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01 February 6:04 pm

The past few days have been a little unnverving for Rapids midfielder Martin Rivero. The 23-year Argentinian suffered a broken bone in his right foot just before the end of the first half of the first preseason game on Tuesday. It was the first broken bone that he's suffered as a professional, and the ensuing surgery was also a first for the second-year playmaker.

But one thing that has kept him positive is the connection he's built with fans through his twitter handle. Rivero has chronicled and given fans - in Spanish and English - a unique behind the scenes perspective of his week, starting prior to the match, as he returned to Denver, on the surgery table, and afterwards. See below:

07 January 1:11 pm

Well, Colorado fans, if you didn't realize it then, you know now that when you attended the U.S. Women's National Team match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in September, you were in the presence of greatness.

On Monday, FIFA announced that former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage was named the FIFA Women's Coach of the Year, and USWNT forward Abby Wambach became the first U.S. women since 2002 to be named Best Female Soccer player in the world (pictured above celebrating her goal at DSGP in a 6-2 win over Australia). That capped off a tremondous year for the U.S. ladies, who had won the 2012 Olympic gold medal.

Fans of the women's 2012 know already knew that Pia was known to break out in song, as she did before her last game as coach on that night in Colorado. So it was fitting that she thanked her staff, and sang one last time to her players when she accepted the award:

07 January 12:38 pm

A few months ago we told you about Rapids Academy midfielder Bryan Windsor's trip to Barcelona, where he got to train at Barcelona's La Masia facility and receive first-hand instructions from the same youth coaching system that developed the world-player of the year, Lionel Messi, among others.

On Sunday, CBS's famed-program, 60 Minutes, profiled the story of Barcelona FC, giving arguably the best club soccer team in the world - in this era - a huge platform to be seen by millions of people in the United States. There's a lot of good stuff here, give yourself 15 minutes and watch it:

04 January 11:06 am

Anyone that googled the name "Diego Calderon" over the past few weeks likely saw the rumors that he was coming to Colorado. On Thursday the paper work was finalized and the Rapids made his signing official.

By winning South America's Copa Libertadores (equivelant to the UEFA Champions League) with Liga, he also got to play in the FIFA Club World Cup, where his side lost in the final to Manchester United. I don't know how many Rapids fans follow the Ecuadorian league, but I think some may recognize the names on Man U's team from that game. (FIFA.COM)

Below are a few videos of Calderon that I found online. The first shows a diving header for a goal that he scored last year for Liga (Pid Army, BSG, Class VI will be impressed by crowd). Next is a sit-down interview with a sports outlet - in Spanish - where he discussed the lessons he's learned, especially from an error he committed in the Copa Suruga Bank final (which features the Copa Libertadores winner and Japan's J-League winner). And the last is the longest, a 13 minute 'highlight' reel of his defensive plays.

 

10 December 6:31 pm

It's nearly impossible to tune out the Denver Broncos buzz, especially when "PFM," as Broncos fans and covering media have appointed Peyton Manning, is leading the team to the playoffs. And I suspect many Colorado Rapids fans are also Broncos fans, or least enjoy the local sports teams' successes, and are also optimistic for the Broncos' playoff hopes.

But for many Rapids fans, "PFM" was already in town quite a few years before the future hall-of-fame quarterback came to the Rocky Mountains. That's our own Pablo 'Freaking' Mastroeni.

As I thought more about the two local pros and their impact on their respective teams, I came across a few more similarities than the PFM acronyms, their 36-years of age (Peyton is five months older than Pablo), or that both of their team's missed the playoffs in the same year the respective superstar was forced to sit out with head / neck injuries.

Here are some I came across...post in the comments if you think of others.

Mastroeni began his professional career in 1998.

Manning began his professional career in 1998.

Mastroeni has one League championship - the 2010 MLS Cup.

Manning has one League championsip - the 2007 NFL Superbowl

Mastroeni was the first overall pick in the 2001 MLS Allocation Draft

Manning was the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Mastroeni was named an MLS All-Star in 9 consecutive years

Manning was named an NFL Pro Bowler (all-star) in 9 consecutive years

Mastroeni's last Final appearance was in 2010 (Nov)

Manning's last Final appearance was in 2010 (Feb)

Mastroeni was the 2012 Team Humanitarian of the Year, nominated for MLS award

Manning won the 2005 NFL Humanitarian Award

Mastroeni has played in at least 14 games for his team in 14 different seasons

Manning will play at least his 14th game for his team in his 14th different seasons (Dec. 16, 2012)

Mastroeni has 65 international caps and played in two FIFA World Cups

Manning has won four NFL MVP honors

Mastroeni missed nearly all of 2012 with concussion symptoms before announcing he's coming back for Major League Soccer's 18th season in 2013...

Manning, who brought back the retired #18, missed all of 2011 with a neck injury before returning this year to lead the Broncos back to the NFL playoffs...(and TBD)

Next month, Broncos fans will be pulling for Peyton to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the 5th time in his career. When Pablo advance past the first round for his fifth time, in 2010, he advanced all the way to the Cup...

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:

03 December 1:12 pm

It might not be quite fair to appoint 2012 as the "Year of the Soccer Bar" in Denver, but it's definitely a year in which these establishments have stood out. And now there's word of another bar about to open.

In the downtown Denver area, soccer fans have been regulars at The British Bulldog, The Three Lions, and the Celtic Tavern, and other locations like Fado or GB's have also welcomed fans of the beautiful game.

The latest soccer bar, The Armoury (Arsenal fans will like the background of the name), is shooting to open in the ballpark neightborhood on New Years Eve at 2048 Larimer Street. There's also already talk that they, too, hope to one day bus fans to Rapids games at Dick's Sporting Goods Park as the other pubs did this past year.

Here's the link to story on the new place, from The Westword.

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.

 

10 October 10:06 am

Colorado Rapids Team President, Tim Hinchey, alongside Rapids front office staff and fans, will be “Stepping Out” to stop diabetes.
 
The Walk to fight diabetes has been taking place for more than 20 years and has raised over $150,000,000.  Last year, more than 150,000 participants across the country raised over $20 million to stop diabetes. Step Out participants are committed to walk and to raise money to change the future, and make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by diabetes.
 
The American Diabetes Association 5k walk and 10k run will take place on Saturday, October 20th at the Denver Aquarium at 9am. OFFICIAL SITE