Colorado Rapids announced today that former striker and team captain John Spencer has joined the club’s technical staff as First Team Assistant Coach.
“This is a key addition to our coaching staff,” said Paul Bravo, VP of Soccer Operations and Technical Director. “In the offseason, we set out to find an experienced coach with an attacking background who could add a ‘new voice’. We believe we have our man. In addition, John knows Colorado, the Rapids and the League very well. We feel he is the ideal fit and we are delighted he has agreed to join us.”
Spencer, 45, returns to Colorado, where he spent four seasons, and will be reunited with former teammate and current Rapids Head Coach, Pablo Mastroeni. Spencer and Mastroeni played together from 2002-04.
During his first season with the Rapids, Spencer was named to the MLS Best XI, after notching 14 goals and seven assists in 22 matches. Two years later, Spencer was once again named to the MLS Best XI and was a finalist for the MLS MVP Award after leading the Rapids in scoring with 14 goals and five assists. In total, Spencer appeared in 88 matches, registering 37 goals for the Rapids.
In 2009, Spencer became the fourth player in Rapids history to be inducted into the Gallery of Honor. Spencer’s name was forever immortalized on the north wall of Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mastroeni became the fifth a few years later.
Spencer began his professional career in 1987 with Scottish side Glasgow Rangers, appearing in 12 matches, while adding three goals. His résumé also includes 103 appearances and 36 goals for Premier League side Chelsea, as well as stints with Queens Park Rangers, Everton and Motherwell.
Due to his success in English football, Spencer earned 14 caps for the Scotland National Team. His first appearance came in a 1-1 tie against Russia during the European Championship qualifiers in 1994. Spencer would be named to Scotland’s 22-man roster for the UEFA Euro 1996.
Upon retiring, Spencer joined Houston Dynamo as an assistant coach and served the club from 2006 to 2010. During his time with the Dynamo, Spencer won consecutive MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007. Following the 2010 season, he was selected as the Portland Timbers’ first ever Head Coach. Spencer finished with a record of 14-19-12 at the Timbers.
“John is a winner, that is why I wanted him as part of my coaching staff,” said Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni. “He’ll bring determination, steel and a striker’s eye to our preparations for the new season. It was also crucial to have someone who loves the club as much as I do. With John’s influence, and the other changes we’re making, I believe we’ll be a very different team in 2016."
The Rapids will begin preseason in late January with trips to San Diego, Sacramento and Tucson. The Rapids season starts on Sunday, March 6 on the road against San Jose Earthquakes, with the Home Opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, March 12. For more information or to purchase season tickets, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.