When Gyasi Zardes stepped onto the playing surface at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park last weekend - less than 24 hours after arriving in the Centennial State - he became the sixth Designated Player to feature for the Colorado Rapids, seven if you include Young DP, Juan Ramirez.

Starting with the arrival of Panama international Gabriel Torres in the latter part of 2013, the Rapids’ focus in the DP department has been mainly in the attacking portion of the pitch, with the exception of former Manchester United, Everton, and USA goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Torres was signed off the back of a successful CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which he finished joint top scorer alongside Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski, with each scoring five goals.

Below, I have detailed the Designated Players to have gone before, including Ramirez. Each had their special moments, as you will note. You will also learn where life led them after leaving Commerce City.

Gabriel Torres (Panama)

Torres COLvDAL

Signed: August 8, 2013
Debut: August 17, 2013, vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Final game: September 26, 2015, at Houston Dynamo
Appearances: 55
Goals: 10
Assists: 5
Memorable moment: The only multi-goal game of his time in Colorado came in a 3-2 home win over Vancouver Whitecaps on October 19, 2013. His second goal was also his only game-winning goal.
Life after the Rapids: Torres has become something of a journeyman. Now aged 33, he is currently with Chilean top-tier club C.D. Antofagasta, but has also played in Venezuela, Switzerland, Ecuador, Mexico, and Costa Rica since departing the Rapids. Indeed, he has played at eight clubs in six countries over the past six years.

Juan Ramirez (Argentina, Young DP)

Juan Ramirez COLvSEA

Signed: February 20, 2015
Debut: March 21, 2015, vs. New York City FC
Final game: October 25, 2015 at Portland Timbers
Appearances: 27
Goals: 1
Assists: 3
Memorable moments: Ramirez’s only goal for the Rapids was a breakaway run the length of the field to score into an empty net for a 3-1 home win over Real Salt Lake on July 11, 2015. It would turn out to be the goal which handed the Rapids the Rocky Mountain Cup on goal difference. Two of Ramirez’s three assists came in the 2-0 victory at Sporting Kansas City on October 21, 2015. This was the Rapids’ first win at Kansas City since September 14, 2002.
Life after the Rapids: Ramirez is back in Argentina with continental giants, Boca Juniors. He has been with them since arriving from rivals San Lorenzo last year. He was initially loaned out from the Rapids to Almeria in Spain and then Talleres in his native land. He made the move to Talleres permanent after mutually agreeing to depart the Rapids in August 2017, before joining San Lorenzo two years later.

Kevin Doyle (Republic of Ireland)

2017 | Assist of the Year | Doyle | POR

Signed: March 20, 2015
Debut: May 23, 2015, vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Final game: September 2, 2017, at LA Galaxy
Appearances: 71
Goals: 16
Assists: 8
Memorable moments: On July 18, 2015, the Rapids went to Seattle. Heading there they were 0-8-1 all-time at the Sounders. An 84th-minute strike from Doyle gave the Rapids a first-ever win in Washington state. Four of Doyle’s five goals in 2015 were game winners.
Life after the Rapids: Doyle’s time in Colorado was cut short due to concussion, and he was forced to retire with immediate effect in the latter stages of the 2017 season. He returned to his beloved Ireland where he has enjoyed some youth coaching and TV punditry, but his time is very much taken up by the ‘sport of kings’, horse racing. Doyle is a horse breeder, based on his farm in Wexford.

Shkëlzen Gashi (Albania)

110716 Gashi GOTY Semifinals

Signed: February 1, 2016
Debut: March 6, 2016, at San Jose Earthquakes
Final game: October 28, 2018, vs. FC Dallas
Appearances: 64
Goals: 13
Assists: 7
Memorable moments: There were two big moments for Gashi, and both came in the 2016 season. The first was his free-kick goal at Vancouver Whitecaps on September 24, which was voted MLS Goal of the Year. He followed that with an equally spectacular strike in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinals at home to LA Galaxy, which ultimately sent the match to a penalty shootout, which the Rapids won.
Life after the Rapids: Gashi has been with Aarau, a second-tier team based in northern Switzerland, since leaving MLS. He is in his third season with the club. This season he has nine goals in 22 appearances. Aarau is sitting third in the Swiss Challenge League, three points behind leaders Winterthur, with five games remaining. The top side is automatically promoted to the Swiss Super League. The second placed team goes into a playoff.

Tim Howard (USA)

2019.07.26_howard_CRSC

Signed: March 20, 2016
Debut: July 4, 2016, vs. Portland Timbers
Final game: October 6, 2019, at LAFC
Appearances: 100
Shutouts: 23
Goals Against Average: 1.65
Memorable moment: Howard’s best moment in a Rapids jersey did not come in any of his 100 regular season appearances, rather in the 2016 playoffs when he performed heroics in the penalty shootout win over LA Galaxy at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park.
Life after the Rapids: On departing the Rapids at the end of 2019, Howard still had a few more games left in him, as he made six appearances for Memphis 901 FC during the shortened 2020 USL Championship season. He joined Memphis 901 as a minority owner and Sporting Director. The 43-year-old also has TV commitments as a studio analyst for NBC Sports.

Younes Namli (Denmark)

Nine Six Kit_Namli

Signed: January 15, 2020
Debut: February 29, 2020, at D.C. United
Final game: October 31, 2021, at Houston Dynamo
Appearances: 28
Goals: 3
Assists: 5
Memorable moment: The 2021 season proved a frustrating one for Namli, due to injury, but we saw some of his wizardry early on in the 2020 home opener against Orlando City SC. He opened his account with a drive from distance to score the first goal of the season at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids won the game 2-1.
Life after the Rapids: Namli’s two-year loan spell from Russian club Krasnodar ended at the completion of the 2021 MLS season. In January, he signed on loan for Netherlands club Sparta Rotterdam until June.