Spanish midfielder José Mari to join Rapids in Vegas

From La Liga to MLS, former Zaragoza player eager for new challenges

Jose Mari

Photo Credit: 
ColoradoRapids.com

The Rapids had a new arrival in Colorado on Tuesday, as Spanish midfielder José Maria Martín-Bejarano Serrano, better known as José Mari, joined the team’s camp ahead of the trip to Las Vegas. The defensive midfielder, 26, has played his entire career in Spain, most recently with Real Zaragoza, where he played in La Liga in 2012-13.

“José Mari is an accomplished, strong midfielder who is very solid on the defensive side of the ball,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “We’re bringing him with the hopes that we can finalize a contract with him. He’ll meet up with the team in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and we look forward to seeing him on the field with the group.”

The Spanish midfielder arrived in Denver on Monday night and met with the coaching staff at the stadium on Tuesday before undergoing some physical tests, similar to what the rest of the roster underwent in the early days of preseason. He is expected to do more testing on Wednesday before flying to Las Vegas on Wednesday night to join his teammates. Before coming to the U.S., the native of Rota in the south of Spain had been doing research on MLS and the Rapids. 

“I know that MLS is a league that has grown a lot in the last few years, and that Colorado won the championship in 2010,” said José Mari on Wednesday. “I know that the coach, Pablo, is an institution at the club, that he’s been here for many years and is a very important man for the Colorado Rapids organization. I’m very excited, and very eager to get started and get on the training field.”

José Mari played 16 matches in the 2012-13 La Liga season with Real Zaragoza, and several more with the team this season in the Segunda before departing the club at the start of February. He previously played with Jaén, Murcia, Sanluqueño, and his hometown team of Roteña, where he made his professional debut in 2005.

The Rapids depart on Wednesday for Las Vegas, where the team will play against UNLV on Friday and Chivas USA on Sunday in preseason matches. Tickets to the game against Chivas USA are on sale at www.prosoccerchallenge.com.