As the 2024 MLS SuperDraft approaches, the Rapids are preparing to use their six draft picks to bring some of the nation’s top young talent to the Colorado pitch. Recent years have seen great success stories come through the SuperDraft, including 23-year-old defender Moïse Bombito.
Bombito experienced a breakthrough year in 2023 despite an early injury setback in March. An MCL tear suffered during training before the Rapids’ home opener sidelined the defender for two months until he returned to the first-team pitch in Colorado’s matchup with Atlanta United in mid-May.
Those two months could have been detrimental to the rest of the Generation adidas player’s rookie season, stagnating his progress for months on end, but the Rapids’ busy May schedule, filled with MLS and Open Cup competitions, opened up the depth chart for the defender to break through and make an impact up on his return to play.
It was then that the “little fish, big pond” aspect of being an MLS rookie really came into play for the Montreal native—it was no longer preseason trainings and intrasquad scrimmages where he had to prove his worth, it was going up against veterans and big names in the league like Carlos Vela, Chicharito and Lucho Acosta.
Bombito’s coach at the University of New Hampshire, Marc Hubbard, warned his former player once he was drafted that the challenge was yet to come.
“’There’s going to be players that are bigger than you, players that are faster than you, so you just gotta be playing as you know the game, try to be as smart as them,’” Bombito recounted.
“’Try to learn from the greats, the veterans that are gonna be at your club. You got to learn from them, see how they operate, see how they view the game. It's just going to be a challenge, a journey, we just got to be up for it.’”
It wasn’t long until Bombito’s efforts on the club pitch were recognized by John Herdman and the Canadian Men’s National Team, with Herdman referencing similarities between Bombito and Canadian international greats like Ismaël Koné and Jonathan David during their younger days.
Bombito earned a call-up to the Concacaf Nations League Finals in June, appearing in all four of Canada’s Nations League games and recording 247 minutes during the tournament. His efforts in those four games, playing out of position as a defensive midfielder, gave the young player confidence for the remainder of the MLS season and propelled him to earning another call up in October for a friendly with Japan.
The only other 2023 SuperDraft pick to gain any international experience this season was Orlando City’s Duncan McGuire who was called up to the United States Men’s Olympic National Team for training camp in October.
Bombito capped off the club season with 11 appearances, 8 of them starts, and one assist to his name as a center back. This year, he has some advice for the potential draftees the Rapids acquire on December 19.
“Every training session, every film session throughout the whole season, it's going to be a learning experience for you. For you, just being in that environment and getting to see all those pro athletes perform day by day, it's a privilege. You just got to put your head down and just get ready and be able to learn all throughout the step of the way. I'd say just get your head down. Be proud because you did it, but you're not done yet. It's just the first step.”