Exclusive: Catching Up With Rapids Players & Coaches For the Holidays

Exclusive to ColoradoRapids.com - Want to know what your favorite Rapids players and coaches have been up to during the off-season?

ColoradoRapids.com was able to catch up with several of the Rapids players and coaching staff to find out what they’ve been doing whether it’s been vacationing scouting players working out or charity work since the season ended and what their plans are for the holidays!

Check out some of the Rapids players’ responses as to what they’ve been up to so far in the off-season and what their plans are before the team has to report back to 2006 training camp in January:

Rapids Head Coach Fernando Clavij
"Hello fans! I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful holiday season. As for what I have been doing so far this winter I have just returned from a long trip to Uruguay Argentina Germany the Netherlands and Austria. In these countries I have been scouting players for next year and now I'm back in our beautiful but very cold Denver! I will be in town for a little while longer to wrap up some things at our training center in Westminster. After that I will be in my way to Fort Lauderdale Florida to celebrate the holidays with my family. I should be back in Colorado on the first week of January ready for another very very successful season! Happy Holidays to all Rapids fans and I'll see you in 2006!"

Rapids midfielder #28 Leo Cullen:
"Hey fans what's going on this is Leo. As for what's going on with me in the off-season well I'm working out keeping in shape every day down at the Rapids training center. In a few weeks I'll be heading to Minnesota for a few days to get some sun and see the family. Then we're off to south Florida for New Year's Eve so that I can get back to my Fusion roots! After that we'll hurry back to Denver where this old guy will have some quality gym time waiting for him... in the meantime happy holidays Rapids Nation!"

Rapids goalkeeper #27 Byron Foss:
"Happy holidays to everyone! First off I am back in California for the holidays enjoying the sun and ocean. I imagine that many of you are wishing you too were enjoying some nice sunshine with the weather that's been going on in Colorado. The off-season has been relatively normal. I took a few weeks off from the field and the weight room to heal some injuries and give my body some much-needed rest. I have started back in the gym in preparation for this upcoming year and so far my off-season training is going well. I am going on vacation in a few weeks for a family reunion which should be interesting....I have not seen everyone in a long time! I hope everyone out in Denver is keeping warm. I can't wait to start the season and bring the cup to Denver next year. Happy holidays!"

Rapids Asst. Coach John Murphy:
"Hey fans a quick update on what I've been up to this busy off-season. Lots of coaching events! On December 15-17 I was the featured speaker at World Class Soccer and Sports Learning's seminar titled "Elite Club Development in America and Europe" in Raleigh North Carolina....it was pretty cool a three-day seminar specifically targeted at club directors & coaches from the USA and Europe. Let's see what else...I'll be conducting coaches education classes in Fort Lauderdale FL as a national staff coach of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and will be a featured clinician at the annual NSCAA Coaches Convention in Philadelphia the largest soccer convention in the world. Also I'm working on my new book which will be announced early in 2006: "A Full Season of Goalkeeping Training" published by World Class Soccer and will follow up with a coaching training series to be announced early in 2006. And lastly the most important event of my off-season: baby #2 is coming in January!! Happy holidays to all fans and we'll see you in '06!"

Rapids defender #9 Nat Borchers:
"Hello Fans! I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season. As for me I just got back from a trip to London. The trip itself was awesome! I got to see such sights as Trafalgar Square London Tower Big Ben (clock tower of the Palace of Westminster) and many others. I also got to see two games: Charlton Athletic v. Manchester City (EPL) and Arsenal v. Ajax (Champions League).....those were a lot of fun. However on my return trip home I got caught in Chicago due to the snow. I had to sit on the tarmac for 8 hours (literally no exaggeration) had to deal with an exceptionally drunk passenger in the seat next to me slept on the comfortable seats of O'Hare airport for the night got on the wrong plane in the morning and eventually made it back to Denver through Cedar Rapids Iowa. So was the trip fun? Yes. Coming home was the tough part.
On the charity side I also just held my second annual Nat Borchers soccer clinic for charity in Pueblo on Dec. 17....it was great the kids were awesome and I can't wait to host another one soon! I wish everyone a Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah Happy Kwanzaa and Happy/Merry anything else you may be celebrating. Also I hope your holiday travel goes far better than mine!"

Rapids defender #8 Hunter Freeman:
"Hello everyone! Hope all of you are enjoying the holidays I know that I am. It's always good to get together with family that you have not seen in a while. That is mostly what I have been doing since the end of the season. I actually got home in time to go to the MLS Cup match in Frisco TX since the stadium is only about 15 minutes from my house. Since then I spent some time with the family and had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with more choices then you can imagine. My favorite part though is always the desserts with my mom's homemade pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie!! After Thanksgiving my Dad and I went down to South Texas (around Lllano) and went hunting at our deer lease for a couple days. I always enjoy going down there and just getting away from everything (phone email etc). Right now I am in Charlottesville Virginia visiting friends here at the University of Virginia. As well I am talking with my deans and administrators to figure out what my options are in order to finish school and earn my degree. I will be up here for a few more days and then head back to Texas for the rest of the holidays. Other than that I have been working out regularly and hopefully sometime during the offseason I will be going overseas to train for a couple weeks with a club in Europe. Hope all is well in Denver or wherever your holiday travels may take you! Have a safe and happy holiday season!"

Rapids defender #16 Eric Denton:
"What's going on fans? I've been mainly keeping myself busy since the Western Conference Final by doing the usual....well not really sleeping in until 10 or 11 isn't usual I suppose! Just kidding! My girlfriend and I both decided to skip the normal Thanksgiving drudgery of going home and shaking hands and kissing cheeks with the families and opted to stay in the beautiful sunshine and cold of Denver for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of seeing the Rolling Stones at the Pepsi Center. Well not exactly once in a lifetime it was my third time seeing them live but who knows they may all finally succumb to what most folks their age do---old age. Though i must say the way they sounded and the way Mick and Keef strutted around who knows!
Since the 28th of Nov. I've been enrolled in the Jones College Real Estate school...it's been crazily overwhelming with huge amounts of subject material. I finish up on the 5 of Jan. either already having hopefully passed or soon to take the licensing exam to be a certified real estate broker. I'm still fielding openings for an associate broker position if anyone out there has an opening or interest in hiring a part-timer to learn the business!!
Toss in there the trip back home to my parents' house in beautiful sunny (and warm!) Manteca California for the week of the Xmas holidays and then I'm off to Columbus for a day before shooting down to Cincinnati for ex-teammate and good friend Frankie Hejduk's wedding over the New Year's weekend. Then it's back here to finish up my real estate schooling which couldn't happen any sooner 'cause on the 11th of Jan. I'm off to Cabo San Lucas for a week with my girlfriend for some much-needed sun and surf!
Anyway that's the gist of what I've been and will be up to this offseason some minor deviations and one major one but you all don't need to know the exact details right??? Happy Holidays to everyone!"

Rapids midfielder #21 Matt Crawford:
"Happy holidays from Boston to all you Rapids fans! Denver wasn't cold and snowy enough for me so I decided to stop through here and hang out with my brother on my way back to North Carolina. Since the end of the season I've been spending all of my time in Denver with a few side trips to see friends and family. Over Thanksgiving I went to see my cousin in Fort Campbell KY before he left for Iraq. Last weekend I was celebrating a college teammate's wedding in Jackson MS with a lot of Chapel Hill friends who I hadn't seen in a few years.
Unfortunately my world revolves around hip rehab right now. My two best friends are Joe Cannon (who has been rehabbing his knee) and Theron Enns (Rapids team trainer). My schedule has been pretty busy with different rehab protocols: I've been seeing our massage therapist in Boulder our physical therapist in Broomfield spending 2 hours a day trying passive postural realignment techniques from the Egoscue clinic in San Diego taking weekly visits to see the doctors and therapists in Vail...and hanging out with Joe and Theron every day in the training room. Progess is slow but I'm confident I'll be able to make it back on the field and contribute to the Rapids' successes in the 2006 season!
One of the moments I'd quickly like to forget about this offseason is how my Tarheels lost to Byron Foss' and Luchi Gonzalez's alma mater (SMU) in the NCAA soccer quarterfinals (although we showed Hunter Freeman's ex-teammates at UVA how soccer is played). Congrats to Leo Cullen alum of the National Champion Terps!
I hope everyone has a great holiday spending time with friends and family and I look forward to seeing you all come preseason!"