COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Friday, January 10, 2014) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Friday that club icon Pablo Mastroeni has joined the team’s technical staff and will hold the position of Special Assistant to the Technical Director. Colorado’s career leader in games and minutes played, Mastroeni will start his position by assisting Technical Director Paul Bravo with the Rapids efforts at this week’s MLS Player Combine and next Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.
“In addition to a playing career that few can rival, Pablo is also an intelligent, passionate leader who has the respect of everyone in our organization,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “His experience as a player, knowledge and understanding of the Rapids and our goals, and dedication to the growth of this club will serve us well moving forward.”
“I’m excited at the opportunity to return to the Rapids and get started in my coaching career,” said Mastroeni. “This is a great chance for me here at the club and in the state that I call home. I’m looking forward to finding some talented young players at the Combine and SuperDraft, and then seeing them on the training field back in Colorado in a couple weeks.”
Mastroeni, 37, finished his playing career in 2013 and is Colorado’s most decorated player, having been named to the MLS All-Star Team in his first seven years with the club (2002-2008), and earning Rapids MVP honors in 2007, 2008 and 2010. He currently holds club records for most games played (225), games started (217) and minutes played (18,669), and served as the Rapids captain from late 2004 until his trade to the LA Galaxy during the 2013 season.
Mastroeni on decision to retire
Mastroeni came to MLS with the Miami Fusion as the 13th overall selection in the 1998 MLS College Draft after a standout four-year career at North Carolina State. In four years with Miami, Mastroeni appeared in 100 regular season games, made two MLS All-Star teams, and earned a spot on the MLS Best XI in 2001 while helping the Fusion to the Supporters’ Shield with the league’s best regular season record. He joined the Rapids in the 2002 MLS Allocation Draft after Miami was contracted, and played in 13 seasons with Colorado before a trade to the LA Galaxy in June of 2013, where he finished his playing career. In total, Mastroeni played 334 MLS regular season matches, eighth most in MLS history, and 27,522 minutes, fifth on the all-time list and second among non-goalkeepers.
Also a veteran with the United States National Team, Mastroeni made 65 appearances for his country over the course of nine years. The holding midfielder played in both the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, playing three games at the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea as the U.S. reached the quarterfinals, and two more at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Mastroeni was also a member of the U.S. squad in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2007, helping the United States win the tournament in 2005 and 2007, while also appearing in the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003. Mastroeni made his National Team debut in a friendly against Ecuador in June 2001 and made his final appearance in June 2009 in a World Cup qualifying victory over Honduras.
Colorado holds the 11th overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, to take place on January 16 in Philadelphia, and the Rapids will open preseason in late January. The Rapids season starts on March 15 at New York Red Bulls, with the Home Opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the Portland Timbers on March 22. For more information on the club, or to purchase season tickets, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.