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Earls hoping to reach new peaks in Denver

Jordan Harvey was one of the most consistent performers for the Rapids during 2009, starting in almost every game and helping anchor the squad’s defensive line. He beat out stiff competition for the position -- including Honduran international Iván Guerrero -- and made the position his own.

And then Harvey was abruptly traded to Philadelphia Union, raising more than a few eyebrows in Denver and leaving questions about who could step into the position.

In stepped Irishman Danny Earls, the latest potential treasure found through Rapids assistant coach Steve Guppy’s ties with the Rochester Rhinos.

Earls, 21, has done well in his first two games, despite large boots to fill and adjusting to the pace of MLS and the altitude of Colorado. He has done little wrong except for a minor mix-up with goalkeeper Matt Pickens in the closing minutes of the opening game at Chivas USA, when it looked as if he may head the ball past his own goalkeeper.

“It was a loud crowd,” Earls said. “Apparently he shouted but I didn’t hear him. But I could have got round him. It was OK.”

Earls, who was also formerly with Aston Villa in England, said he is still adjusting to the different demands of the  league.

“It’s a new tempo, new pace, the play is stronger, quicker,” he said. “USL is a big, physical league, but it’s not as quick.”

Earls said it was a dream to be playing professional soccer at such a high level. He is enjoying the experience of living in the U.S. and looking out at the Rocky Mountains every day.

“I come to training every day and see the stadium and get butterflies in my stomach,” he said. “I just want to give it my all, play hard and battle for the team.”