Crowd cheers Liam Bascle, new soccer star

Tom Canuel, Luke Sugar, and Anna Raley

On Tuesday, August 31, the Saint Anselm community came together to support Liam Bascle, a 7-year old Bedford native suffering with a malignant neoplasm of the brain, a rare form of pediatric brain cancer. Hundreds of Anselmians, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and monks, showed up to support Liam.

According to Coach Bruno Victal, the men’s soccer coach, the Saint Anselm community showed up in a big way for Liam. “We were not expecting that many people to show up in support of Liam. We thought that it was going to be just the soccer team and Liam. It was an incredible experience.”

Liam’s day began with his arrival on-campus at 4pm in a limo. He travelled to the soccer team film room to join the team immediately after arrival to officially sign on as an Anselmian Hawk. After a brief press conference, students lined up the parade route and Liam travelled down the route to Sullivan arena to the team locker room. The entire men’s soccer team decorated the room for Liam, including blue lights to represent his favorite color, a Nintendo Switch with MarioKart playing, gifts for Liam, and players Kevin Jordan and Kyle White dressed up as Mario and Luigi, Liam’s favorite characters.

The soccer team then took Liam out to the soccer field to play some soccer. According to his mother, this was the most physically active that Liam had been in months. They started with one goal-keeper and kept adding more in until it was the whole team, a moment that was described by Zach Elliot, the captain of the men’s soccer team, as “awesome.”

Junior midfielder, Kevin Jordan, added, “It was awesome to be able to see Liam sign that paper and score a goal. It was bigger being a part of that than any game. Getting to see Liam smile made it so worth it for us.”

Senior member Jake Reynolds also commented upon this experience, stating that: “Being able to share the field with Liam and watch him sign on to officially become a member of our squad was amazing. It gave me the overwhelming feeling that a lot of the big decisions I have made so far in my life have been the right ones. Being there in that moment with Liam and my teammates justified the almost 20 years of time, love and energy that I have put into the sport of soccer.” Reynolds also reflected on how his experience affected him. “This experience has also put into perspective for me the importance that kindness and love can play amongst all the unfairness in the world around us. How we as a people can recognize the unfairness and choose to band together and give the seven year old who loves the game of soccer a day he will never forget.

Elliot, Jordan and Coach Victal were all stunned at the amount of Anselmians that came out to support Liam on Tuesday. Elliot stated, “At first we saw a few people in front of the Carr Center, which made us happy. As we kept going down, I was blown away by the amount of people there to support Liam. I’ve never seen that many people show up to anything like this before, and it left me speechless. It was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen.”

Coach Victal expressed a similar statement. “Once Liam left and it was just us, my guys got very emotional. Our pregame speech on Saturday from our assistant coach was also very emotional. In the end, he told the team to get out there, play for Liam, and to know the impact they had.”

Victal also reported that alumni, parents of former players, and even people as far away as Brazil texted him to let him know how proud they were of Saint Anselm College. “Liam has touched so many hearts. It was an amazing gesture from the college, and it really blew me away.”

Jordan described how the team would use meeting Liam as motivation during the season, “When you meet a kid whose dream is to be a part of a college soccer team, you better give everything you have, if not for yourself, for that kid.”

Elliot would like to thank Saint Anselm for showing up for Liam on August 31. Similarly, Victal wants everyone to know that the soccer team and the Anselmian community simply did the right thing. “By the end of the day, we simply did the right thing. We didn’t do anything expecting anything back. All we did was grant a wish and let this boy have the greatest day of his life.”