It’s been a busy day for the Rapids so far as we approach the expansion draft for NYCFC and Orlando City along with the waiver draft, etc. The Rapids declined the contract options on several players. Edson Buddle, Marvell Wynne, Nick LaBrocca, Joe Nasco, Danny Mwanga, Davy Armstrong, Carlos Alvarez, Grant Van De Casteele, Gale Agbossoumonde, Thomas Piermayr and Kamani Hill. It’s possible that any of these players could return to the Rapids for 2015 prior to going into camp in January, but we’ll see.
The Rapids did exercise the option on Tony Cascio for next season. Cascio who played for the Dynamo on loan in 2014, sitting out most of the season with a torn ACL.
Speaking of the Dynamo, they declined the option on Omar Cummings’ contract. How about this? Bringing back the fellow Jamaican, (not to mention fan favorite) to be the threat up top that Buddle couldnt do and to help Deshorn Brown along in his development as a striker? All at a lesser cost of course. How about it Bravo?
Caleb Calvert was the 8th pick in today dispersal draft of the former Chivas USA franchise. I know what you’re thinking, “another young player”. This one with very little experience at just 18 years old, besides his time with the Chivas USA Reserves and some time with the U-16 US Soccer Academy team. Hopefully he will get the necessary training and development to be a great addition to the team. Calvert was the first homegrown player signed by Chivas USA at the age of 16 and did appear in the Homegrown game during the all-star week this season in Portland, but has yet to see any playing time with the first team during his time with Chivas USA. Overall, not a bad pick up by the Rapids if we’re talking about the future of the franchise. The Rapids need someone to come in right now and make a difference going into 2015.
The Rapids off season just got a bit of a boost, at least as far as the front office goes. Via coloradorapids.com the team announced the hiring of Padraig Smith who will be the club’s new Sporting Director come January. Smith is currently working with UEFA as a Financial Analysis Manager.
One quote I like from this story is from Paul Bravo, “We are delighted that Pádraig will be joining us in an executive role within the soccer operations department,” said Bravo. “He will work across all levels of our technical staff and we look forward to him adding a level of sophistication and experience to our soccer operations.”
Key words here in this quote, “level of sophistication and experience”. Both which are needed sorely at times with the current front office.
Another quote I like was from Smith himself, “I’m leaving a very good role at UEFA where I’ve been able to work with some of the biggest clubs in Europe,” he said. “The only reason I would leave would be for a position like this – something every bit as exciting. From an ownership standpoint, right through to the management team of Tim, Paul and Pablo, it’s just a wonderful group. The impressions I have of the leadership team I’m joining, as well as the Denver area, have been incredibly positive.”
I sincerely hope that for Smith that the impression he got from the front office wasn’t just a smokescreen and that his hiring will be beneficial to Smith and the Rapids both. Only time will tell, anyways we welcome you Padraig Smith!
FOOTNOTE: While I was looking for additional information about Mr. Smith, I came across his Twitter account and it shows a recent photo of Dick Sporting Goods Park as his background and although he hasnt posted since July 21st, he has made several posts previously about the Rapids. Once at the start of the season back in March and another in the playoffs at the end of the 2013 season. See for yourself here!
Here in no particular order are 5 things I consider the Rapids excelled at this season.
1. An aggressive marketing campaign at the start of season and throughout the World Cup. Billboards were everywhere across the metro area and let’s not forget the return of the Colorado Rapids “Colorado for Life” wrap on an RTD light rail train too!
2. World Soccer Celebration. The World Cup watch parties at Skyline Park this past June were a great idea by the Rapids! 2 huge TV screens, plenty of World Cup soccer watched, Rapids player appearances, food, drinks, and activities for the kids! Great time!
3. Expanding the brand. Last season the Rapids expanded their brand east to North Carolina with the renaming of the North Mecklenburg Soccer to the Carolina Rapids, adding them as partners in their youth development academy. This season the brand expands again with the Rapids partnering with new USL Pro club, Charlotte Independence beginning in 2015.
4. Ciao Telecom kit sponsorship. Hinchey and company finally bringing a jersey sponsor to the club for the first time in team’s 19 year history. It’s a welcome addition and a good look on the jersey. Let’s hope it remains, with news earlier in the week of the Rapids suing the parent company of Ciao Telecom for missed sponsorship payments.
5. TV coverage. The Rapids broadcasts on Altitude continued to improve this year. The pre and post-game segments as well as Rapids Report are all well done. Richard Fleming, Marcelo Balboa and company are doing great things in promoting the game, the club and its players, while at the same time remaining honest in their critiquing of the performance on the field.
Surely if there’s 5 things I can find the Rapids did well, then you know there have to be 5 things they didnt do well. That’s coming in the near future! As well as on the field versions too!