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Colorado Rapids exercise contract options on nine players

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The team is looking to build on the success of the 2016 season by keeping most of the roster intact.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids are clearly looking to improve upon this past season’s success. Yesterday, they picked up second and third round draft picks, and today announced that they are exercising contract options for nine players: goalkeeper John Berner, defenders Bobby Burling, Marc Burch, Dennis Castillo, Eric Miller, and Axel Sjöberg, midfielder Dillon Serna, and forwards Dominique Badji and Caleb Calvert.

Four players have re-signed for long-term deals: goalkeeper Zac MacMath, defender Jared Watts, and midfielders Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, and Marlon Hairston.

Five players are already under contract for the 2017 season: goalkeeper Tim Howard, defender Mekeil Williams, midfielder Dillon Powers, and forwards Kevin Doyle and Shkëlzen Gashi.

As expected, the Rapids have not exercised options on a few guys: defender Sean St. Ledger, midfielders Marco Pappa and Zach Pfeffer, and forward Conor Doyle. Jermaine Jones and Sébastien Le Toux are out of contract, and Le Toux is considered a free agent (though Jermaine seems to thinks he is, too). The press release said that the team may still be in discussion with some of these players about a possible return.

In a press release, Colorado Rapids President Tim Hinchey said, “We believe that we are in a fantastic position heading into the offseason, in which we will look to make additional roster improvements for next year. This core group of players will play a key role in our long-term plans and we are excited to build on the success achieved on and off the pitch in 2016.”

As of today, here is the 2017 Colorado Rapids roster:

Goalkeepers (3): John Berner, Tim Howard, Zac MacMath

Defenders (7): Marc Burch, Bobby Burling, Dennis Castillo, Eric Miller, Axel Sjöberg, Jared Watts, Mekeil Williams

Midfielders (5): Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin, Marlon Hairston, Dillon Powers, Dillon Serna

Forwards (4): Dominique Badji, Caleb Calvert, Kevin Doyle, Shkëlzen Gashi