I was born in 1996 so Major League Soccer and the Colorado Rapids have literally been around my entire life, and we’re the same age! Born and raised in Colorado, I grew up cheering for all professional Colorado sports teams, but I found a passion for soccer. My parents didn’t know much about soccer but once I showed an interest in it at two years old, they made every effort to learn everything about the game. My dad became my youth coach and my mom was the team mom, with a typical soccer mom van and everything! My early memories are going to games at Invesco Field at Mile High and watching the likes of Pablo Mastroeni, Marcelo Balboa, and Kyle Beckerman when the team wore black and blue vertical striped jerseys. I still have my old blue and green Adidas ball from a Rapids game over ten years ago. My burgundy and blue mohawk hat and foam bear claw are both still up on my wall in my room next to the pennants from opening day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park a decade ago. My collection of Topps MLS cards from 5-10 years ago is so big that it still takes up a corner in my room. I remember saving my money to go to the team store in the stadium and buy a couple of packs at every game.
But the one specific moment that really solidified my obsession with the Colorado Rapids was the game on July 4th, 2006. My parents made it a tradition to go to the Rapids 4th of July game every year and for this particular holiday, my family from Ohio came in. Terry Cooke and Nicolas Hernandez were my two favorite players at the time, and seeing Cooke assist Nico after the long lightening delay lit up my fandom. And to culminate the night, my family and I got on the jumbotron at Invesco before the biggest fireworks show in Colorado.
Another big moment in turning me into a lifelong fan was the game against Seattle on April 22nd, 2011. I played club soccer all throughout my youth and my entire team was going as a team bonding trip. But what was special about this game was that we got to go down on the field before the game and hold the flags before kickoff, when that was still a thing. That moment of being able to reach down and touch the flawless grass and then look back up and take in the atmosphere as a kid was unparalleled in my life. And then of course the cannon blew out my eardrum walking off the field, like it seemed to do at every game. We were late getting to our seats and as we were walking down the stairs, I saw Brian Mullan tackle Steve Zakuani. The bone chilling sound of a bone literally breaking was so intriguing to me as a fourteen-year-old boy that I’m pretty sure I begged my parents to buy season tickets after that.
I’ve been a fan of the Colorado Rapids since I was born and I don’t even know a life without MLS or the Rapids. Now that I can drive, I can be seen pretty often at games with my younger brother. Writing on how I became a fan of the Colorado Rapids as a kid has made me reminisce on the past and recognize that the exact same thing is happening to my little brother as we’re chanting in the supporter sections along with Centennial 38.