Rapids front office mainstay Paul Bravo has earned himself a promotion, contract extension and job title that may be better suited for a Commander of a U. S. Army Special Forces Group. On Wednesday, the club announced that he was elevated to "VP of Ops and Technical Director." Bravo also inked a three year agreement that will keep him circling both the globe and training fields at Dick's, along with partners' clubs and college campuses, in hopes of identifying suitable prospects for the Rapids brand of soccer.
As Vice President of Soccer Operations and Technical Director, Bravo's long to-do list includes being in charge of all aspects of the operation of the first team, Rapids Academy programming, relationships with the Rapids adidas Alliance clubs, and all scouting here in the U.S. and internationally.
He was first named the club's Technical Director at the start of the 2009 campaign, and considered by many as the architect of the 2010 Rapids team that raised the Tiffany and Co. sterling silver MLS Cup in celebration after winning MLS Championship at BMO Field in Toronto.
"I have always loved being here in Colorado and at the Rapids, and now is an especially exciting time for the club," said Bravo. "I am very appreciative to the Kroenke family and everyone at the company for their support, and I consider it a true honor to receive this promotion. We are all working hard on this project and looking forward to more growth in the next few years."
Bravo is also first author of the Rapids master plan. The team has embarked on a youth movement and employs a "full-club" philosophy where prospects, whether from within the Academy ranks, or from outside of the club, are systematically measured against criteria that the entire organization has bought into. Additionally, he has greatly influenced the Rapids possession-first, go-on-attack style of play that was especially evident last season.
Rapids President Tim Hinchey said of Bravo, "His leadership has seen us establish a style of play, identity and strategy for growth that will sustain the club for years to come, building talent and depth from youth levels through our first team."
After the Rapids parted ways with Head Coach Gary Smith, Bravo brought in like-minded Oscar Pareja to be his El Generalito. Pareja began to implement the plan's play style piece, and although he took up an offer he could not refuse and returned to the Big-D, he left the team in a splendid spot for newly promoted Pablo Mastroeni to follow through on the evolving transition project.
When asked why Pablo is the absolute right choice to lead the team, Bravo was happy to wax lyrical about how well he fit the direction of the club:
"When we chose a new path in 2012, we talked often about the direction of the club from the academy, through to the first team with Pablo due to his status as the captain. A lot of those conversations were about getting his feedback on the type of club we wanted to, knowing all along that he would eventually have a role to play well after his playing days. He saw the implementation of the project while he was still playing and understood what we trying to build. I am a firm believer that it was going to be important that guys who have poured blood, sweat and tears in bringing credibility to our club will be instrumental in maintaining that credibility and for lack of a better term, have a chip on their shoulder about not settling for mediocrity."
Bravo added, "Pablo has a great deal of passion for this club and believes wholeheartedly in the project because he was instrumental in helping us build this project. He sees the game the same way we want to play, understands the community, and is well respected within our company, club and fan base. He believes in the idea of building through the academy, how important player development is, and the role of the college player since that is how he got his start.
Pablo has been a huge part of this club and the fabric of our community. We are truly excited for him and what he has to offer!"