COMMERCE CITY CO. (Friday February 8 2008) - The Colorado Rapids announced today that JUERGEN SOMMER has been named the team’s Director of Soccer and GARY SMITH has been added to the club as an Assistant Coach.
In his newly-created position Sommer will work closely with the coaching staff and General Manager Charlie Wright on scouting the Rapids youth academy and operational aspects of the club in accordance with MLS rules and guidelines. The Rapids will also see the benefits of Sommer’s addition as he will work directly with the first team goalkeepers.
Smith’s responsibilities include supporting head coach Fernando Clavijo and first assistant John Murphy with the Rapids’ first team. In addition to his first team duties Smith will also establish the Arsenal Center of Excellence and develop the Arsenal Cup a club tournament that will be open to American club teams from all over the United States and that will be hosted at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
"Juergen’s and Gary’s backgrounds as coaches and players will prove to be valuable assets to our team and our business said Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush.
"With the contributions they will make to our on-pitch performance as part of our technical staff we are a better club with their additions. As importantly both are quality individuals who are committed to helping us reach our stated goal of becoming a premier team."
A former NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year Sommer has spent the last two years working as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater Indiana University. He also has recently served as the goalkeeper coach for the U.S. Men's National Team. Sommer earned 10 international caps with the U.S. National Team from 1990 to 1998. Following his playing career at Indiana Sommer signed with Luton Town of the English First Division in 1991. He led Luton Town to the FA Cup semifinals in 1993 and was named the English goalkeeper of the year that season.
In 1995 he became the first American goalkeeper to play in the English Premier League when he suited up for Queens Park Rangers. Sommer returned to the U.S. and played in the MLS from 1998-2002 with the Columbus Crew and New England Revolution. He played 54 games in his MLS career making 249 saves. Sommer was named to the All-Star team his final year in MLS. While with the Revolution he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard University. Sommer was the 1990 NCAA adidas Goalkeeper of the Year and led the 1988 IU team to an NCAA Championship.
Smith comes to the Rapids with ten years of experience as a professional player and full-time coach in the English FA. A UEFA "A" badge holder he recently served as the reserve team coach for English Premier League’s Watford Football Club. Smith’s background also includes coaching with Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and Wimbledon Football Club both located in London England throughout the past decade.