Dear Rapids Fans,
Welcome to Fan Appreciation Night, our final home game of the 2013 season! I can’t believe we’re about to kick off our 17th regular season match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park tonight, and as I reflect on a very special season, I must first thank you, our fans, for the best attendance since we moved into this stadium, with six sellouts this year. Also, improving our TV ratings for Altitude broadcasts by over 100% is also worth noting, as it’s the highest audience increase in MLS this year. Our sport is growing at a tremendous pace thanks to increased media coverage, including the talented bloggers dedicated to our clubs. I truly believe we, together as #OneClub, have reached a new level of relevance here in Colorado, and you can see it from our valued season ticket holders whose names have been on our authentic jerseys all year, to the thousands of kids in our club and those who visit our complex to compete in the beautiful game every weekend.
I must also thank our coaches, players and front office staff for their tireless commitment to this club and providing the best match day experience in Colorado sports. Our players have truly delivered a new club identity that we are proud to show to everyone who comes out to watch. This identity lives and breathes from our First Team all the way to the Under-8 teams in our youth club. Soccer fans now realize there is a “Rapids Way” to play the beautiful game, and see that we can compete with any team: anywhere, anytime. Burgundy has never meant more in our city, state and league. I would like to personally thank Paul Bravo and Oscar Pareja for their leadership in developing this identity and living it every day as true examples of what can be accomplished at a soccer club that believes in the executing the right way all the time.
This week was a very exciting one for international soccer. The United States clinched first place in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, and we look forward to seeing them perform in Brazil next summer. We’re proud to have played our part in the process and we will never forget the “Snow Game” here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where Colorado soccer fans showed the world our dedication and commitment to our national team. Additionally, Gabriel Torres continued his strong performances with Panama, scoring against the U.S. on Tuesday, though we feel for him as his country just missed out this time around. Also, Deshorn Brown earned the honor of playing for Jamaica for the first time, and made us proud with his two starts.
Tonight, as a thank you to all our fans, we have some very special events going on at the stadium. Throughout the evening, you can find special discounts at the team store, and have a chance to win prizes, including limited edition Colorado Rapids Never Summer Snowboards (also available for purchase in the team store). We’ll be doing the special Jerseys off our Backs ceremony, where all our players will present lucky fans with their shirts (many game-worn), right after the game. We also will present the end-of-season awards as voted on by fans, players, coaches, and staff. Finally, stick around for the Lap of Honor, where the entire team will make their way around the stadium to say thanks, sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
Thanks again, from the bottom of our hearts, and come on you Rapids!