Earls hoping to reach new peaks in Denver

Rapids youngster looks to fill the hole left by Jordan Harvey

Rapids youngster Danny Earls has big shoes to fill in Denver.

Photo Credit: 
Victor Decolongon/Getty

Jordan Harvey was one of the most consistent performers for
the Rapids during 2009, starting in almost every game and helping anchor the
squad’s defensive line. He beat out stiff competition for the position -- including
Honduran international Iván Guerrero -- and made the position his own.

And then Harvey was abruptly traded to Philadelphia Union,
raising more than a few eyebrows in Denver and leaving questions about who could
step into the position.

In stepped Irishman Danny Earls, the latest potential treasure
found through Rapids assistant coach Steve Guppy’s ties with the Rochester
Rhinos.

Earls, 21, has done well in his first two games, despite
large boots to fill and adjusting to the pace of MLS and the altitude of
Colorado. He has done little wrong except for a minor mix-up with goalkeeper Matt Pickens
in the closing minutes of the opening game at Chivas USA, when it looked as if he
may head the ball past his own goalkeeper.

“It was a loud crowd,” Earls said. “Apparently he shouted
but I didn’t hear him. But I could have got round him. It was OK.”

Earls, who was also formerly with Aston Villa in England,
said he is still adjusting to the different demands of the  league.

“It’s a new tempo, new pace, the play is stronger, quicker,”
he said. “USL is a big, physical league, but it’s not as quick.”

Earls said it was a dream to be playing professional soccer
at such a high level. He is enjoying the experience of living in the U.S. and
looking out at the Rocky Mountains every day.

“I come to training every day and see the stadium and get
butterflies in my stomach,” he said. “I just want to give it my all, play hard
and battle for the team.”