Colorado Players in MLS

Newly signed Rapids midfielder Davy Armstrong is one of many Coloradans to play in MLS

Commerce City, Colo. – When Aurora’s Davy Armstrong (Rangeview HS) was presented as the Colorado Rapids first homegrown player to move from the youth system to the professional ranks, he joined a growing list of MLS players that were either born in or grew up in Colorado. Below are the other Colorado players and their time in MLS (* Active in MLS):

Rafael Amaya (D) – Born in Bogota, Colombia but a long-time resident of Denver, Amaya was a member of the former Colorado Foxes before joining the San Jose Clash (now Earthquakes) in the inaugural 1996 MLS season, where he appeared in seven games. He was traded to the Colorado Rapids in 1997 where he also made seven appearances during his only season with the Rapids.

Chad Ashton (M) – Born in Denver, Ashton started 10 of the 23 games in which he appeared during his only season in MLS with the 1996 Dallas team, known then as the Burn.

Clint Baumstark (GK) – The Thornton-native was an MLS pool goalkeeper and served as an emergency backup for Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, DC, Columbus, New England, Salt Lake, and Chicago from 2003-2005. He made his only MLS appearance on Oct. 3, 2003 with DC United in a 1-1 overtime tie at Columbus.

*Nat Borchers (D) – The Pueblo, Colorado resident began his MLS career by moving from the Boulder Rapids Reserves (PDL) to the Colorado Rapids in 2003, where he played in 83 games through 2005. After a three-year stint in Europe, Borchers returned to MLS in 2008 and joined Real Salt Lake. He’s appeared in 60 games with RSL through today. MLS Cup Champion – 2009 (RSL).

*Bobby Burling (D) – A 2003 graduate of Lewis-Palmer HS in Monument, Colorado, he was originally drafted by the LA Galaxy in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, but ended up signing with Chivas USA instead. After making 23 appearances for the Goats, he was traded to San Jose in 2009 and has since played 20 games for the Quakes.

*Conor Casey (F) – The Rapids acquired the South High School forward from Toronto shortly after Casey came to MLS following years playing professionally in Germany. Since joining the Rapids in 2007, Casey has scored 36 goals in 79 games and is only four goals away from having the club’s all-time goals scored title.

*Colin Clark (M) – The Fort Collins HS grad also started with Boulder Rapids reserves, and was signed by the Rapids in February 2006. He has scored 10 goals in 85 career appearances, though has unfortunately had each of the past two seasons cut short with knee injuries.

*Todd Dunivant (D) – The Wheat Ridge product from Dakota Ridge HS has played with four different MLS teams since being drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2003 draft. Dunivant has made 46 appearances with the Quakes, 15 with the New York Red Bulls, 27 with Toronto, and 89 with the LA Galaxy, with which he’s now on his second stint. MLS Cup Champion – 2003 (SJ); 2005 (LA).

*Roger Espinoza (D) – Born in Puerto Cortes, Honduras, Espinoza grew up in Aurora and attended Regis Jesuit High School. He was selected by the Kansas City Wizards in the 2009 SuperDraft, and has made 52 appearances. He also played in two games for Honduras at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Wes Hart (D) – A Colombine HS grad from Littleton, Hart began his career with the local side. The Colorado Rapids drafted Hart with the 7th overall pick in the 2000 draft. In four seasons with the Rapids, Hart scored two goals in 68 career games. He was traded to San Jose in 2004 and played his final two years with the Quakes, appearing in 25 games.

Ken Hesse (D) – Born in Denver and having played for the former Colorado Foxes, Hesse has the unique distinction of starting and playing all 90 minutes in the MetroStars (now NY Red Bulls) first-ever game in 1996. That was his one and only MLS appearances as he then released.

Matt Jordan (GK) – A graduate of Overland HS in Aurora, Jordan played 114 games for Dallas (Burn) from 1998-2002. After a year overseas, he returned to MLS and served as a backup with Columbus from 2004-2005.

Stephen Keel (F) – The Littleton-native was signed by the Colorado Rapids after standing out in the club’s 2005 open tryouts. After two years seeing only reserve team action, Keel debuted with the first team in 2007. In his final two years, he appeared in 10 total games. 

Mark Lisi (M) – From Englewood, Lisi attended Regis Jesuit HS and was drafted by DC United in 2001. After making 31 appearances for United, he was traded to New York halfway through the 2002 season. He played 89 games for NY until he retired following the 2006 season.

Chris Martinez (D) – Martinez, from Denver, also moved on to the Rapids from the Colorado Foxes. Joining the team in 1997, Martinez played 108 games for the Rapids until he retired following the 2001 season. In his final year, he was named the team’s Defender of the Year.

*Brian Mullan (F/M) – A member of the Aurora Sting and another Regis Jesuit HS grad, Mullan was drafted by the LA Galaxy in 2001. After two seasons and 31 appearances in Southern California, Mullan joined the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003 and appeared in 88 games before the team moved to Houston. With the Houston Dynamo since the club began in 2006, Mullan has played in 133 games. MLS Cup Champion – 2002 (LA); 2003 (SJ); 2006 and 2007 (HOU).

Jay Nolly (GK) – Nolly played soccer and football for Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colorado. He was selected by Real Salt Lake in the 2005 draft but only played in seven games in his first two seasons. He was traded to DC United in 2007 and played one game in the nation’s capital.

Andre Nunley (D) – From Colorado College and Denver, Nunley is tied with only a handful of others with having the shortest MLS career. Nunley made one appearance in MLS, playing only one minute with the Colorado Rapids. His single minute came when he replaced Jason Bent in the final minute of play in the Rapids 3-1 win over Dallas on September 26, 1998 at Mile High Stadium.

Matt Okoh (F) – Okoh attended Regis Jesuit HS in Aurora and then played collegiately at Denver University before joining the Colorado Foxes in 1995. After short periods playing in Brazil and Germany, he returned to the US and made the Colorado Rapids team in 2000 where he played 21 games. The next year, he was traded to New England, scoring six goals in 19 games in his final season in MLS.

Aaron Pitchkolan (M/D) – Yet another graduate of Regis Jesuit HS in Aurora, Pitchkolan was draft by Dallas in 2005 and appeared in 67 games for the Texas-side until 2009, when he was traded to San Jose. He played 10 games for the Quakes last season.

*James Riley (D) – A graduate of Harrison HS in Colorado Springs, Riley was drafted by New England in 2005, then selected by San Jose in the 2007 Expansion Draft, and then chosen by Seattle in the 2009 expansion draft. He’s appeared in 142 games in six-year MLS career.

Jim St. Andre (GK) - From Colorado Springs and also a former Colorado Foxes player, St. Andre was allocated to the New England Revolution for the inaugural 1996 season. In his only year in MLS, he played 15 games for the Revs that year.

Craig Thompson (M) – A graduate of Highlands Ranch HS and Colorado School of Mines, Thompson was originally drafted by Houston in 2008 supplemental draft. His rights were traded to DC United, which needed healthy bodies. Thompson’s right away played in two Open Cup games and then started against Chivas Guadalajara in the 2008 SuperLiga. In MLS competition, he made six appearance for United that summer.

Jake Traeger (D) – A Heritage HS grad from Littleton, Traeger was drafted by the Columbus Crew in the 2003 draft, and appeared in two regular season games in his two seasons with the Crew. He and his two brothers and sisters all played at Ohio State University.

Seth Trembly (M/D) – Trembly, from Littleton and Arapahoe HS, was allocated to the hometown Rapids at the end of the 1999 and played 52 games for the Rapids from 2000-2004. He was then traded to Real Salt Lake, appearing in a career-high 22 games in 2005 before injuries cut his career short. Many Rapids fans may remember him missing a game in 2000 to attend his senior prom at Arapahoe.

David Wagenfuhr  (D) – Wagenfuhr, who attended Rampart HS in Colorado Springs, was drafted by Dallas in 2004. Though he didn’t play that year, he played 45 games over the next three seasons. He was on the team’s injured list for all of 2008, and ended up retiring due to injuries following that season.

*Collen Warner (M) – A product of Denver East High School, Warner was drafted by Real Salt Lake in the 2010 SuperDraf, and has started three of the 11 games in which he’s appeared this season.

Daniel Wasson (D) – Raised in Colorado Springs, Wasson attended Liberty HS and began his collegiate career at the Air Force Academy. The Colorado Rapids drafted him in the 2006 supplemental draft, and he appeared in 22 games during his two seasons in MLS.

Sterling Wescott (M) – Born in Utah but raised in Aurora, Wescott played at Smoky Hill HS in the late 1980s. He was drafted by DC United in the inaugural MLS draft. He made his debut as a sub in the club’s second game on April 13, 1996, and started the team’s third game the next week. Those were his only two appearances in MLS.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below...

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