COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids announced today they have acquired defender Gustavo Vallecilla from FC Cincinnati in exchange for $400,000 in 2022 General Allocation Money (GAM) and $400,000 in 2023 GAM. Cincinnati would also receive up to an additional $50,000 in GAM if certain performance metrics are met, as well as retain 10% of any future transfer fee above what the Rapids paid to acquire the defender. Vallecilla will occupy a U22 Player slot on the Rapids’ roster.
“Gustavo is a young, explosive defender who is one of the top center back prospects in the country,” said Pádraig Smith, Colorado Rapids Executive VP & General Manager. “We believe he has the qualities to develop into a dominant defender in this league and look forward to welcoming him to the club.”
Vallecilla, 22, joins the Rapids after spending the past two seasons with Cincinnati where he made 25 appearances, all starts, and netted two goals since joining the midwestern club on loan from SD Aucas ahead of the 2021 season. Cincinnati triggered the buy option on his contract during the past offseason.
A native of Esmeraldas, Ecuador, Vallecilla has spent the bulk of his professional career in his home country’s top flight, the Ecuadorian Serie A. After making his professional debut at 17 years old with Deportivo Cuenca in 2016, Vallecilla went on to make 47 appearances across stints with Deportivo Cuenca (2016-2018), Aucas (2019-21) and Barcelona SC (2020). Vallecilla won the Serie A championship with Barcelona SC in 2020 and made three appearances in the 2020 Copa Libertadores for the club.
On the international stage, Vellecilla made his debut with the Ecuadorian national team on December 5, 2021, playing 76 minutes in a 1-1 friendly draw with El Salvador. He has also made a combined 21 appearances for Ecuador’s youth national teams, winning the U-20 South American Championship in 2019 while also playing every minute of Ecuador’s run in the 2019 U-20 World Cup as they finished third in the competition.
Pronunciation: goos-TAH-vo vah-ye-CEE-yuh
Birthdate: May 28, 1999
Birthplace: Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Last Club: FC Cincinnati