Luna, Smith among preseason non-roster invitees
Commerce City, Colo. - Among the players taking the preseason physicals and tests at Dick's Sporting Goods Park the past two days were six non-roster invitees, including veteran midfielder Jamie Smith and former FC Dallas forward Ruben Luna. Also participating were defender/midfielder Luke Vercollone and goalkeepers Joel Helmick, Jim Mauer, and Clint Irwin.
Smith, who played 56 games for the Rapids over the past four seasons, did not have his option picked up following the 2012 campaign but comes in hoping to work out a new deal.
The 20-year-old Luna (pictured above) was waived by Dallas last November after appearing in 22 regular season games and scoring two goals during his two-and-a-half seasons with the first team. He led the MLS Reserve League in goals with 10 in 2011, and also led FCD in goals during CONCACAF Champions League tournament.
The former Mexican Under-20 international signed with FCD as a Homegrown player on July 30, 2010 after two standout Academy seasons under the direction of Oscar Pareja. In 2010 Luna scored 26 goals in 29 appearances for the FCD U-18 team. That came on the heels of being named the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Player of the Year for the U16 age group in 2009, when he scored 38 goals in 27 games. He shared those honors with Dillon Powers, whom the Rapids selected with the 11th pick in Thursday's SuperDraft.
Helmick, drafted by the Rapids in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, returns to preseason hoping to earn the third goalkeeper spot. He'll be in competition with two other 'keepers with pro experience.
Maurer was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the 2011 Supplemental Draft out of South Carlina but did not make the final roster. He spent the 2011 season with the Atlanta Silverbacks and then earned a spot in Chilean first division side Universidad de Concepcion last year, making four appearances before the team was demoted in December and he became a free agent.
Irwin, who starred at Elon University, went undrafted in the 2012 MLS drafts but spent the preseason with the New England Revolution before signing with Capital City FC in Canada. He then signed with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL PRO division and was in goal in the Eagles' 2-0 upset victory over FC Dallas in the second round of the 2012 U.S. Open Cup.
Vercollone is the only other field player in camp, at the moment. He spent the latter part of 2012 training with the Rapids and went the full 90 minutes in the team's Reserve League season finale loss at Dallas.