coaches 2003

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Denver (Thursday January 30 2003) - The Colorado Rapids have finalized the coaching staff for the 2003 Major League Soccer season. Joining Head Coach Tim Hankinson’s staff is former Rapids defender Steve Trittschuh and retired MLS goalkeeper Mark Dougherty.

Trittschuh will join the team as the top assistant to Hankinson. The 37-year-old was an original member of the Colorado Rapids in 1996 and was selected in the third round of the inaugural MLS draft. After serving as team captain for three years Trittschuh was traded to the Hankinson-led Tampa Bay Mutiny in June of 1999. The new assistant coach brings plenty of experience to the team. In his six year MLS career Trittschuh started 151 of the 153 games he played in and recorded 19 goals from his central defense position. The veteran defender was also a member of the 1990 United States World Cup Team and has represented Team USA in 46 international games.

"I’m familiar with a lot of the players in the league and am very familiar with Tim having played for him said the former U.S. National Team member. "I know what he wants out of a team and what he wants out of individual players. Having played in the league I know how other teams play and how players are in the league and I think it’s an advantage I have in trying to pass that on the players on this team. As for leaving Colorado it allowed me to continue playing for another three years. I consider this place home now and I said that Colorado was the only place I would move back to and it’s all worked out for me now.

"Also new to the organization is Assistant Coach Mark Dougherty. In addition to assisting Trittschuh and Hankinson the former Columbus Crew net minder will also serve as the Rapids goalkeeper’s coach. Dougherty played six seasons in MLS and was the Tampa Bay Mutiny’s first pick and seventh player selected in the 1996 Inaugural MLS Draft. The Columbus Crew claimed the one time all-star in the first round of the 1997 Waiver Draft and he registered nearly all of the goalkeeping records for The Crew before retiring prior to the start of the 2002 season. Last year the 35-year old served as Assistant Coach to the Bowling Green University soccer team in Ohio. Dougherty is married and the couple has a son and daughter.

"I’m very excited to join such a quality organization said the new Rapids assistant. "This is a great opportunity for me. I have a history with Tim Steve and Paul Bravo who was my high school teammate. Colorado is a very desirable location to work and it’s always been a goal of our family to find a way here. I’m very excited to get started."

Hankinson is confident that the former MLS players will be a great asset to the team.

"Last year we gave up as many goals as any team in the league and Steve’s specialty has always been defending. I think he’ll add a lot to some of the young defenders we’ve got in the development of their game commented Hankinson on the value Trittschuh brings to the Rapids organization. "For me it’s very important that any time we can take the dedication and pride of players who have worn the jersey if they’re good viable candidates to be coaches then to keep them involved and recycle that Rapids blood back into the system and into the future young players."

The Rapids all time leading scorer and 2002 Assistant Coach Paul Bravo will remain with the team in a reduced role. Bravo 34 will assume additional responsibilities with local club team powerhouse Colorado Rush in addition to his duties with the Rapids coaching staff. Bravo and Dougherty also played on the same San Francisco Blackhawks team in the American Professional Soccer League prior to the start of MLS.

The Rapids began pre-season training this past Saturday at the Westminster Training Facility. The team will train in Colorado for two weeks before departing for Spring Training in Ft. Lauderdale. The team will practice in Florida for two weeks playing 8 preseason exhibition games including one at the Orange Bowl against the 2002 MLS Cup Champions Los Angeles Galaxy. The team will also travel to Mexico for two weeks in March and play five teams from Mexico’s First Division before returning to Denver.

The Rapids kick off the 2003 MLS season on Saturday April 12 against Landon Donovan and the San Jose Earthquakes at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Season tickets group packages and Flex Plan tickets are now on sale for 2003 regular season games. Individual game tickets will go on sale in February. For more information about the new Supporter Section or Rapids tickets please call 303-299-1599.