After watching countless of college matches on video, attending multiple NCAA conference tournaments and U.S. youth camps, and conducting their tryouts, the Rapids technical staff can see the end of the college scouting road.
Technical Director Paul Bravo, head coach Oscar Pareja, and assistants Dave Dir, Wilmer Cabrera, and Paul Caffrey departed for Ft. Lauderdale Thursday afternoon to attend the annual MLS Combine, which will take place at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida from Jan. 11 - 15.
"This is an opportunity to get a good, final look at the players that we've been tracking throughout the season," Bravo told ColoradoRapids.com. "I think the staff has done an excellent job of getting out and learning more about the college players, who's available, and what might fit for us."
Bravo said he expects the players the team will draft with 6th, 25th, and 30th overall selections in next week's MLS SuperDraft to be at the Combine this weekend.
"There will be 60 of the best players in the country at the Combine, in addition to the young internationals they'll be bringing in," Bravo said. "We feel that there will be some real value there, whether it's 6th sixth pick, the 25th or the 30th pick."
On paper the 2013 Rapids appear to be solid at every position ahead of preseason, which gives the staff options when building the SuperDraft depth chart.
"You'd love to be able to find the best available player fit your needs, but at the end of the day, we've built a group that we feel a rookie doesn't necessarily need to step right in and contribute right away," Bravo said. "Our thought process is, let's go with the best available player at this point because we're going to need depth at all positions."
Following the Combine, Bravo, Pareja, Dir and Cabrera will fly directly to Indianopolis for Thursday's draft, while Caffrey will return to Colorado to begin fitness tests with the returning players on January 17.