"This is a good opportunity for Dillon to test himself alongside quality players and, we believe, another indication of our ability to develop talent. We wish Dillon the best of luck." This was spoken by Colorado Rapids VP of Soccer Operations and Technical Director Paul Bravo.
So at the fan forum, he was one of the players they could see as a cornerstone of the team for years to come. But now, we see that Dillon Powers going on a two-week trial to Reading FC as a positive for the Colorado Rapids, evidence of how they develop young talent.
Which is it?
I fear that the Rapids will not have any more legends in the near future. Pablo Mastroeni is a legend. Why? He played with the team for 12 years and amassed 225 appearances. Drew Moor is next in line, having come to the team from FC Dallas in 2009, and amassing 176 appearances as a Rapid.
Yet, the trajectory that the Rapids are setting now, we will not see this again for a while. Bravo sees Powers on trial at Reading FC a feather in his developmental cap? As a fan, I struggle to see it this way. I want to know that the best players we have will stay for 8-10 years, spending the money necessary to keep them. I do not want a pattern of seeing our good players' shirts and jerseys in the clearance rack because they are no longer a Colorado Rapid.
A bit of reality: has Powers moved on to Reading FC? As of November 9, 2015 at 9:13 PM MST, no. He still wears burgundy. What about by November 20th or 21st? I'll say this: if he moves to Reading, I now have a favorite Championship team (for he'll join fellow American Danny Williams on the team). Yes, I like Dillon. My heart broke for him when he missed that potential game-winning penalty against Real Salt Lake. Yes, I believe he was shaken for a few games after that.
But there's no denying that he has skills and at 24, he has a long career ahead of him, barring any injury. And, yes, both personally and professionally, I believe this would be a tragedy to let him go when he's proven he can play, while allowing other personnel to stay when they have proven the opposite.
Yes, I'm a fan. I'm not in their minds and I'm not in the meetings. I don't claim to know the whole picture. But we lost a two-time 10+ goalscorer in Deshorn Brown. We couldn't keep Shane O'Neill. I'm still stung by the loss of Marvell Wynne (strong, fast, and played much of 2014 out of position). Now this. And it's not simply that he's looking, but that it's seen as a positive for the Rapids at how they develop talent.
When I hear comments like that from the head of soccer operations, it seems like it's more about how they look rather than how they might let a good-to-potentially great talent get away. I want to hear, "We said that Dillon Powers could be the cornerstone of our franchise, and we'll do all we can to make sure he stays in burgundy." But no! "Look at us--we can develop young players!"
Then we become the world's Triple-A team.
Please! Please don't set that trajectory. Keep young players. Develop them here. Build around them. Construct some legends that we can watch and tell our grandkids, "I saw him play 17x a year."
Let's make that happen!