When Alberto Soto returned to Atletico Madrid after the 2021 season, many Atletico Ottawa fans wondered how Fernando Lopez (CEO Atlético Ottawa) would fill the ‘Midfield Maestro’ role.
On that blessed day, when Atletico Ottawa had a signing Bonanza, many of us acknowledged how Ollie Bassett would be a key player in this team.
I remember the Twitter space that followed, where everyone agreed that Ottawa might have lucked out with this former Pacific FC midfielder.
However, no one could have predicted the season that Ollie Bassett has had so far, and therefore this is my pitch as to why Ollie Bassett should win the 2022 CCSG Golden Scarf Player of the Year Award.
There are two reasons why Bassett left Pacific. One is that his girlfriend is from Ottawa, and two (which is likely the actual reason) was his lack of playing minutes in Pacific. According to Transfermarkt, Bassett logged 1303 minutes in 20 games with Pacific.
Although he won the CPL with the Tridents, being a professional, he wanted to join a team that could guarantee him minutes.
This is where ATO comes in. Ottawa had just finished last place, set the record for the least amount of points in a season for the CPL, sacked their manager and was looking to rebuild practically their entire roster.
This was a team with high ambitions that could guarantee Bassett playing minutes, and playing minutes is precisely what Bassett got.
Currently sitting at 2261 minutes, Bassett leads the team with 8 goals (3 from the spot) and has two assists. He has 793 accurate passes, 36 chances created and has never missed a big chance.
Oh, by the way, I should add that the passes and chances created statistic is from 10 days ago, so they are outdated already. That is how good Ollie Bassett is.
Let’s say you want to play the devil’s advocate and claim that Bassett is just shining on a poor team. For one, ATO is in first place, and two, Ollie Bassett has grabbed the league’s attention.
Bassett leads the entire league with 10 "CPL Team of The Week" appearances. In May, Bassett was selected as the Canadian Premier League player of the Month, and he’s one of the favourites to win MVP at the end of the season. Bassett has taken the whole league by storm, and one can argue that he is the best midfielder in the CPL.
Moving away from the cold-hard statistics, Bassett plays a critical role within Atletico Ottawa. Bassett is the team’s engine when attacking. Everything goes through him, and our offence crumbles when he does not see a lot of the ball.
One peek at the statistics from earlier proves this point. Bassett’s technique is at the highest level to give searing through balls to put our strikers on goal. If there’s one man on the field who can turn absolutely nothing into a goal chance, it is Ollie Bassett.
There is no doubt that Ottawa has struggled offensively this year. However, if Bassett wasn’t on this team, there is a high chance that Ottawa could have been battling for the wooden spoon again.
If statistics aren’t your thing and you’re still unconvinced on why Bassett should win the Golden Scarf, this section is for you. Bassett is one of the kindest and most genuine people you can ever meet.
A down-to-earth, quiet lad, Bassett takes the time to ensure the fans are acknowledged. I remember at the Jersey Pick-up event that the team hosted, Bassett took the time to converse with as many fans as he could, even though he was clearly embarrassed with all the attention he was receiving.
Throughout the season, Ollie also took time out of his life to listen to the CCSG Hotstove on Twitter.
How many professional players do you know will publicly join a live radio show where fans talk out of their rear ends about the sport that the players get to call a career?
Adding onto that, how many players do you know will sit through a show where a rival fan is talking about how that player hasn’t impressed them and is overrated?
Ollie did all that; he never took anything seriously and kept returning to the show. That means a lot to us fans. Now I may be biased because Ollie signed my bucket hat and called me the King of Bucket Hats on my Instagram, but he is the only player with his own lawn sign at TD Place, and his chant is sung so many times in the Dub, each time being started by the fans themselves. If that doesn’t speak for how much the fans love him, I don’t know what will.
I haven’t mentioned Bassett’s bangers this season (Note to CCSG, we should trademark that), and I won’t get into it for the purpose of the length of this article.
However, Bassett has saved Ottawa numerous amount of points thanks to Olimpico Goals, Free kick goals and anything in between. Have I mentioned how he is our Maestro?
To sum it all up, the season that Bassett is having has already cemented him as one of the best players that Atlético Ottawa has ever had. A candidate for the CPL MVP award, Ottawa’s Midfield Maestro, Mr. Olliewood himself, has captured the fanbase’s heart. Although his contract runs until 2023 with an option for 2024, if he keeps this type of play up, Ottawa fans will be watching our beloved redhead in Europe in no time soon.
The other two candidates are well deserved for the Golden Scarf, but Bassett has been at a different level all season long. Therefore, Ollie Bassett should win the CCSG Golden Scarf Award.