Cummings to train with EPL's Aston Villa
Commerce City, Colo. – Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings received an unexpected gift this Holiday season. The Jamaican forward will be heading to England to train with English Premier League-side Aston Villa.
“Aston Villa contacted us a few weeks ago with interest to see Omar up close,” Rapids Managing Director, Jeff Plush, told ColoradoRapids.com. “After discussing the opportunity with Omar, we felt it would be a good chance for him to get a leg up on preseason training and at the same time get the experience of training with a Premier League club.”
Plush noted that although Cummings will initially be training with the Birmingham, England club, discussions have taken place that could lead to Aston Villa taking Cummings on loan.
“Omar is a Colorado Rapids player,” said Plush. “We explained to Aston Villa that we would be open to discussing a loan agreement for Omar until our season starts on March 19 if it benefitted Omar and the Colorado Rapids.”
The Rapids begin defense of their MLS Cup title on March 19, 2011 against the Portland Timbers at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Cummings is expected to join Villa in the coming days to begin training with the club.
The 28-year-old striker led Colorado with 14 goals in 2010 and helped the club win their first-ever MLS Cup title. He also continued scoring goals for the Jamaica National team and helped the team repeat at Caribbean Cup champions in early December by scoring a goal in the final.
Last summer, the Rapids confirmed that Necaxa, a club from Mexico, made a bid to acquire Cummings. An agreement could not be reached, though it was explored.
At the moment, neither Aston Villa nor Colorado are looking beyond the next few weeks. However, in the world of soccer, should a player go on loan, the possibility of a buyout could be added to a loan agreement.
“It would take Aston Villa or any club making a significant offer for us to even consider transferring Omar,” added Plush.
Before leaving for Jamaica in December for the offseason, Cummings talked to ColoradoRapids.com about his status.
“I’m happy here," Cummings said of Colorado. "Everyone knows that I’m happy and very comfortable being in Colorado. But if the opportunities are there to make a move, I’m also open to that.”
“If the Rapids feel that it’s a good opportunity for the club and for me to move on, I understand that. At the same time, as a player, you don’t want to feel held back from taking that opportunity even if it’s just to see.”
Cummings still has two years left on his contract with the Rapids. However, Colorado have often re-signed players before their contracts ended, including Cummings and then defender Ugo Ihemelu in February 2009.
A month prior, the club had re-signed Colin Clark, Nick LaBrocca, Jordan Harvey, and Kosuke Kimura to new deals while they were already under contract. And this December, Colorado also re-signed defender Marvell Wynne before his contract was up.
Plush confirmed that the Rapids have begun discussing a new deal with Cummings’ representatives.
When asked if he would stay with the Rapids if an attractive new offered was proposed or if he would wait for opportunity overseas, Cummings quickly answered:
“I’m here. You always want to explore, but I consider Denver home now.”