Colorado Rapids players Shane O’Neill and Dillon Serna have been selected to participate in the 2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game on Monday, August 4, as part of Major League Soccer’s festivities surrounding the All-Star Game in Portland. A total of 20 of the league’s top Homegrown Players (who came through the youth systems at their MLS clubs) will take on the Portland Timbers U-23s at Providence Park.
“This match will be a great showcase for some of the talented young players that teams throughout MLS are producing, and we’re thrilled that Shane and Dillon have been selected,” said Paul Bravo, the Rapids Vice President of Soccer Operations. “Both players have become important parts of our first team, which is a credit to their hard work over the last several years, as well as the coaches at all levels of our club.”
O’Neill, a 20-year-old from Boulder, was signed by Colorado on June 19, 2012, and made his MLS debut on September 5 of that year. He earned a starting spot early in the 2013 season, going on to play every remaining match of that season for which he was eligible, missing one game due to suspension and four others while with the United States at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup. In 2014, the Ireland-born O’Neill has played 15 games (all starts), and scored his first goal on May 24.
“It’s good for me and Dillon, but it’s also good for the club,” said O’Neill. “We came up through the youth system, and that means a lot to us. It’s good for the league to get [Homegrown Players] together for the inaugural game. It’s a good start, and I think everyone is excited about it.”
Serna, 20, is a native of Brighton, Colo., who was a star in the Rapids Academy before being signed by the club on January 14, 2013, after a standout freshman season at the University of Akron. His MLS debut came in the final regular season match of 2013, playing the final 13 minutes at Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Serna has become a regular in 2014, playing in 13 matches (starting eight), with a goal and two assists, despite missing three weeks with a knee injury. He also has experience with the U.S. Under-20 National Team, participating with the team throughout at the CONCACAF U-20 Championships and at various other camps and tournaments.
“It means a lot to us, the young guys, getting a chance to show what we have with all the other Homegrown guys,” said Serna. “It’s going to be a fun game that everyone’s going to take really seriously. The atmosphere is going to be pretty good with the All Star game up in Portland, so I think it’s a good chance for everyone to show what they have.”
The inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game will kick off at 8 p.m. MT on Monday, August 4 and will be streamed live on WatchESPN and MLSsoccer.com. The MLS All-Star Game will take place on Wednesday, August 6, also at Providence Park in Portland, Ore., against German club Bayern Munich.
2014 Chipotle MLS Homegrown Roster*
Goalkeepers: Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Matt Lampson (Columbus Crew)
Defenders: Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Ashtone Morgan (Toronto FC), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Karl Ouimette (Montreal Impact), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Steven Evans (Portland Timbers), Wandrille Lefevre (Montreal Impact), Chris Ritter (Chicago Fire), Russell Teibert (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)
Forwards: Caleb Calvert (Chivas USA), Bradford Jamieson (LA Galaxy), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Harry Shipp (Chicago Fire), Tommy Thompson (San Jose Earthquakes), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)