The Colorado Rapids acquired midfielder Enzo Martinez from their USL affiliate Charlotte Independence on February 19, 2018. Martinez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay and moved to the United States when he was 10-years-old.
Here are three things to know about the 27-year-old midfielder…
1. He grew up in Uruguay's (soccer) capital.
The 5'7" midfielder grew up in Montevideo, the capital and largest city of Uruguay. Montevideo has a population of one million people and currently hosts 13 teams from the Uruguayan Football Association's (AUF) First Division. In Uruguay, soccer is a way of life.
"Uruguayans love football," Martinez said. "We die for it. I remember being outside everyday playing soccer after school, it's what everyone does. I built so much love for the game and continue to do so."
The attacking midfielder moved to the United States at the age of 10. "I feel like I had the best of both worlds," Martinez said about living in Uruguay and the United States. "I lived there (Uruguay) for my first 10 years and then moved here, so I got to experience two different cultures and take the best from each."
2. He won championships at both the high school and college level.
3. His MLS career began in the 2012 SuperDraft.
The 5'7" midfielder was the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 MLS SuperDraft to Real Salt Lake. Martinez did not see any MLS action during the 2012-13 season with RSL’s first team, but in April 2013 he was sent on a short-term loan to NASL club the Carolina RailHawks.
At the time, the Carolina RailHawks were in a three-way tie at the top of the NASL standings. Martinez appeared in 15 games that season, netting three goals, including the equalizer in his debut against Minnesota United FC that led to a 2-2 draw. Martinez rejoined Carolina during the 2014 season on a permanent basis, appearing in 21 games and was the runner up for goals scored that season. In March 2015, the attacking midfielder signed with Rapids USL affiliate, Charlotte Independence.
During his three seasons in Charlotte, Martinez led the club to back-to-back postseason appearances in 2016 and 2017, and scored 29 goals in 79 appearances. The midfielder tied for second in the USL Golden Boot race after scoring a career-high 16 goals during the 2017 campaign, doubling his 2016 mark. The Uruguayan earned two Best XI selections, and was nominated for two consecutive USL Most Valuable Player awards.
To date in his first season with the Rapids, the Uruguayan midfielder has played a total of 1239 minutes in 19 appearances with 13 from the start. He has also delivered two assists.