On the Attack
The Rapids newest Designated Player arrives in Colorado with an impressive track record in the final third––Zardes’ name is forever in the Crew record books as the club's third all-time leading goalscorer with 61 goals in 122 appearances. His finishing ability, pace and experience fits perfectly into the Rapids' system as does his ability in the air where he'll be a threat off set pieces linking up with Jack Price.
That Colorado Connection
Zardes has spent time with two of his new teammates on a different pitch in recent years–former Crew defenders Lalas Abubakar and Aboubacar Keita. Zardes and Abubakar had two years of crossover in 2018 and 2019, while he spent time with Keita from 2019 to 2021. His arrival to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park won’t be his first, either. The striker took to the Colorado pitch in 2015 as a starter in the MLS All-Star squad.
Of National Interest
On the international stage, the striker has made 68 appearances for the Stars & Stripes, scoring 14 goals in that time. He collected two Concacaf Gold Cup titles in 2017 and 2021. He started two of the USMNT’s matches in the successful World Cup Qualifying campaign this cycle, against Panama in October and Canada in January.
Cali to Columbus to Colorado
A Hawthorne, California native, the 30-year-old’s career on the pitch started in 2008 at LA Galaxy’s academy and U-20 teams. He then stayed in the Golden State for college, playing for Cal State University Bakersfield from 2009-2012, making 56 appearances while tallying 33 goals and 18 assists in that stretch. Colorado will be his third homestead while playing in MLS.
Bringing Home the Silverware
Zardes has collected a number of awards and trophies throughout his ten years in MLS. While with the Galaxy, Zardes started and scored in LA’s MLS Cup victory in 2014. In his time with Columbus, he was awarded the Crew’s Golden Boot in 2018 and 2019, the MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2018, and helped the Ohio side win MLS Cup in 2020 and the Campeones Cup in 2021.
Winger Michael Barrios won't be the only one with a bleach-blonde head of hair anymore--Zardes has made the color a distinctive trait in his last decade on the pitch. But it's not all about fashion for Zardes, as he's stated that he made the change to allow his grandparents to identify him more easily when they watch his games on television.