On February 9, 2007, Arsenal FC and the Colorado Rapids of the USA’s Major League Soccer created a club-to-club partnership that established the Rapids as Arsenal’s official partner club in the United States.
As part of this commercial alliance, both clubs have entered into an agreement to explore international friendlies and preseason training sessions, joint player development programs, and best business practices between the two clubs.
The establishment of the Arsenal Center of Excellence at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (the Rapids’ home stadium) and the inception of Arsenal Summer Soccer Schools USA, which will be based from Colorado, also are also elements of the alliance.
Established in October of 1995, the Colorado Rapids in 2012 are entering their 17th MLS season at their home stadium, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the largest and most state-of-the-art soccer stadium and fields complex on Earth.
The Rapids bring the passion of the world’s most popular sport home to fans in and around the Rocky Mountains with a full schedule of matches March-October each year, in addition to hosting major international matches and events each season.
The 2010 MLS Cup winners have become one of the premier teams in Major League Soccer and have established themselves as a major player in the global game, recently forging an international club-to-club partnerships with CF Pachuca of the Mexican Premiera Division, in addition to their alliance with Arsenal FC.
Combining an exciting, fast-paced style of play with top quality international talent, the Rapids are creating a winning tradition. Off the field, Rapids staff and players have integrated themselves into their local Colorado community, leading the way among the state’s numerous sports teams by participating in a tremendous amount of local initiatives and causes.
Leading the helm of the team in 2012 is new head coach Óscar Pareja, who was introduced as the seventh head coach in Colorado Rapids history on January 5, 2012. Pareja assumes the head coach position having served five years as an assistant coach at FC Dallas. He brings with him 18 years of experience as a professional player in Colombia and MLS.
On the pitch for the Rapids, Pablo Mastroeni, long time team captain, former captain of the US Men’s National Team, has pledged his career to the Rapids, and returns for 2012 as the club’s most vocal and passionate leader.
Other notable players returning for 2012 are local Colorado product Conor Casey, the team’s all time top goalscorer, Jamaican international striker Omar Cummings, Japanese defender Kosuke Kimura, goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who spent the 2008 season with England’s Queens Park Rangers, and defender Drew Moor.
The Rapids continue to make great strides in attendance, selling out their 18,000 seat home stadium of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park regularly. Heading into their 17th MLS season in 2012, the Rapids will undoubtedly grow their per-game average attendance again this year.
Success on and off the field has made the Rapids one of the most appealing sporting attractions in Colorado. With a full schedule of games, community events, soccer tournaments, international exhibitions, youth tournaments and clinics year-round, the Colorado Rapids have become an integral piece of Colorado’s exciting and high profile sports and entertainment landscape, connecting especially with the state’s youth, families, and ethnic populations.
The Rapids and their parent company Kroenke Sports Enterprises have built a multi-million dollar soccer-specific stadium with Dick’s Sporting Goods Park that is the model for America and the world. The complex, which features 24-fully lit regulation size soccer fields in addition to the world-class stadium, serves as a mecca for the youth soccer players of Colorado, as well as a top training destination for international clubs and adult leagues here at home.
The Rapids are one of the 5 sports teams owned and operated by Kroenke Sports Enterprises, and the club’s owner, Stan Kroenke, who also owns a majority of shares in Arsenal FC. KSE’s other teams in Colorado include the Denver Nuggets (NBA), the Colorado Avalanche (NHL) and the Colorado Mammoth (NLL). KSE also own and/or operate several venues, including the Pepsi Center arena, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and downtown Denver’s historic Paramount Theater, in addition to their television network, Altitude Sports & Entertainment.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on the Rapids, visit the Official Website of the Rapids, www.ColoradoRapids.com.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 7 Sep 2009