In his rookie year in MLS, Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor was a teammate of Oscar Pareja at FC Dallas. ColoradoRapids.com caught up with Moor to get his thoughts on being re-united with Pareja now that the Colombian has been named the head coach of the Rapids. You can listen to Moor's interview by CLICKING HERE or read the trascript below.
PRESS RELEASE: RAPIDS NAME PAREJA HEAD COACH
Your thoughts on Pareja joining the Rapids?
"I was extremely excited when I heard the news that Oscar was going to be the new head coach. My first year in the league as a player was his last year in the league as a player. He’s such a professional and such a competitive guy. When I think of Oscar, one words that comes straight to the front of my mind is that he’s a winner. That was in training, that was in games, that was both on and off the field. I just can’t think of somebody who is going to bring more energy and more of a positive nature. He’s somebody that is really, really hungry to be successful in this sport. That’s something that I know for sure is going to translate down to the rest of this organization."
On what Oscar can bring after having had success as a player in MLS and coaching both youth and pro players...
"I think Oscar has been a winner at every level he’s been at, whether as a player – with Dallas he was extremely successful, one of the better players there with that franchise. As an assistant coach he’s been successful with the FC Dallas organization as well and at the youth level he’s done some great things, as a youth national team coach and I believe with the Dallas Academy. When you can have success at so many levels, it’s huge to have a guy like that at the top of your organization. I think the Rapids are an organization that’s been moving in the right direction the past couple of years, and he’s somebody who I can see coming in and doing great things. As a player you want to play for a guy like that, who has everybody’s best interests at heart and all levels of the organization is important to him. I think that’s the kind of guy you look forward to working with."
On the energy that Oscar can bring to the sideline...
"I think Oscar’s extremely smart and such a competitive guy. I remember when I played with him as a teammate, whether we were playing small-sided games or possession games or crossing and finishing games, or whatever it was when there was a competitive edge to it, or winner or loser, you always wanted to be on Oscar’s team. He was so positive, he brought so much energy. If there was somebody that needed to be lifted up or their spirits were down, then Oscar was the guy to come to, or that would he would go out of his way to talk to. If somebody needed some coaching or needed some help, Oscar was the guy that you would turn to. And I think most importantly, when somebody needed a little bit of a kick in the pants, Oscar would step up and do that. He brings so much energy, so much passion, and winning means so much to him. On and off the field he wants to do everything the right way.
"Having played with him, having played for him, this is a huge, huge gain for the Rapids. There is no other place I’d rather be right now because I know Oscar is now in charge."
Having been a player in MLS, what can Oscar add to the organization?
"I think it’s huge that Oscar has been involved with Major League Soccer for so long, I don’t know the exact number of years but probably close to the inception of this league. Oscar has been a player and had a lot of success, he’s been an assistant coach and had success, and he’s been in charge of the entire academy program at Dallas. When you bring somebody in that knows the league probably better than any player here, probably better than most people in the front office and the organization, I think that’s huge. He knows where we’re traveling, he knows who we’re playing against, he knows a lot of guys in the league, he knows probably most of the players on our team already – which to be fair he’s taking over a pretty good team, a team that has proven in the past that can win championships. When you put all that together, although he doesn’t have a lot of time to leave his mark before we get going, I think Oscar is somebody who will step in right away and do a good job. He’s going to help the young kids, he’s going to help the veterans, and just having been involved in the league so long is a huge positive."
On what he expects to call Oscar...
One thing you might want to add is, after I got off the phone with Paul (Bravo), I thought, “Man this is huge that Papi is going to be my coach.” And then I got to thinking that I’m going to have to call him something different, but that’s all I’ve ever called him. When I was a rookie that’s what they called him. I think it had something to do with that he was one of the older guys on the team, he probably won’t like hearing me say it, but it was fact. A lot of guys looked up to him and that’s what the guys called him, that’s what Bobby Rhine called him, that’s what Simo (Valakari) called him. They called him Papi.
"My teammates are probably going to look at me weird if I call my head coach Papi. I saw him last year after we played FC Dallas, we had the reserve game the next morning and I saw him in the hallway at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and I called him Papi. So that’s just what I’ve always called him so I’ll have to think of something different to call him, obviously, maybe ‘coach?’