COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Thursday, January 5, 2012) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Thursday that Oscar Pareja has been named the Head Coach of the Major League Soccer franchise. The native of Medellín, Colombia has served more than five years on the coaching staff at FC Dallas and made 189 appearances in his MLS career, as well as earning 11 caps with the Colombian National Team.
“I am honored to join such a great organization like the Colorado Rapids, and want to thank everyone at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment for the opportunity.” said Pareja. “This is a dream come true, and I am excited to get started at the Player Combine this weekend and the SuperDraft next week. We already have a great team and everyone is optimistic about what we can achieve this season and beyond. I also want to express my most sincere thanks and gratitude to Clark and Dan Hunt and everyone at the FC Dallas organization, who have all played a huge part in my career and life since 1998.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Oscar to the club,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “He was an exciting, attacking player who has also earned a lot of respect as a coach. His accomplishments at both the youth and professional levels show that he can be successful in the short term while building for the future. This is an exciting moment for the future of the Rapids.”
Pareja joins the Rapids from FC Dallas, where he was the club’s Reserve Team Coach and Academy Director, helping develop one of the top youth academies in the country. He originally joined FC Dallas as an assistant coach from 2005-07, and also served as an assistant coach for the United States Under-17 National Team in 2007-08.
Under Pareja, the FC Dallas youth system has contributed six players to the first team, more than any other MLS club. As head coach of Dallas’ Under-18 Team, Pareja was named Development Academy Coach of the Year in 2009, and the FC Dallas Academy was ranked first out of the top 78 youth clubs in the country in 2011.
Pareja enjoyed a distinguished 18-year professional playing career prior to joining the coaching ranks, playing in Dallas from 1998-2005 and earning MLS Best XI honors in 2002. He started his professional career in 1987 with Independiente Medellín in his hometown. He transferred to Deportivo Cali in 1995 and helped lead the club to the league championship in 1996, the club’s first in 22 years.