One of several local players who have taken the pitch for his hometown HFX Wanderers side, 20-year-old goalkeeper Kieran Baskett is one to watch between the sticks.
Baskett took the starting goalkeeper job from another local shot-stopper, Christian Oxner, in the latter stages of the season, and impressed down the final stretch as the Wanderers tried to force their way into the top four and a spot in the playoffs.
He picked up four clean sheets in the 10 league matches he played, including a 0-0 draw against Forge FC, a match where he was named man of the match.
The most memorable moment of his debut season came in Calgary. Tied 0-0 with the Cavs going into the final seconds of the match, Baskett was tasked with trying to stop a last-second penalty from Joe Mason, one of the best finishers in the CPL. Diving to his right, the Wanderers goalkeeper made a fantastic save, pushing the ball over the bar to keep the clean sheet intact, and ensuring that his team remained in that fourth and final playoff spot.
While they would ultimately miss the playoffs, it was an impressive point for the Wanderers on the road, and a defining moment in Baskett’s young career — just his 6th CPL start.
Baskett was also given the starting job in the Canadian Championship this year for Stephen Hart’s sides, picking up a win over A.S. Blainville in the Preliminary Round, before a pair of late goals from CF Montreal attacker Ballou Tabla saw the Wanderers drop out of the competition to the eventual champions in the Quarterfinals.
Baskett will enter the 2022 season with a chance to win the starting job again, as Stephen Hart will likely pick between him and Oxner. Oxner has done it before, but Baskett ended the season as the number one, setting up an exciting competition heading into the CPL’s fourth campaign.