Just four years ago, Moïse Bombito had yet to make up his mind about whether or not he could play professional soccer. At 19, the dream was there, but not fully realized for the Montreal native. Today, the defender is logging minutes in Major League Soccer, playing alongside and going head to head with the best players in North America.
After being drafted third overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft, Bombito joined the first team for preseason training in Querétaro, Mexico, and Orlando, Florida, before joining the 18 players rostered for the Rapids season opener against Seattle Sounders FC.
Unfortunately the defender didn’t get minutes in that loss to the Sounders, and he wouldn’t for another three months on a Colorado pitch.
In early March, Bombito suffered a MCL tear in training ahead of the Rapids’ home opener against Sporting Kansas City that would sideline him until May 7, when he played a full first half with Rapids 2 in their 5-0 rout of LA Galaxy II.
The defender has now played in two consecutive first team matches, first, making his debut in DICK’S Sporting Goods Park last weekend against Philadelphia Union and then subbing on in the 64th minute in the Rapids’ matchup with Atlanta United FC.
As Colorado navigates through a packed May schedule featuring six MLS regular season games and two U.S. Open Cup appearances, the depth from the bench players like Bombito can provide is invaluable.
“We haven't really had that many defenders to make changes with,” said Head Coach Robin Fraser after the Atlanta match. “Moïse has gotten himself healthy again, so it's good to see that he's back in. He's a young player. He gives you good minutes and bad minutes, but it's all part of his growth. And it's important that he gets the minutes so that he can learn. It's definitely the type of thing you have to learn on the job because certainly he's a good player [but] this is a different league and a different animal for him. So for him to get minutes at this point, I think is really important for us down the road.”
The Montreal native’s previous professional experience extends to time with USL League 2 side Seacoast United Phantoms, scoring three goals across 10 appearances in 2022. Prior to his time with the Phantoms, he was holding down the back line for Iowa Western Community College and later, the University of New Hampshire. The difference in level of competition between college, USL League 2 and MLS is staggering.
The key to catching up to speed is film, Bombito said.
“The level is really high compared to college soccer,” he remarked on Wednesday. “That's why I need to adapt and get as much film as possible.”
Moïseito has another invaluable resource at his disposal: the guys on the backline beside him.
Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson, Keegan Rosenberry and Steven Beitashour, to name just a few, have been stalwart presences in front of the Rapids’ goal for hundreds of combined games. Andreas Maxsø joining the defensive lineup after leading Brøndby IF as captain for three seasons brings European experience and proven leadership abilities to Colorado.
“Before the last two games we played we had a nine-game unbeaten streak, so seeing that everyday and knowing they know how to defend and know how to keep games as close as possible…being with them is a plus for me for sure,” he said.
As Bombito continues to get minutes under his belt and grow into the Rapids’ style of play, his existing intelligence on the ball will prove to be priceless in the learning process.
“I think defenders have to be extremely cerebral,” said Fraser. “I do think Moïse is a cerebral player, but he is going to encounter things that he hasn't seen–different types of players, different physical attributes, different skill levels, that sort of thing. Moïse is very much in his infancy in terms of learning. All the different nuances that are going to happen, are going to occur week to week, so he's in it now. He's got his feet in there now and it's up to him to grab hold of it.”
For now, Bombito is honed in on making the most of his time on the pitch, all while staying humble and understanding the circumstances that brought him to this opportunity in his career.
“It's a privilege for me to get in there and show what I can do, but since it's a privilege there's expectations that come with it,” he said. “I have to prove that I can be a guy that can help out as much as possible when the time comes.”