Paul Bravo has probably done a little of everything for the Colorado Rapids. From 1997 to 2001 he was a player, and a good one. Bravo was a three-time MLS All-Star and scored a total of 39 goals and added 22 assists in 135 regular season games with the Rapids. He was assistant coach in 2002 and 2003. After a stint in LA with the LA Galaxy and UCLA Bruins, he rejoined the team in 2009 as Technical Director, and was integral to identifying players and building the Rapids team we saw on the field, in the good times and the bad, for the past seven years. But now he’s leaving.
The Rapids sent out a press release late Friday announcing the departure, which is effective immediately. No reasons were given as to why Bravo decided to leave. No plan or time table was announced regarding a replacement.
The timing of the announcement certainly is less-than-ideal. The MLS Combine begins this Sunday, January 8, and although it is likely the Rapids have already made many of their 2017 SuperDraft plans, it would have been beneficial to have Bravo’s eyes and ears at the combine. In addition, Bravo’s experience in negotiating and his contacts would also have been of use during the now-open January transfer window.
The Rapids front office will certainly carry on in the short term with the capable staff they have: Claudio Lopez, Padraig Smith, Pablo Mastroeni, John Spencer, and Brian Crookham are all experienced MLS hands. Steve Cooke, Marcelo Balboa and Chris Martinez, who all hold roles with the Academy, certainly can also be valuable in the short term.
It is impossible to speculate who potential candidates might step in to Bravo’s position. It is certainly that, as a successful player, coach, and technical director, Bravo leaves some mighty big shoes to fill.