Commerce City, Colo. – Colorado Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo confirmed to ColoradoRapids.com that the club received transfer offers for forward Omar Cummings from Club Necaxa of Mexico’s First Division during the summer. The Rapids turned down the offers, preferring to keep Cummings rather than accept the transfer fees.
Cummings sat down with ColoradoRapids.com to discuss the transfer opportunity:
Tell us how you learned about the interest from Necaxa of Mexico’s First Division?
“A week before I officially learned of the interest, one of our players, (Chris) Sharpe, said, ‘Omar I hear that you’re going to Mexico.’ I had not heard anything, and he said he’d read it on some website. I didn’t think anything of it.
“The Sunday after we played the game against Houston (June 26), when we were coming back, I was approached by a guy at the airport. He said he came to watch me from the Mexican club, and came to personally ask me specifically if I would ever want to go play in Mexico. Because they could basically make an offer, going through MLS, but then what if I still didn’t want to go? So he personally wanted to know if I would be willing to play in Mexico.
“I said, ‘yes, I would be willing to play in Mexico.’
“He told me he’s from that club (Necaxa), that they had been in contact with MLS, and they had been looking at me for some time, and that they would very much like to add me to their roster for next season. He said that’s all he wanted to know, and then said, ‘See you in the next few weeks, in Mexico.’
“The next day, I texted my agent and asked if he had heard anything about this guy that approached me. He got in touch with MLS and it was for sure. The team had made a bid to MLS and Colorado, but so far they (MLS / Rapids) didn’t think it was good enough, but it was on-going.
“They made another bid, and the process was on-going until they (Necaxa) decided to go a different way.”
Had you thought about playing internationally before this opportunity was presented?
“Growing up, the only league that was showing on TV was the English Premier League. As I grew, the other leagues got more popular – the Italian league, the Spanish league, and MLS, and Mexico. So you look at leagues and you think, “Yeah I would like to play there. I would love to match myself against those guys.
“The same thing goes on when MLS teams play European clubs or whatever the case may be, South American clubs. You want to match yourself against that type of play, that type of league. It would be fun to see yourself playing in one of the top leagues in the world.”
How do you feel as a player knowing that other teams are interested in you?
“As a player I think that’s always good. It’s always good to know that there’s interest in you – it means you are doing something good. If you’re not doing anything good, then no team would be after you.
“So as a player, personally, it’s always good to know there is interest for you as a player. It gives you a lift to be a better player; to know that what I’m doing is working.”
Were you back and forth as far as the opportunity and wanting to stay in Colorado?
“I love Colorado and I love MLS, but I’m open to new options. I’m young and for me to go play somewhere else, if there was a time, I think now would be the time for me to do that. If I could come back to MLS, I think that would be great. I think for me, and the time in my life, if I would want to go play somewhere else, I think the time would be now.”
Were you disappointed with the outcome?
“It’s kind of mixed. I think it would have been a decent opportunity. I think it would have been exciting; it would have been an adventure for me. So part of me would want to see what I would have done.
“I think I’ve had success almost everywhere I’ve gone to – from club teams to college to here – so I think that would be another step in my life. I don’t know, but it would have been interesting.”
In saying that, you are still here. How do you view that?
“For me as a player, my attitude towards my game and the Rapids, is ‘It’s here and now.’ That (transfer) didn’t happen; ok, it’s gone. It’s out of my hands.’
“It’s the here and now, and the next thing is the next game, and hoping to make the playoffs and hoping to win the MLS Cup, and to win championships for this club. For me, there is nothing else. It’s here, and now, and whatever you do now will affect you in the future.”
Do you understand the business side of why a team would want to keep you?
“Definitely. You definitely look at it from all points of view. For me I had no say in it at that point. And when you sign a contract, and are under contract with a club, they are going to see whether it was best for them to weigh the options to keep me or let me go with whatever fees the team was offering."
The Rapids could have but didn’t want to accept the transfer fee for you. They saw more value in you being able to help the team…
“For sure, the coaches and the front office and my teammates, and everybody, they let me know that – that I am valued within the team and they want to have me around. But that they are not going to hold me back if they see a fair opportunity where both myself and the club would benefit.”
So has your mindset changed at all since this development?
“For me, I think I’ve seen players where they get distracted by other things. For me, everything I do is from here on.
“If I don’t do well here, and my mind is somewhere else, and it takes away from my game – then whoever is watching is going be, ‘Well, I don’t know. He looks like he’s off his game; he’s not playing as well.’
“So for me, and for any player, I think, if you’re here, have your mind on one track - do well in your next game.”
How do you evaluate yourself, knowing the Rapids value you and other teams do too?
“In some ways I’ve been disappointed with myself, but in a lot of ways I’ve grown as a player.
“Each year I think I’ve gained experienced and done more for the club. But the club has also given me more responsibilities, as one of the more attacking players – to be that player to score goals, and get assists; to be a leader in the team. So I think things are going well. I’m improving each year.”
“I’ve disappointed myself with the goals I’ve set for myself and I haven’t reached them. Even last year, I think I had some success but I was still disappointed – very disappointed – not to make the playoffs.
“So for me, even if I don’t get as many goals or assists this year, I would absolutely love to make the playoffs for the first time in my MLS career. And then anything goes from there.”