Pareja on Edu: "He has a natural instinct to score goals"

Coach says experienced forward adds depth, experience, and professionalism to squad

Oscar Pareja introduced as head coach on Jan. 5, 2012

Photo Credit: 
Garrett Ellwood / Colorado Rapids

When Edu contacted the Rapids in March to request a tryout, coach Oscar Pareja happily accepted the veteran of Spain's La Liga for what initially was to be a one week trial.

"Edu is a player with a strong history in Spain," Pareja told ColoradoRapids.com at the time. "We want to see how he looks at present because he's a player with a high profile. We're alway going to be looking to improve our roster."

After 15 days and having played in two Reserve League matches, Pareja had completed his evaluation of the former Real Betis forward and both parties began the process of ironing a contract. It took nearly a month, but on Thursday the club officially announced Edu as their newest addition.

ColoradoRapids.com: What are you looking for in bringing Edu on board?

Pareja: "He's a player that brings experience. He's a player that has been playing at the highest level, one of the best leagues in the world. I think he has a natural instinct to score goals and it will do the team good to have another alternative. With him, we'll have players with experience, and young players that we can develop.

The season is long and demanding, and we are going to need more depth on the team. I think he's one of those players that you can count on when he is ready, and that is something the team needs."

ColoradoRapids.com: How did you evaluate him during his two week trial?

Pareja: "At the beginning it was difficult for him physically because he had not played for some time. But after a week he started to show qualities that can help us. Unfortunately it took a long time to finish the process with him, and that has decelerated our plan of having him ready to participate. We are taking a risk with a player that needs a bit of preparation at first, but I know I can count on him in the important parts of the season."

ColoradoRapids.com: And a player with his experience, what can he bring to this group?

Pareja: "He is great for our locker room. He will bring a great professionalism to the locker room. I know that he can also help the young players a lot. From what I've heard, since I wasn't here, (Edu) reminds of the type of player the Colorado Rapids had with Claudio Lopez. A player who had played at the highest levels and brought a needed element, not only on the field, but also off the field - which is so important, if not more important. I hope Edu can be that player that can help us both on and off the field."

ColoradoRapids.com: Where do you expect to utilize Edu?

Pareja: "He can play the point position, with two forwards. He can play the point with three around him, and he can play behind the forwards as well. These are positions that have been natural for him. He scored a lot of goal at Real Betis, and I think that there's a lot of soccer left in this player."