Sixteen seasons since he left the club as a player, Robin Fraser is once again a member of the Colorado Rapids.
He’s happy to be back home.
“This is the first place I ever lived outside of Miami," said Fraser, who originally played for the Colorado Foxes of the A League, before he became an MLS player when the league launched in 1996, and later joined the Rapids in 2001. "I've spent all of my 20s here and great ties here. I got married here, I have kids here. So this is a place that's been home to me a lot of ways."
The 52-year-old rejoined the Rapids as the ninth head coach in club history, the club announced Sunday. Fraser replaces caretaker Conor Casey, who helmed the club for 19 games following the firing of Anthony Hudson in early May.
With the hiring of Fraser, Casey has moved on to pursue other opportunities, the club confirmed.
But in contrast to Casey’s counterattacking approach to the game, Fraser hopes to introduce a pragmatic, possession-based style.
“Everyone says they want to play it — attractive, attacking soccer,” Fraser explained. “Everyone says that's what they like to do. There has to be a foundation behind it and there has to be a lot of purpose. You also have to be able to defend to play an attractive, attacking soccer.”
After just one training session, players are starting to notice a difference.
“I think it’s just about direction on the field,” said Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. “Not as much random actions, but he wants to set up patterns to where it's predictable for guys on the field. They know where their teammates are going to be and what they're going to do when they're on the ball or without it."
Fraser previously was head coach at Chivas USA from 2011-12, posting a 15W-32D-21L record there. He’s grown and reflected a lot since then, while winning silverware as an assistant with New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC.
“As you evolve, your ideas become more and more clear,” said Fraser. “I just think that more clarity in terms of how I want to attack, I think I've learned so much more, in dealing with players and personalities, and the league has changed a lot.
“After you deal with Thierry Henry, you’re pretty set to deal with most players,” he joked.
There’s no Henry in Colorado, but Fraser is nonetheless excited to work with the Rapids' young core.
“One of the biggest things was the desire to develop young talent is to take young players and take them from being good youth players to viable professional players who can who can handle themselves in this environment and beyond,” he said. “That's always been appealing to me.”