Rapids Sign Second Cuban in MLS History Forward Alberto Delgado

DENVER CO (06-30-04)- The Colorado Rapids announced today the signing of Cuban forward Alberto Delgado to a multiyear deal with MLS.

(To check out Delgado's bio page click here: )

Delgado was able to sign with Tim Hankinson’s squad as a replacement for Senior International Liberian forward Zizi Roberts who will undergo a season-ending knee surgery. Delgado joins his fellow countryman Rey Ángel Martínez to become the first two Cuban-born players to ever sign with an MLS club. Details of Delgado’s contract were not made public per MLS policies.

The team also waived defender Adrian Cann. The transitional international who had played eleven minutes with the Black and Blue since being selected by the team in the second round (16th overall) in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft on January 16 2004 was set to become a senior international at the end of the season.

Delgado who joins his childhood friend Martinez in the Rapids lineup played most of his soccer career in Cuba with amateur side Ciudad de la Habana. He led his team to conquer the 1998 Cuban championship netting 16 goals for the squad and taking home the goalscoring champion trophy.

As well as Martínez Delgado played a key part in the 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 runner up performances of club Ciudad de la Habana. Since starting his playing career in Cuba Delgado has always worn his mother’s last name (Perez) on the back of his jersey. He will continue to do so in MLS.

Before his defection from the Cuban National team that caused national headlines in February 2002 during the CONCACAF Gold Cup held in Los Angeles California Delgado was considered the most dangerous player in the Cuban squad. He played a key role in the team’s performances during international tournaments such as the 1999 Pan American Games the Copa Caribe in 1998 and the 2002 Gold Cup. He defended the Cuban colors with the Under-17 Under-23 and full national team from 1998 to 2002.

Delgado is expected to make his MLS and Rapids regular-season debut on Wednesday June 30 when the Rapids take on the MetroStars at Giants Stadium at 5:30 p.m. (MT).

Zizi Roberts who signed with the Rapids on February 26 2003 played three games with the team that season before being sidelined with a torn MCL for more then 12 weeks. The "2003 Liberian Player of the Year" opted at the time to attempt a conservative curse of treatment which included bracing and rest as opposed to surgical repair. So far in the 2004 season Zizi made 5 appearances for the Rapids scoring 1 goal and will now undergo knee surgery that will effectively keep him out of the Rapids' lineup through the end of the season.

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