There are a handful of players to have had second spells at the Colorado Rapids, notably club legend Chris Henderson, current assistant coach Wolde Harris, as well as MLS Cup-winning defender Drew Moor, goalkeeper Clint Irwin and striker Dominique Badji.

This weekend we can add the name of Scottish winger Sam Nicholson to that list. He is available for selection following his return to Colorado from English club Bristol Rovers.

On his first go around, Nicholson managed four goals and six assists in 48 appearances, stretching from May 2018 to the home opener of the Covid-affected 2020 season.

During his time in Bristol, which is 120 miles west of London, he suffered relegation from and then promotion to League One of the English Football League. In his time with the English outfit, he scored 14 goals in 75 appearances across all competitions, and played under Joey Barton, a former fiery midfielder with clubs such as Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, and Marseille.

Rapids fans will recall the fleet-of-foot tricky winger, eager to collect the ball and run at defenders, testing, and teasing, dodging and darting one way and the other. But Nicholson has had to adapt his game to the rigors of the lower leagues in England, which can be relentless in their physicality.

The Rapids announced on June 17 that they had re-signed Nicholson, now 27. Not only does he return a wiser player, but he is now also a father after girlfriend Teigan gave birth to a baby boy last July.

“It’s amazing,” he said of becoming a parent. “It definitely changes you. Lack of sleep’s not great, but I’m really enjoying it. I love being a dad.”

Sam and Teigan returned to the U.K. just as lockdown came into force across the United States, in the early months of 2020. The pair return with a little bundle of joy in tow, and Nicholson is desperate to add to his numbers on the field as well.

“I’m looking to contribute a bit more in terms of goals and assists than I did the last time,” he admitted.

“I know I had a different role in terms of looking for assists last time I was here, (but) I want to contribute in any way I can.”

Nicholson was rather humbled that a club which initially brought him in from MLS rivals Minnesota monitored his form even when he had returned to Britain and maintained a keen interest in him. That has only served to make him more determined to make a greater impact second time around.

For Nicholson, the minimal turnover of players since his previous time with the club made that second first day in the locker room far easier than it may have been otherwise.

He said: “Even when I was back home, I still had a great relationship with a lot of the boys here. I was still messaging quite frequently with them.

“I haven’t been nervous in a while because I hadn’t had a game in a while, since May, but I was a little nervous on my first morning back but as soon as I walked into the locker room and saw the boys, all my nerves disappeared, and I was just excited.”

Nicholson’s last competitive game was for Bristol Rovers on May 7 when he replaced Trevor Clark for the final 19 minutes of the final game of the League Two season. Rovers – nicknamed the Pirates – snatched automatic promotion in the most dramatic fashion. In defeating a youthful Scunthorpe United 7-0, they were promoted without the need of the playoffs courtesy of goals scored.

His second stint in Britain ended with the stuff of fairytales. Nicholson – and the Rapids faithful – will hope his second stint in burgundy is equally memorable.