Nicholas Baisden of the Sigma ETC A1's recently completed a trial period with SL Benfica of Portugal. The unique part of this opportunity was not the fact that Nick had the opportunity to play with such a large club; rather it was the fact that he did it not in Lisbon but in Dallas, Texas. Nick was invited to travel with the U-19 "Juniores" of Benfica to participate at the famed Dallas Cup held in Frisco Texas. The tournament hosts many of the world's most prestigious clubs every year in the U-19 Super Group.
The opportunity provided to Nick was well utilized by the central defender known for his physical demeanor and technical ability in commanding a back line of defenders. Nick had the opportunity to take part in the 4 matches Benfica played with opponents such as Eintract Frankfurt, Chivas Guadalajara and Liverpool in the semi-finals.
Nicholas returned to Toronto from Dallas with a positive experience and optimism about the future prospect of playing pro, "The experience was incredible and the football was fantastic. I was lucky to have a roommate who spoke some English and the coach of the team was great with me in providing information and feedback on the matches. It was a little difficult in the beginning to communicate and we all know the importance of communication especially in the back line but as the days went on it became easier as this sport in the end has an international language…..our hands. I am optimistic about the future and am hopeful to get more of these great opportunities. The coach was happy with my performance throughout my time and made it clear that if it was not good enough for this level he would have told me straight on."
Constantine Smyrniotis, the Managing Director of Sigma Sports and Director of SEG Canada, the player management group which handles all professional football club matters for Sigma, is positive that this experience will only make Nick better going forward whether with Benfica or another club, "In the end these experiences for Canadian soccer players will only make our players better and prepare them for their future. I am proud of Nick and his ability to prove he is worthy of a spot at a top club. He has been with Sigma and working under our Technical Director for three years now and he definitely has the ability to play top level soccer. My colleagues and I at the other SEG offices will continue to seek opportunities for Canadian talents like Nick. It is a process and we are hopeful."