The Colorado Rapids have reached an agreement with Belgian side Royal Antwerp F.C. for the transfer of defender Sam Vines, the club announced today.
“Sam has proven himself to be one of the top young players in MLS and this is the right moment for both him and the club to take this step,” said Pádraig Smith, Colorado Rapids Executive VP & General Manager. “His career progression and success at both club and international level is a testament to the investment our club has made in developing young talent and our ‘Drive to Youth’ philosophy. This philosophy is the foundation on which we will continue our march to consistently compete for trophies and we believe Sam’s journey can be a positive example for the next generation of young players in Colorado. We are incredibly proud of Sam and the player he has developed into, both with our club and with the U.S. Men’s National Team and wish him all the best in this next chapter of his career. We know he will make himself, his family and Colorado proud.”
Vines, 22, appeared in 53 MLS matches with Colorado, adding two goals and four assists, since making his debut on Oct. 21, 2018. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native originally joined the Rapids Academy at age 13 and rose through the academy’s ranks before signing a Homegrown Player contract in February 2018 at age 18. Vines is currently with the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) at the Concacaf Gold Cup, where he scored his first USMNT goal in a 1-0 win over Haiti to start group play. Vines is the first Rapids Academy product to be named to the USMNT for a senior international tournament.
In his first full season in MLS in 2019, Vines made a career-high 26 appearances, earning a place on the MLS 22 Under 22 list. His performances earned him his first call-up to the USMNT in January 2020 and he became the first Rapids Academy product to start a match for the USMNT in a 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020.
Vines followed his debut season by being the only Rapids player to play all 1,620 minutes of the 2020 regular season, adding the first goal and three assists of his MLS career as Colorado reached the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. He was named to the MLS 22 Under 22 for a second consecutive year and was voted Defensive Player of the Year by Centennial 38, the Rapids’ organized supporters’ group. Vines was called up to the USMNT camps in December 2020 and January 2021, starting both friendly matches against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago.
Royal Antwerp is the oldest club in Belgium and competes in the Belgian First Division A. The club finished in second place in 2020, qualifying for the playoff round of the UEFA Europa League, Europe’s second international club competition.
TRANSACTION: Colorado Rapids transfer defender Sam Vines to Royal Antwerp F.C. on August 5th, 2021.