COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Friday, January 24, 2014) – Colorado Rapids players Chris Klute and Shane O’Neill will return to Colorado on Saturday following their time with the U.S. National Team in California and Brazil. The two Rapids players were with the U.S. starting on Jan. 6, training in Carson, Calif. before moving to Sao Paulo for the rest of the camp. The U.S. released five players back to their clubs from its 26-man camp today, while adding one other.
“We’re pleased to get Chris and Shane back for the start of our preseason,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “As young players, they can learn a great deal from a camp like that, and we hope it is the first of many for both of them.”
“All of the players have put in a tremendous amount of work and effort these past two weeks,” said U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We had a great opportunity to introduce some new players into the Senior National Team Program and they have done extremely well. I think they have a bright future, and now they go back to their clubs with a better understanding of what it takes at the international level. We now move forward with the chance to finish off the camp with the goal of getting a result against Korea.”
Klute, 23, came to the Rapids on loan from the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL in late 2012, and made his MLS debut in the final match of that season. He signed permanently for Colorado in the middle of the 2013 season, a year in which he played 31 matches for the Rapids (30 starts) at left back, leading the team with seven assists and being named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. In 2007, Klute played with both the U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 National Teams, including one match at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
O’Neill, 20, signed with the Rapids in mid-2012 after playing several years in the Rapids Academy and made his MLS debut late in the 2012 season. He broke into Colorado’s starting lineup early in 2013, and played primarily as a central defender in a total of 26 matches (24 starts), only missing time to join the U.S. Under-20 National Team for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. At the end of the season, he was named Rapids Young Player of the Year. A Boulder native, O’Neill was born in Midleton, Ireland and moved to the U.S. at a young age.
Colorado opens preseason with physicals and fitness work before travelling to Houston to face the Dynamo on February 2 in a preseason friendly. The team is set to participate in the Las Vegas ProSoccer Challenge and the Desert Diamond Cup presented by Tucson FC as part of the preparations for the 2014 regular season. To purchase season tickets for the Rapids’ 2014 campaign, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.