Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey sat on Thursday morning with local journalists and www.ColoradoRapids.com to speak on a number of topics, starting with the rumors surrounding Head Coach Oscar Pareja. Below are some of Hinchey’s responses to the season that recently ended, and what the team is looking to accomplish moving forward.
How do you look back on this season, and is the team where you want it to be at this point?
"We sat down… two years ago when we all got together through the various ways, Paul already being in his position, myself being appointed to my position, and hiring Oscar: the three of us. We set forth on a plan and a project that probably most organizations in all different sports try to accomplish. Ours is what we hope is a well-documented, intelligent plan for long-term sustainable growth and success. We said that was the goal, we said we’re not going to give up on trying to get DPs, or get to the playoffs, or win U.S. Open Cup matches, which obviously we failed at, or get the Rocky Mountain Cup back.
"So we had some interim goals, some long-term goals, and that hasn’t changed. Therefore I think the three of us, our big goal is we all want to keep working together and I think we’re on the right foot. I think this year’s results met our expectations, but these were our expectations. The Open Cup was a huge disappointment, so we need to improve on that because we do take that competition seriously. Getting the Rocky Mountain Cup was a huge goal for this year, and making playoffs was a goal, but the way we finished the season was not something we were happy with. We’re not happy with going on the road the last two games, conceding five goals and not scoring any, and so we clearly have more work to do."
How do you assess Paul Bravo’s performance over the year?
"The coaching staff that he hired, the players that we’ve brought in, the moves that he’s made, having him move some of the historic players from our franchise and getting the value we got back, [transactions] like Nathan Sturgis and cash [for Omar Cummings], Dillon Powers; I think he did a fantastic job, an outstanding job in my opinion. His scouting and his network of scouts that he works with overseas to get the finest people like Vicente Sánchez and Gaby Torres, helping us get our first-ever DP [Designated Player], that’s kind of a historic moment. I think people realize that [Torres] is a pretty damn good player. And that’s Oscar too, Oscar participates obviously in player acquisitions, but Paul gets an “A” grade from me."
What are your goals for the club moving forward?
"We want cups, we want hardware, we want those things. I want that Supporters’ Shield, so there’s things like that which are easy to say. I want another MLS Cup, we want a Supporters’ Shield, we want to keep the Rocky Mountain Cup, and I really want to do well in the US Open Cup and eventually win that, so I want hardware everywhere we can get it. But I think the way I would describe ourselves, is I want to continue to grow the brand of our club, the identity of our club, to a place where people locally, nationally and internationally go “Colorado Rapids, that’s the Rapids way.”
“We want to be great in everything we do.”
"This is a huge leap, so allow me to explain it: people know the ‘Arsenal way’ and they know the ‘Barcelona way’. We aspire to be in a position where within our league and our continent, people have that kind of respect for how we conduct ourselves. Professionally, transparently, with character and who we want to be as a great club. We want to be great in everything we do."
What areas of the team need to be strengthened for 2014?
"I’ll defer to those guys [Paul Bravo and Oscar Pareja] to give you that answer. I think what Oscar and Paul have established – and it’s pretty evident if you watch us – is competition at every position. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re looking for a striker, a midfielder, attacking midfield, a defensive midfielder, and defenders. That’s just how they are. They go out and look at everything. We want top-class players in first and second positions for all eleven positions."
Will Rapids players train abroad this offseason?
"We haven’t decided where yet, but we’d definitely like to keep that. I was in London a couple of weeks ago at a conference, met up with some of my colleagues that are chief execs at other clubs of the Premier League and the Championship and League One, and – suffice to say – I’m sure we’ll send a couple of guys to one of those locations that we have a relationship with."
"And I think that’s another reason why we’re different than other clubs. We have – between Oscar, myself, the Kroenkes and Paul – we’re very fortunate that we have great relationships all over the world, so I think that’s a benefit to players who want to come and be a part of our system. We can give this kind of experiences to them, which help us grow and help them grow."