When seeking positives from last weekend’s 2-2 result at home to Minnesota United FC, maintaining the unbeaten home record was certainly a plus, as was the return of Kevin Doyle, a first start in 2017 for Shkëlzen Gashi, and a second goal of the season for Dominique Badji.
For me, though, a glance to the bench and the sight of Kortne Ford sat alongside Dillon Serna was also worthy of note. The 21-year-old central defender was making his first appearance in the gameday 18, having signed a Homegrown contract with his hometown team in early January. And the fact that it was at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, in front of his mom, family, friends and the Rapids faithful, made it extra special.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Ford. “You picture those kind of things growing up, coming out to Colorado Rapids games, and you’re like ‘man, it would be awesome to be out there on that field’, so you take a moment, and when I got out on that field I was thankful for it, but then after that, when the whistle blew, I knew there was a chance I could be going in so I was just ready for the moment.”
Ford’s place on the bench came seven days after fellow-Homegrown rookie Ricardo Perez was in the 18 for the trip to New York Red Bulls. Both Ford and Perez came through the Rapids’ Development Academy.
Serna, the third Homegrown player on the Rapids roster, is building up his minutes off the bench after missing eight months due to a ACL injury sustained last June. The prospect of Homegrown trio Serna, Ford and Perez stepping onto the field in burgundy in the near future is something which excites the former University of Denver defender.
“They (the fans) want to see us out here,” Ford added. “It makes them feel at home, and it makes us feel at home. It’s awesome, and I hope that MLS can go more towards that, bringing in Homegrowns and developing players, like they have with us.”
You can hear the full interview with Kortne Ford on this week’s Rapids Podcast.