COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Wednesday, November 28, 2012) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Wednesday that Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio, Chris Klute and Martín Rivero will train with English Football League Championship club Derby County from December 3-12. The four players will train at Derby, a 128-year-old club currently in the second tier of English soccer, under the direction of manager Nigel Clough.
“This is a great opportunity for these young players to continue their development and gain valuable experience overseas,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “They will be able to train at a high level among very strong players, while gaining an understanding of how things work at one of the oldest and most storied soccer clubs in the world.”
“Having come to the Rapids after spending three years at Derby County, I know that our players will learn a great deal training with players of that caliber and quality,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “Nigel Clough is a great manager, and somebody who has great respect for MLS and the Rapids, as he has visited us twice in the last two years. We’re happy to continue the collaboration between our two clubs and look for even more in the years to come.”
Rapids Technical Director Bravo and Head Coach Oscar Pareja will also have the opportunity to see the four players in person, as the pair will be in England from December 5-13 on a scouting trip, during which time they will also visit Derby County and Arsenal for meetings.
Akpan, Cascio, Klute and Rivero will begin training with Derby County on December 3, and will remain with the club through December 12 before returning to the United States. Derby is currently in 12th place in the Football League Championship with a 7-6-6 record after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with league-leading Cardiff City, but are just five points from 5th place.
Akpan, 24, is coming off his most successful season in a Rapids shirt, having scored a career high three goals in the 2012 season, his third with the club after playing for Harvard University (GOAL: Akpan vs HOU). Rivero, 23, earned the honor of Rapids’ Young Player of the Year after notching eight assists to go with two goals in 30 matches (all starts). Cascio, 22, enjoyed a promising rookie campaign, scoring three goals in 29 games (18 starts), while Klute, also 22, made his MLS debut in the Rapids’ final regular season match after joining the club late in the season.
The Colorado Rapids recently ended their 2012 season and will open preseason camp in mid-January of 2013. For more information on the team, or to purchase Season Tickets for the 2013 season, call 303-825-GOAL or CLICK HERE.
PHOTO: Derby County's training facility, Moor Farm. (Courtesy Derby County)