Rapids Hold World Cup Send-off Ceremony for Pablo Mastroeni

DENVER (ColoradoRapids.com) - At halftime of Saturday night's Rapids victory over DC United at Invesco Field fans in the stands were treated to a special ceremony.

The Rapids held an on-field presentation to send off Pablo Mastroeni in grand fashion to the biggest sporting event in the world! This was Mastroeni's last home game before he departs to the USA training camp for the 2006 World Cup.

Mastroeni was named to the US World Cup team just last week as part of the Americans' 23-player sqaud that will take on the world. The Rapids' Team Captain who is heading to his second consecutive World Cup (he also was with Team USA at Korea/Japan 2002) becomes the only Colorado resident to represent the Centennial State in the most-watched TV event in the world.

"This is definitely the pinnacle of my career said Mastroeni. "The first time around was amazing but it keeps on getting better. We have a tough group but I think we have the talent to come out of the first round. In the World Cup there are no small opponents and every game will be the most important one. It is simply a privilege to be able to play for my country and all American and Rapids soccer fans."

(To read more about Mastroeni's selection to the US National Team World Cup squad CLICK HERE).

The ceremony was held live on the field for fans to witness and was also broadcast live simultaneously on Altitude Sports & Entertainment.

First up as part of the ceremony on behalf of Kroenke Sports Enterprises Rapids VP and Managing Director Jeff Plush presented Pablo with Colorado and USA flags to take with him on his trip to Germany.

Next up on behalf of the Rapids team Clint Mathis presented Pablo with a framed US National Team jersey that had been signed with good luck wishes from all his Rapids teammates and the Rapids coaching staff.

Lastly on behalf of the fans members of the Rapids' Supporters Clubs presented Pablo with a giant banner that read "Good Luck Pabl Do Colorado and the USA Proud"! The banner had been out for fans to sign at the supporters clubs' pregame tailgates at the last 2 home games and was decorated with hundreds of good luck wishes from the fans!

The Colorado Rapids also announced as part of the ceremony that the club will be hosting official viewing parties for every single 2006 World Cup match so fans can follow not just Pablo and the USA this summer but catch every single World Cup game live and with other soccer fans!

Stay tuned to ColoradoRapids.com for more info. on the Rapids World Cup viewing parties coming soon!