2018.04.26_JackPrice_USA
Ron Chenoy / USA Todays Sports

MLSSoccer.com: They call me 'Shropshire Pirlo': Jack Price off to strong start

He’s no Andrea Pirlo, but Colorado Rapids midfielder Jack Price has plenty of supporters back home who will try to convince you otherwise.

Known for his passing ability and vision, the 25-year-old native of Shrewsbury, England earned the nickname “Shropshire Pirlo,” a tongue-in-cheek nod to both his play and humble West Midlands roots.

“They obviously see me as a bit of a Pirlo from Shropshire and I’m just happy to be in the same name as Pirlo, really,” he laughed.

Like the “other” Pirlo, the bearded Price decided to take a crack at MLS. After spending the entirety of his career with Wolverhampton of the English Championship, Price made the decision to sign with Colorado in the offseason. It was a tough call, but for the Englishman, it was the right one.

“It was tough, being at Wolves for all my career, really. But it was time to move on,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “I hadn’t played in a lot of games for the past couple of years there. Coming here, the gaffer told me I was going to play and that was the main reason. It was a long way, but getting game time was key for me.”

In Colorado, he’s become a key piece, starting all six of the Rapids' MLS games and both of their Concacaf Champions League matches, while contributing a goal and two assists along the way.

“I think Jack is incredibly important for us on quite a few levels,” Rapids coach Anthony Hudson said. “When we started the recruitment process, we were clear on how I wanted the team to play and the position that he plays is vital. He suits how we want to play and we see in the performances he’s getting stronger and stronger.”

While a necessary career move, Price’s breakup with Wolves wasn’t a bitter one. Since the move, he’s been happy to see his former club’s recent promotion to the Premier League.

“It’s great for the club,” Price said. “It’s a great club with big ambition and especially the last couple of years they’ve really gotten behind the players and staff. The fans as well; they’ve got a great fan base there. I’m really pleased for them.”

Price has been part of a recent exodus of players from the English Championship to MLS, including Rapids teammates Joe Mason (Wolverhampton) and Tommy Smith (Ipswich Town), as well as Sporting Kansas City striker Johnny Russell (Derby County), who earned Alcatel MLS Player of the Week for his hat trick in a 6-0 win against Vancouver last weekend.

“I know him really well playing against him when he was with Derby and he’s a great player,” Price said of his Scottish rival. “He’s one nobody wants to be marking because he’s really quick and sharp. He’s settled in really well, but when we play him in a couple of weeks, hopefully he won’t do anything like that.”

Both Price and Russell have settled into their new environments with apparent ease, but the Rapids midfielder points out that soccer in America has provided a proper challenge.

“Honestly, until you come out here, you don’t realize how high the standard is. I’d say [MLS] is just as good as the top sides in the Championship that I’ve played for,” Price explained. “It’s a lot higher than people give it credit for.”

He’s set to face another quality side as Colorado prepare to host Orlando City SC Sunday (2:00 PM | TICKETS). The goal remains the same.

“Three points,” said Price. “That’s just the way it is. We’re trying to win every game, home or away.”

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