COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Friday, January 18, 2013) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Friday that the club has signed Dillon Serna of Brighton, Colo. a product of the Rapids Academy, as the club’s third Homegrown Player. Serna, who can play several positions and is coming off a standout season with NCAA powerhouse University of Akron, joined the Rapids Academy in 2009 and has seen extensive action with the United States Under-17 National Team. He joins Davy Armstrong of Aurora and Shane O’Neill of Boulder as Homegrown Players on the Rapids’ roster.
Serna will be formally presented to media following Monday’s practice session at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, along with Rapids Head Coach Oscar Pareja and Academy Director Brian Crookham. Practice is at 9:30 a.m., with Serna, Pareja and Crookham available following practice for photos and interviews.
“We’re thrilled that Dillon will be joining our first team, having proven in our youth system, the NCAA, and with the U.S. National Teams that he is ready for this step,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “His dedication and hard work, as well as the effort of all the Rapids coaches who have spent time with him over the last several years, have paid off with this well-deserved opportunity.”
Serna, 18, was a member of the Akron Zips squad that finished the regular season ranked first in the country before being upset in the NCAA tournament, and scored two goals and added eight assists, good for second on the team. He was named one of the top freshmen in the country by several publications, including Soccer America, College Soccer News, and Top Drawer Soccer. He appeared in each of the Zips’ 22 matches (starting 21), playing several positions including left back, attacking midfielder, and forward.
“Dillon was under-the-radar when he first joined the Rapids Academy, but he took full advantage of the chance and immediately impressed coaches across the country,” said Rapids Academy Director Brian Crookham. “He has continued his high level of play ever since, and ended up being our most accomplished youth player to date. We’re all excited to see his development moving forward.”
Originally joining the Rapids Academy in 2009, Serna made his debut for the club in the 2009 Generation adidas Cup (then called the SUM Cup) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, attracting the attention of U.S. National Team scouts at the same tournament in 2010. He played for the Rapids U-16’s before joining the U.S. U-17 National Team in residency in Bradenton, Fla. under then head coach Wilmer Cabrera, eventually being named to the squad for the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship and the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico. In July 2012, he joined the U.S. U-20 National Team for the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, playing in all three of the team’s matches in the tournament.
In his last season with the Rapids U-18 Team in 2011-12, Serna led the squad with 12 goals as the team finished sixth in the country out of the 78 teams in the national Development Academy league. Throughout 2012, Serna also trained with the Rapids first team under Oscar Pareja, and played in seven of the team’s 10 official Reserve League matches, starting three games.