Colorado Rapids Soccer Club announced today that it has signed Rapids Academy products Kortne Ford (University of Denver) and Ricardo Perez (Creighton University) as Homegrown Players. Ford and Perez become the fourth and fifth Homegrown Player signings in club history.
“We are thrilled to have Kortne and Richi officially join our first team. We have kept a close eye on both players after watching them develop through our Academy system, as well as at the collegiate level,” said Rapids Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni. “Kortne and Richi have shown a great deal of commitment and dedication to the Rapids family, and we look forward to continuing their progression on a daily basis here in Colorado.”
In 2016, Ford helped the Pioneers reach the program’s first-ever trip to a College Cup, while also finishing unbeaten during the regular season for the second consecutive year. Ford appeared in 23 matches (all starts) and guided a Denver defense that finished third in the nation in goals against average (0.52) and shutout percentage (0.58). In addition, the 6-foot-2 centerback found the back of the net five times, including game-winners against Saint Louis and at No. 3 Clemson in the NCAA Quarterfinal.
During his sophomore campaign in 2015, Ford made 19 starts, while helping the Pioneers register a 0.40 goals against average and a 0.63 shutout percentage, both second in the country. In his three seasons at the University of Denver, Ford was a two-time All-Summit League First Team selection and was a Top Drawer Soccer Second Team All-America in 2016. He appeared in 62 regular season games, notching five goals and three assists.
Ford, 20, came to the Rapids Academy in 2012 from Colorado Storm North Soccer Club. He would go on to play for the U-16 and U-18 teams before joining the Rapids Reserves during the 2013-14 seasons. Ford was also named to the 2012-13 U.S. Soccer Academy Starting XI for the Central Conference following a successful campaign with the U-16, in which the Rapids would advance to the USDA National Finals as one of the top eight teams in the nation.
In his final season at Creighton, Perez earned 2016 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year honors after helping the Bluejays to a 13-7-3 overall record. Registering four goals and five assists in all 23 contests, Perez was also selected to the All-BIG EAST First Team and the Top Drawer Soccer Postseason Top 100.
As a junior, Perez received 2015 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team and NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team honors after finishing third on the team in goals (6), including a tally in the Bluejays’ NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal match at Akron. Perez, 21, finished his collegiate career with 15 goals and nine assists in 88 games - the third-most matches played in program history.
The 5-foot-8 midfielder joined the Rapids Academy in 2008 at the U-14 level and played with the Rapids U-16 team in each of his first four seasons. Perez then moved up to play with the U-18 squad in his final two seasons. He was a part of the Rapids U-18’s which finished in sixth place at the 2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals.
TRANSACTION: Colorado Rapids – January 6, 2017 – Rapids sign defender Kortne Ford and midfielder Ricardo Perez as Homegrown Players.
Full Name: Kortne Ford
Birth Date: January 26, 1996
Birthplace: Olathe, KS
Hometown: Greeley, CO
Full Name: Ricardo Perez
Birth Date: May 30, 1995
Birthplace: Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
About Colorado Rapids Academy
The Rapids Academy was founded in 2007 as a part of Major League Soccer’s Homegrown Initiative. The Academy provides a professional player development structure that is fully integrated with the Rapids First Team. The Academy fields cost-free teams in the U-12, U-13, U-14, U-16 and U-18 age groups and competes in U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy as well as MLS specific events. For more information on the Colorado Rapids Academy please visit www.coloradorapids.com/youth.