|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Full name||Colorado Rapids|
|Stadium||Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Commerce City, Colorado
|Capacity||17,424, expandable to 19,680|
|Head Coach||Óscar Pareja|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|2013 Playoffs||Western Conference: 7th
|Website||Club home page|
Colorado played its home games at the Mile High Stadium in Denver from 1996 to 2001, and then at Invesco Field at Mile High in 2002, before moving to their current home, Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City for its 2007 season.
- 1 History
- 2 Colors and badge
- 3 Stadium
- 4 Club culture
- 5 Broadcasting
- 6 Players and staff
- 7 Honors
- 8 Record
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The first decade (1996–2006)
The Colorado Rapids were one of the ten founding clubs of Major League Soccer, owned and operated by the Anschutz Corporation. The inaugural 1996 season was a forgettable one for Colorado. Despite fielding experienced players like Shaun Bartlett, Chris Henderson, Chris Woods, Roy Wegerle and Marcelo Balboa, and head coach Bob Houghton, the team finished last in the Western Conference with the worst record in the league. Balboa became the first player ever to score for the club and also the first to record a goal at Mile High Stadium (in 1996).
For the following season, there was a new head coach (Glenn Myernick) and a new General Manager, Dan Counce. Myernick and Counce brought new faces to the squad including Paul Bravo, Wolde Harris, Ross Paule, and keeper Marcus Hahnemann. The team struggled early on, but rallied to grab a postseason spot. The Rapids pulled off two upsets and advanced to the 1997 MLS Cup final. Chris Henderson scored a mid-air volley past Dallas keeper Mark Dodd in the 87th minute in the Western Conference final, ensuring Colorado's place in the MLS Cup final. They scored in the Cup thanks to a goal by Adrián Paz but lost the final 2–1 to D.C. United.
Colorado continued on a roller coaster of success, but mostly disappointment: Myernick brought in more new players including Anders Limpar and Marcus Hahnemann and the club made it to the 1999 US Open Cup final, only to be upset 2–0 by the Rochester Raging Rhinos.
The 2000 season boasted two of the more memorable moments in Rapids history. The first was Marcelo Balboa's famous bicycle kick which garnered the Goal of the Year. The second was clinching a playoff spot in the final game of the season against the Los Angeles Galaxy, with Paul Bravo scoring in the 97th minute.
In 2001 Tim Hankinson took the reins as Colorado's new head coach. Scottish striker John Spencer also joined the club that year. While Hankinson did bring effective players like Mark Chung, Chris Henderson, Carlos Valderrama, and Joe Cannon to the squad—and made the playoffs every year—Hankinson also signed a number of expensive and unsuccessful players including ZiZi Roberts and Darryl Powell. During his coaching stint, the club also traded away club legend Marcelo Balboa, whose career was nearing its end....he played 1 game with New York before retiring.
2002 was a banner year for the Rapids, and they started off their new year at their new home of Invesco Field at Mile High by acquiring two powerhouses and future stars for the team, Pablo Mastroeni and Kyle Beckerman from the defunct Miami Fusion F.C. Chris Henderson went down in history as the first player ever to score a goal in the brand-new stadium. Mark Chung posted record numbers on the season, and Mastroeni shone for the US Men's National Team in that year's World Cup. The club advanced to the MLS Cup Playoffs Semifinals, and although they didn't advance to the MLS Cup, the Rapids did clean up at the MLS postseason awards ceremonies. General Manager Dan Counce was named MLS Executive of the Year and 4 other Rapids front office staff were named as the best at their positions in MLS that year. Mark Chung was named to the League Best XI squad and also took home the MLS Fair Play Award. Finally, the Rapids ticket sales staff was named best in the league after the Rapids finished first in MLS average home attendance for the first time ever with an average home crowd of over 20,000 fans per home game.
2003 saw the club change their identity, with a rebranding that brought in the new team identity and color scheme of black and blue. Mark Chung and forward John Spencer had banner years. Spencer, the Rapids' team captain, set a new team record by scoring in six consecutive games and tied his own team record with 14 goals on the season. He finished the season third in MLS with 33 points, was a finalist for Honda MVP and was named to the MLS Pepsi Best XI. Joining him on the Best XI was Chung, who tied his career high of a year prior with 11 goals and was second on the team with 28 points. This was Chung's second consecutive appearance on the MLS Best XI and it marked the first time in league history that two Rapids had been so honored in the same season.
The Rapids set a new MLS record for the lowest home Goals Against Average over an entire season with at 0.53 by only allowing eight goals in 15 matches at Invesco Field during the season, and never more than one in a single game. After Kansas City broke the Rapids’ MLS record 16 game home undefeated streak on June 9, the Black & Blue reeled off 11 more undefeated home games. On the year Colorado was undefeated when scoring more than one goal, a credit to the play of goalkeeper Joe Cannon and the suffocating defense.
Kroenke Sports Enterprises purchased the club in late 2004 and made several changes before the 2005 season. In the front office, KSE replaced long-time executive GM Dan Counce with Charlie Wright, who appointed Fernando Clavijo as the new head coach.
Clavijo and Wright brought in many new additions to the squad including Jeff Cunningham, Terry Cooke, and David "Dedi" Ben Dayan. The team saw steady improvement over the course of the 2005 season. The season's success was highlighted by a dramatic playoff victory over FC Dallas in a penalty shootout, and their claiming of the brand new Rocky Mountain Cup in the tournament's inaugural year.
Colorado's 2006 season seemed to parallel trends from previous years. Clavijo's squad performed inconsistently and only secured a playoff spot at the very last instant. Lightning managed to strike twice as they duplicated their 2005 playoff run by again beating FC Dallas in penalties only to crash out of the Western Conference Final by a two goal deficit. Other highlights from the final black and blue season include securing the Rocky Mountain Cup for the second consecutive year and winning the MLS Reserve Division.
New head executive Jeff Plush took over the business responsibilities of the club when he was named Managing Director in January 2006. The clubs colors were changed to burgundy and blue, to "mesh" with other clubs owned by Kroenke Sports Enterprised. This accompanied the introduction of a state of the art soccer stadium and fields complex, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, and formulating relationships with Arsenal  of the English Premier League and Pachuca of Mexico.
The Rapids enjoyed a successful inaugural year at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, hosting numerous international exhibitions and tournaments on the stadium's complex, and the 2007 MLS All-Star Game; on the pitch though the team's record was 9-13-8. The team started out strong with a 2–1 victory over D.C. United in frigid conditions . Herculez Gomez became the first player to score in the Rapids' brand new stadium. The team had a long winless streak that saw them sink in the standings. Colorado ultimately finished just shy of a playoff spot. Major low points in the season included an embarrassing 5–0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, and a defeat to Real Salt Lake that saw them lose both a playoff berth and the possession of the Rocky Mountain Cup. The club won the MLS Reserve Division Championship for the second consecutive year.
Heading into the [2013 Colorado Rapids season|2013 season]], Rapids GM Charlie Wright added depth to the midfield and defense. Major signings included Christian Gómez and Jose Burciaga Jr. The 2008 season saw a resurgent Rapids side, which started off the season with a complete thrashing of David Beckham and the LA Galaxy by a 4–0 score on Opening Day to launch the season. However, an inconsistent mid-season stretch where, for 13 games, the Rapids could not win two games in a row or lose 2 in a row, saw Clavijo resign from the Head Coach position for personal reasons, and saw Gary Smith, an assistant coach who came from the Arsenal F.C. system, take over on an interim basis with 11 games left in the season. Under Smith's direction, the Rapids surged into the playoff race, with two key away wins, but fall short of the playoffs in the last game of the season, against Real Salt Lake. Salt Lake tied the Rapids 1–1 in the 90th minute of that game to eliminate the Rapids from playoff contention. Because of the signs of improvement shown in the last 11 games, Smith was hired as the head coach.
The 2009 campaign featured head coach Gary Smith in his first full season. Smith took over the reins from Fernando Clavijo as interim manager after Clavijo resigned. Smith's first appointment was Steve Guppy ex-England International as his assistant, Guppy had spent the previous season at USL1 team Rochester Rhinos as their Player Assistant Coach. Shortly after, Rapids veteran midfielder Pablo Mastroeni re-signed with the club for four years after mulling potential offers from Europe. The Rapids also signed new four-year contracts with midfielders Colin Clark and Nick LaBrocca and defenders Jordan Harvey and Kosuke Kimura. The Colorado Rapids acquired former QPR and Chicago Fire goalkeeper Matt Pickens to replace Senegalese goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. The other major roster move included the arrival of Ivan Guerrero from D.C. United in exchange for midfielder Christian Gomez and backup goalkeeper Mike Graczyk. The media criticized the Rapids for not making more roster changes for the 2009 season. However, the core of the team remained intact.
The 2010 campaign featured many roster moves: Danny Earls, Jeff Larentowicz, Claudio Lopez, Quincy Amarikwa, Ian Joyce, and Wells Thompson join the club. The offseason also included a new contract for star forward Conor Casey. The Colorado Rapids also excited many of the ultras supporter groups by the creation and construction of a supporters terrace within Dick's Sporting Goods Park. During the summer transfer window, the Colorado Rapids signed academy youth player Davy Armstrong, and brought in defender Anthony Wallace from FC Dallas. Colorado also sent Mehdi Ballouchy to New York Red Bulls in exchange for Macoumba Kandji and acquired Brian Mullan from Houston Dynamo in exchange for Colin Clark. Following these changes, Colorado qualified for the MLS Cup playoffs and defeated the Columbus Crew in the first round. On November 13, Colorado hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS Eastern Conference Championship and won by a score of 1-0, leading to the team's first trip to MLS Cup since 1997. In the final, the Rapids trailed 1–0 at half time. Conor Casey equalized in the 2nd half to send the game to extra time. Macoumba Kandji helped set up the game-winner that went off FC Dallas defender George John. Colorado won the 2010 MLS Cup 2-1, Colorado's first MLS Cup championship and first major trophy in the club's history.
The 2011 campaign led to no roster changes. However, Sanna Nyassi and Tyrone Marshall were signed from Seattle Sounders FC. Joseph Nane and Josh Janniere were additions from Toronto FC. Local product Steven Emory was signed after an open tryout during preseason. The Rapids made the headlines when Irish International and former Hull City striker Caleb Folan signed with the club. The primary departure was defender Julian Baudet. Since Colorado won the 2011 MLS Cup, they automatically qualified for the group stages of the 2011–2012 CONCACAF Champions League. On September 9, Colorado signed versatile defender Miguel Comminges. The Guadeloupe International can play at either Left or Right back. On September 13, Comminges made his debut for Colorado as a substitute in a 4-1 home loss to Club Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The 2012 season began with several changes to the club. Oscar Pareja was appointed head coach following the departure of Gary Smith. The team traded Sanna Nyassi to the Montreal Impact, and Macoumba Kandji to Houston Dynamo. Acquiring Hunter Freeman, Jaime Castrillón, Luis Zapata, and young Kamani Hill and the loan of young talent Martín Rivero the Rapids looked to begin on a positive note. After defeating the Columbus Crew 2-0 on opening day, things seemed promising. However as the season ticked by, things started to turn for the worst. Looking for a turn around, Hárrison Henao was loaned and Brazilian Edu was signed. In July, Kosuke Kimura was traded to the Portland Timbers. Shortly after, defender Tyson Wahl was brought in via trade from the Montreal Impact. After a poor season, the Rapids looked for a late season turn around when they signed Hendry Thomas from Wigan Athletic. The Rapids were eliminated from play-off contention in late September ending hopes for another MLS cup.
Colors and badge
The Rapids' image has evolved a great deal since their inaugural year. The team has undergone two complete re-brandings. Originally using green as the primary kit color, the team changed to black and blue for the 2003 season.
As Colorado were preparing to move into Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the 2007 season, the club re-invented themselves again to more closely align with the DNA and color scheme of other KSE teams, changing their colors to burgundy and blue, and creating a brand new shield logo to fit in with more traditional global soccer marks.
Colorado has had three logos in their history. They originally first used the "river" logo as their primary crest with the "circular" logo as a secondary one. In 2002, the two logos would switch, with the "circular" one becoming the primary. For the 2007 re-branding, the Rapids created the new shield-style logo, which is the one that is currently used today.
The original look of the Rapids sported a predominantly white kit with green trim, when the club's kit supplier was Puma. Other minor colors such as gold and blue were occasionally incorporated, with the club's association with Reebok. Eventually black became more heavily used and eventually overtook white as the more dominant color that accompanied the green, when the club switched to Kappa.
The Rapids underwent a image change prior to the 2003 season. Following the club's switch to Atletica, the kit colors switched to black and blue vertical stripes, similar to the uniforms worn by Italian Serie A club Internazionale. The blue and black vertical stripes remained almost unchanged when MLS adopted Adidas as their league wide kit sponsor.
The kits underwent one last change for the 2007 season. The Rapids now sport burgundy(#92032e) and sky blue(#99bfdc) as their primary colors. The Colorado Rapids also have a brand new third kit, consisting of a white shirt, white socks and burgundy shorts.
As of 2013, the Rapids are the only team to never have had a paid shirt sponsor on the front of their jerseys; entering 2012, FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City shared this distinction, but both have since acquired a shirt sponsor.
- Mile High Stadium; Denver, Colorado (1996–2001)
- Invesco Field at Mile High; Denver, Colorado (2002–2006)
- North Area Athletic Complex; Arvada, Colorado (2003) 1 game in US Open Cup
- Dick's Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado (2007–present)
The Rapids play their home games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado (approximately 8 miles north of downtown Denver). The stadium capacity is 19,680 and cost $131 million to construct. It is also referred to as a soccer-specific stadium, since it was constructed for the Colorado Rapids. The soccer stadium opened on April 7, 2007. The stadium complex includes youth soccer fields and various retail establishments, and is owned and operated by Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE) which also owns the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Crush and Colorado Mammoth sports franchises, and is a co-owner of English Premier League club Arsenal.
The Rocky Mountain Cup
With Major League Soccer's expansion in 2005, Real Salt Lake became the second team in the Rocky Mountain region and the Rapids' closest neighbor. The supporters of the two clubs created a regular-season competition between the two sides to foster and memorialize this budding rivalry. Each season, the Rocky Mountain Cup is determined by the winner of the head-to-head fixtures within league play. The matches between the two are also referred to as the Rocky Mountain Derby.
While the Rapids have had strong fan attendance for many of their years in MLS, including leading the league in average fans per game in 2002, the club has had a fairly rocky history when it comes to supporters groups or ultras. While there have been several groups both large and small, the most notable of these have been the Jolly Green Men (sporadic attendance by Arapahoe High School students and friends between 1997-1998), the River Ratz (six seasons from 1997-2002), Ultra Azul, Centennial Firm (2005-2009), Class IV (late 2005-present), North Corner Council (2007-2009), Pid Army (2010-present), and the Bulldog Supporters Group (2010-present).
Class VI was established in late 2005 to provide an alternative to the traditional standing environment. They are an organized body known as a seating club, focused on passion for the game, premium viewing location, and a focus on gameplay and is open to any fan (including both season ticket holders and single-game fans).
Supporters have been constantly moved by the Colorado Rapids to limit complaints by the average fan in attendance. Mile High Stadium moved the initial supporters from section 101 (SW) to section 109 (NW), then section 121 (NE). The final move to section 127 (NE touchline about 20 yards from the end-line at the top of the penalty box) was a mutually agreed move between the River Ratz and GM Dan Counce. Invesco Field at Mile High was simply located in section 128 (SE corner). In 2007 with the opening of Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the Rapids placed supporters in the "Front Range" (name officially promoted by the Rapids) section 114 (SE end-line). In 2008, the Rapids forced a move again to sections 101 and 102 (NE corner).
2010 marked a groundbreaking year for Colorado Rapids supporter groups. Before the 2010 season, the Colorado Rapids unveiled plans for a unique European-style supporters terrace for the north end of Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The change was a mutually agreed move between GM Jeff Plush and several supporter club leads. Currently, the Colorado Rapids boasts two major supporter groups that fill the terraces. These include the Bulldog Supporters Group and the Pid Army. The Bulldog Supporters Group (also referred to as "BSG" or "the Bobbies") formed out of the British Bulldog Pub in downtown Denver in 2010. The Pid Army grew out of the merging of the C-Firm and the NCC in 2010. The Pid Army is geared more toward the Ultras, DIY and Punk Rock culture. Both supporter groups fill the terraces in the north end of the stadium and create a passionate atmosphere for the Colorado Rapids.
For the 2011–2012 Edition of the CONCACAF Champions League, CONCACAF regulations require "all-seater" stadiums. The Supporters Terrace was officially closed for these matches, due to the fact that the terraces are standing-only areas with no stadium seating. CONCACAF group stage fixtures have seen the Pid Army and the Bulldog Supporters Group relocated to either midfield in the East stands (Isidro Metapán) or directly behind the South goal in sections 117 and 118 (Club Santos Laguna, Real España).
In 2012, the Rapids had 3,561 season ticket holders after the Colorado Rapids front office mistakenly emailed a spreadsheet that contained a list of every season ticket holder to the season ticket base. The Colorado Rapids front office admitted to the mistake in a follow on email to the season ticket holders.
On February 9, 2013, the leaders of Class VI, the Pid Army, and the Bulldog Supporters Group announced that they would combined into one group going forward: Centennial 38. Colorado was the 38th state admitted to the union and is known as the Centennial State due to the admittance happening in 1876, the Centennial Birthday of the United States.
Rapids matches appear on several channels including Altitude Television, which is owned by Kroenke Sports Entertainment as are the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets. Major League Soccer determined in 2007 that every game must be televised, either through a regional (or local) TV station, or a national channel.
All games are broadcast on television by Altitude, the official television partner of the Rapids, or else via nationally-available channels, including ESPN-2, Fox Soccer Channel, and Telefutura, or the MLS Direct Kick package.
To start the 2010 season, KWGN-Denver CW Affiliate Channel 2 (the Deuce) has partnered with the Colorado Rapids to broadcast 25 Rapids games over the season.
The 2011 season features the Rapids back on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.
Players and staff
As of January 17, 2013.
Notable former players
This list of former players includes those who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals while playing for the team, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left. It is clearly not yet complete and all inclusive, and additions and refinements will continue to be made over time. As of 2012, a total of 210 players, born in 38 countries have played for the Colorado Rapids
- See also All-time Colorado Rapids roster
- Bob Houghton (1996)
- Roy Wegerle (Interim) (1996)
- Glenn Myernick (1997–00)
- Tim Hankinson (20 Dec 2000–15 Dec 04)
- Fernando Clavijo (22 Dec 2004–20 Aug 08)
- Gary Smith (11 Nov 2008–7 Nov 11)
- Óscar Pareja (6 Jan 2012–)
Gallery of Honor
The Gallery of Honor was established in 2004 to honor former Rapids that had a significant impact on both the team and with the community. The Gallery is commemorated on the main stand on the west end of Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
- #17 Marcelo Balboa (inducted 2004)
- #9 Paul Bravo (inducted 2004)
- #19 Chris Henderson (inducted 2007)
- #7 John Spencer (inducted 2009)
- MLS Eastern Conference
- Winners (Playoff) (1): 2010
- MLS Western Conference
- Winners (Playoff) (1): 1997
|Year||Regular Season||Playoffs||US Open Cup||CONCACAF
|1996||5th, West (11-21)||Did not qualify||Semifinals||Did not qualify|
|1997||4th, West (14-18)||Final||3rd Round||Did not qualify|
|1998||3rd, West (16-16)||Quarterfinals||Did not enter||Qualifying Round|
|1999||4th, West (20-12)||Quarterfinals||Final||Did not qualify|
|2000||3rd, West (13-15-4)||Quarterfinals||2nd Round||Did not qualify|
|2001||4th, West (5-13-8)||Did not qualify||2nd Round||Not held|
|2002||4th, West (13-11-4)||Semifinals||Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2003||3rd, West (11-12-7)||Quarterfinals||Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2004||3rd, West (10-9-11)||Quarterfinals||4th Round||Did not qualify|
|2005||3rd, West (13-13-6)||Semifinals||4th Round||Did not qualify|
|2006||4th, West (11-13-8)||Semifinals||Quarterfinals||Did not qualify|
|2007||4th, West (9-13-8)||Did not qualify||2nd Round||Did not qualify|
|2008||4th, West (11-14-5)||Did not qualify||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2009||6th, West (10-10-10)||Did not qualify||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2010||5th, West (12-8-10)||Champions||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2011||5th, West (12-9-13)||Quarterfinals||Did not qualify||Group stage|
|2012||7th, West (11-19-4)||Did not qualify||4th Round||Did not qualify|
|2013||5th, West (14-11-9)||Knock Out Round||3rd Round||Did not qualify|
|Year||League Record||Top Scorer|
|1999||48||32||20||12||0||44||42||Jorge Dely Valdés||10|
|2004||41||30||10||9||11||29||32||Jean Philippe Peguero||7|
|2006||41||32||11||13||8||36||49||Kyle Beckerman &
Note: MLS did not allow ties prior to the 2000 season as games were decided by shootout when tied at full-time.
- Qualifying Play-off v. Club León – 1:0, 2:4 (León advances 4:3 on aggregate)
- 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League:
- Goals: Conor Casey (50)
- Assists: Chris Henderson (53)
- Games Played: Pablo Mastroeni (216)
- Minutes Played: Pablo Mastroeni (18,212)
- Shots: Chris Henderson (342)
- Shots on Goal: Chris Henderson (151)
- Game-Winning Goals: Paul Bravo (12)
- Penalty-Kick Goals: John Spencer (9)
- Multi-Goal Games: Paul Bravo (7)
- Hat Tricks: Conor Casey (3)
- Saves: Joe Cannon (349)
- Shutouts: Joe Cannon (25)
- Wins: Marcus Hahnemann (39)
Players in bold are active Rapids players
Last Updated May 6, 2012
The following is a list of each year's average attendance, split into numbers for the regular season and the corresponding playoffs, if applicable: On average, the teams has had an attendance of 14,049 for the regular season, and 8,731 for playoff games.
- 1996: 10,213 / DNQ
- 1997: 11,835 / 15,785
- 1998: 14,812 / 6,582
- 1999: 14,029 / 6,542
- 2000: 12,580 / 8,789
- 2001: 16,481 / DNQ
- 2002: 20,687 / 11,002
- 2003: 16,772 / 6,434
- 2004: 14,195 / 8,028
- 2005: 13,638 / 11,207
- 2006: 12,056 / 4,176
- 2007: 14,749 / DNQ
- 2008: 13,659 / DNQ
- 2009: 13,018 / DNQ
- 2010: 13,329 / 14,826
- 2011: 14,838 / 8,202
- 2012: 15,175 / DNQ
- 2013: 15,440 / N/A
- "The Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer Club | Colorado Rapids". Arsenal.com. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
- [dead link]
- "Rapids name Gary Smith Head Coach". 9news.com. November 11, 2008. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "SBI MLS Power Rankings". Soccer By Ives. March 16, 2009. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- "Rapids Announce Creation Of New Supporters Terrace For 2010". Oursportscentral.com. February 5, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- 2002 Final MLS Regular Season Statistics, September 23, 2002[dead link]
- Email from Kurt Schwartzkopf CMO, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment
- Cenetennial 38 website
- "Players". Colorado Rapids. Retrieved April 2, 2012.