It took a little while, but the 2011 year-end award winners finally received their trophies last night.
Wells Thompson - Humanitarian of the Year, Drew Moor - Defender of the Year, and Jeff Larentowicz - Golden Boot winner and Most Valuable Player, were given their awards at the Rookie Season Ticket Holder Orientation on Wednesday evening in the press level of Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The players then stuck around for an informal forum, displaying a more personal (and funny) side than fans may know from seeing them on the field.
Wells talked about getting married in the offseason, saying how his friend bluntly told him he couldn't believe he found a women that said yes...Jeff said he was ok with Kosuke wanting to be a Ginger Ninja, 'now there can be two of us.' And Drew showed the large gathering of fans why he's the Ironman by standing up from behind to let them see his 165-pound small frame, and also by flexing.
The players then also talked briefly about their seasons and their successes. Wells may have taken the spotlight, however, by telling a story of his rookie year, when some senior players put Icy Hot in his underwear and tshirts, and his reaction when he put them both on. But that wasn't it, he also told the fans about the chickens and ducks he raises, including one that looks like the Aflac duck.
The players enjoyed the night, and we hope all the first and second-year season tickets did also. We look forward to seeing everyone at the games all year!
Yesterday we posted the news that Mexican forward Daniel Frias joined the Rapids preseason camp. For some reason his name had a familiar ring to it. Upon googling him, I came across his story - and photos, and videos, and more stories.
His full name is Julio Daniel Frias Adema. He goes by Daniel Frias, but he's also often referred to as "El Maleno," which Oscar Pareja tells me it roughly translates as "The neighborhood guy."
He's somewhat of a legend in Cuidad Juarez (Mexico), the place where he was born and name of the team on which he debuted in the Mexican First Division at age 29. Previously, he played in El Paso, Texas. THIS STORY IN THE EL PASO TIMES is about his journey from the minor leagues of U.S. soccer, to the top division in Mexico.
But that doesn't tell his full story - the reason behind the support he's received from his hometown. Frias had a troubled youth which included violence and drugs - in a city still known for such issues. But thanks to soccer, he straightened himself out, making his pro debut at 20-year-old (lower division). He's been greatful for the support he's received and opportunities he's been presented with ever since. HERE'S MORE OF HIS STORY IN ESTO (SPANISH)
Twenty-nine is thought to be an 'old' age for a player to finally make a top division. But his story goes even futher. After Juarez was relegated, he signed with Jaguares and last year (April 2011) he scored a goal in the prestigious Copa Libertadores. (Google his name for more info and highlights)
Jeff Larentowicz may be the original Ginger Ninja, but it's looking like he might have some competition. Kosuke Kimura returned from the California portion of preseason with red hair, though that was not his intention...he explains in the video below:
In recognition that the club expects to announce a new player later today - one who had been referred to by Paul Bravo and Tim Hinchey as a playmaker, or "a #10" - we put compiled the history of the Colorado Rapids all-time #10s. See how many you can answer....we'll post the history on ColoradoRapids.com at some point following the announcement.
How many players have worn the #10 for the Rapids since 1996?
What was the only year that no Rapids player wore #10?
Which Rapids #10s scored playoff goals?
How many Rapids #10s were born in the United States?
How many Rapids #10 were born in Africa?
How many Rapids #10s were born in South America?
How many Rapids #10s were born in Europe?
How many Rapids #10s were born in Central America or the Caribbean?
Name the three Rapids #10s that attended college in the USA?
Which Rapids #10s were acquired during a season?
Of those #10s acquired within a season, how many goals did they combine to score in the season they were acquired?
Which player changed from #10 to a new number after one season?
Who is the only #10 to coach a game for the Rapids?
Which #10 scored the first-ever goal at Dick's Sporting Goods Park?
Well, they were much braver then the rest of us.
Members of the front office staff dressed in Rapids uniforms and old cheerleader outfits and topped with a Rapids burgundy beanie jumped into the icy waters of Chatfield Reservoir this afternoon as part of the 4th Annual Colorado Polar Plunge to help raise money for the Special Olympics.
At a little after 1 pm, with the temperature not quite at 20 degrees, the group walked out on the ice of the reservoir to the cut out triangle that formed the four feet deep 'pool.' I can only imagine the questions going through their heads as they stood on the edge and finally jumped in.
Well done, crew!
(Clockwise from top row L-R): Peter Schwartz, Wayne Brant, Jeff Jacobson, Alex Teal, Christa Dellebovi, Tim Hinchey, Rachel Sweeney, Rebecca Payne, Kristen Sonsma
According to Weather.com, Saturday's noon tempurature in Denver is supposed to be about 27 degrees, with a 'feels like' of 19 degrees. That's what nine members of the Colorado Rapids front office staff will be facing as they take the Polar Plunge to help raise awareness and money for Special Olympics Colorado.
President Tim Hinchey and CMO Jeff Jacobson are among the staffers that will dress in old Rapids uniforms and the old cheerleading outfits and jump into the freezing waters of the Chatfield Reservoir. The other members of the staff (that have not yet chickened out) are Wayne Brant, Alex Teal, Rebecca Payne, Rachel Sweeney, Christa Dellebovi, and Kristen Sonsma.
Even though online registration is closed, people (or teams) can sign up on the spot beginning at 11 am. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.
After the bus ride from Oxnard to San Luis Obispo, Ian Joyce, Matt Pickens, Wells Thompson, and Drew Moor went out for a walk to stretch their legs.
As they strolled into town, they saw a fire truck that was about to leave a call they just made. Ian and the guys said hi to the firemen and started asking them questions, and the crew obliged. Next thing he knew, Ian was on top of the fire truck learning how they assist steering the vehicle from the back of the ladder.
"It was awesome," Ian wrote in an email. "I was like a kid in a candy shop. I've always loved fire trucks and respected the firemen's line of duty!"
Not sure if the pun was intended, but Ian also says they came across a vintage 70's style candy shop with old school pop bottles and candy cigarettes.
(Wells tweeted the pic of Ian inside the truck, Drew tweeted the candy store pic, and Ian emailed us the pic from above the truck..
We saw this story posted on MLSsoccer.com's morning Kick Off article. It's a story posted on MLSReserves.com of a kid who's kindness and passion for the sport has touched countless of MLS players, including the Rapids' own Brian Mullan.
Evan, 10, met Brian when he was playing in Houston with the Dynamo. Allow yourself some time to read how Evan has positively affected by the players he's met, and how his own battles with countless surgeries has also inspired so many players in the League: READ THE FULL STORY.
Following Tuesday's preseason match against Chivas USA, coach Oscar Pareja and midfielder Jaime Castrillon were guests on the national ESPN Deportes show, Nacion ESPN with David Faitelson and Adriana Monsalves. It doesn't look like they've posted the full Spanish interview, but they did post this short web-version in English with Adriana and Oscar: