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10 December 3:00 pm

The debate of who is the best soccer player of all-time usually brings quite a few opinions. But for me, it's easy. It's Lionel Messi.

See, I never had a chance to watch Pele, Alfredo Di Stéfano, Franz Beckhenbaur, or Johan Cryuf play - at least not live or at an age where I could remember how good they were. Of course I've seen video highlights, and, like others, can't help but be impressed.

With today's technology we can watch pretty much watch every game in the world, club and international. I did watch Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho, Zinadine Zidane, and other stars the more modern era play, and until recently, Diego was the best I'd seen. I've also been lucky to watch Messi and Christian Ronaldo play in person. And while Cristiano is awesome, given one choice, I take Leo.

Last Sunday Messi scored his 86th goal of the calendar year to pass Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most in a calendar year. Mueller scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany. Leo scored 74 in 57 games for Barca (still has three games left in 2012) and 12 in 9 games for Argentina. Here are some more Messi stats and all 86 goals from 2012:

31 October 4:15 pm

Nicknames are fairly common among soccer players.

We've heard of Lionel 'la Pulga' Messi, Carlos 'el Pescado' Ruiz, and even our own Jeff "the Ginger Ninja" Larentowicz and Luis "el Morumbi" Zapata.

And today I heard a nickname that I think will stick with Colorado Rapids fans.

During Wednesday morning's training session I heard Stew Ceus call for the ball by raising his arm and shouting "Patrón, Patrón." That's the spanish word for "Boss," or a figure of that nature.

Hendry Thomas looked up, saw Ceus, and delivered the ball.

And there he was: The Boss, El Patrón!

Afterwards I asked Hendry how that name came about. He explained that in Honduras he was often called "El Doctór," because of his use of glasses. But this time, he said it was the Colombian duo of Zapata and Jaime Castrillon that started calling him that, and then many of the English speaking players and even some of coaching staff followed.

"I thought it was funny," Hendry told me, laughing about it. "It was funny but I still had to ask them why they gave me that name and why it has stuck."

Zapata clarified.

"We named him that because whenever he talks, everybody listens. He's is el patrón, the boss."

I'm thinking his dominating play may also have something to do with this name...

15 October 4:13 pm

A few months ago MLSsoccer.com came across and vintage footage featuring Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo when he played for the team, um, taking a fall after scoring a goal. SEE IT HERE

Last week we came across different types of old-school videa...commercials from the early years.

The first was discover on a tweet by TheOffsideRules, featuring Uruguayan midfielder Adrian Paz. We'll post a few others in the coming days, featuring Bravo and Marcelo Balboa.

This commercial was a Clio Award winner and I was the Director of Photography. It was filmed with an Arriflex SR2 16mm camera and a Canon 8-64mm lens.

 

05 October 4:24 pm

Rapids goalkeeper Ian Joyce gave me a heads up the other day that his neighbor is Mark Abbattista, a contestant on the reality TV show, The Amazing Race.

Mark is hosting a fundraiser on Sunday at the Buffalo Rose to benefit the Outdoor Lab & Jeffco Schools. The keynote speaker is fellow Amazing Race contestant Amy Purdy, who, as the poster explains, has overcome 'amazing' difficulties to excel in her sport.

No offense to Ian or Drew, or even the Erik Weihenmayer, who has summited Mount Everest seven times, but I don't think any of their stories can match what Amy went through. If you can't make it to the fundraiser but still want to hear Amy's story, watch her speech at a TED event last year.

04 October 8:08 pm

It's one of the most timely give-aways a Colorado Rapids partner has had.

When the Colorado Rapids host the Western Conference-leading San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, the forecast is calling for a potential of snow flurries and temperatures ranging from the mid-30's to low 40's. Enter Cricket Wireless.

The club's wireless partner will be giving away these burgundy and onyx (grey) striped scarves to the first 4,000 fans entering the stadium Saturday evening. The gates will open at 6 pm with kickoff set for 7 pm MT. Get there early, and dress warm.

21 September 4:54 pm

On September 8, Kroenke Sports Charities hosted an equipment drive to benefit non-profit A Precious Child in honor of Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who once interned for one of our sister properties. The response from the community was awesome, collecting over 25,000 items and $30,000 for the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Sports Journalism Scholarship. NBC national recognized the efforts in this clip below.

 

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19 September 7:44 pm

Pia Sundhage coached for the U.S. WNT to two Olympic gold medals and a second-place finish at the World Cup in her five years at the helm. However, on Wednesday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Pia coached her last game for the U.S. She will return to her native Sweden to head that Women's team starting in December.

Players on the team have shared their sadness in losing their coach, but also excitement and gratitude for Pia's contributions.

In the locker room hall way prior to the game, Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey gave Pia a crystal vase as a gift on behalf of the club. The attached card read as follows:

Pia:

For the last five years, the United States Women’s National Team that you coached has impressed and inspired us with their skill, tenacity, style of play, and dedication. It has been a joy to be a fan of your teams, and everyone here at the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park is honored to be a part of your final match at the helm of the USA Women. Thank you for all your hard work, and we wish you the very best of luck!

Sincerely,

Tim Hinchey

President, Colorado Rapids

On behalf of the Colorado Rapids and Dick’s Sporting Goods Park

 

06 September 3:42 pm

Last night I had a chance to not only see an Olympic gold and bronze medal in person for the first time, but to also touch one and feels its weight. Janay DeLoach, who won the bronze medal in London in the long jump, allowed me to hold her medal - and then even took a photo of me with it. In those few second I tried to envision what it must have been like to not only compete among the most elite athletes in the world, but to also have a medal hanging from your neck. It was pretty cool!

The Rapids hosted seven Colorado athletes that competed at the 2012 London Olympics on Wednesday night during the match against Portland. And while we applauded loudly as their names were announced and they waived to the crowd, it was also neat to see how appreciative they were at being recognized and honored by fans from a different sport. One Olympian even came with a Denver Bronco player. Here are some tweets from the Olympians in attendance:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22 August 4:07 pm

Every few months the community relations department organizes an 'signing' day, where they collect each department's need's for autographs and set them out for the players to autograph. 

The most common use for all the autographed gear is for donations, which we get a lot of, especially for functions where they are used as fundraising items.

The remainder is often used for gifts, sometimes for partners and / or sponsors, and sometimes for prizes or giveaways at various club functions.

That's Andre Akpan in the distance in the hallway right outside the locker room. He was one of the first to tackle the 300-400 items after today's practice. The rest of the guys then slowly tickled out, each individually signing each piece.

22 August 2:23 pm

After finishing his drills at Wednesday's training, which took place inside the stadium, Drew Moor went up to the locker room. A few minutes later he walked back out and approached three fans that were watching the session from the first row. Holding a match ball under his right arm, Drew told these fans how the players had come across this autographed ball sitting in Wells Thompson's locker. Collectively, they wanted to give it to Allan.

Joan, Mark, and Allan are season ticket holders that have been to every open practice so far this season. The only sessions they have not attended are the ones on the day before home games, which are closed to the public. They have become such a staple at training that the players even know their birthdays.

So, having given Joan and Mark a jersey and ball earlier this summer, Drew today presented Allan his birthday gift on behalf of the team!