When Ryan Madden joined the Colorado Rapids in June of 2017 as Sr. Director of Communications, he immediately worked towards bringing more transparency to the club. Since then, he’s actively answered questions on Twitter, asked how the team can be better on Reddit, and has been super helpful in improving media relations. But Ryan’s time with the Rapids has come to an end—he’s accepted a position as the Vice President of Communications and Public Relations with the USL.
Ryan has plenty of good memories from his time with the ‘Pids, though: “last-second wins, memorable away trips, Gordo celebrating shirtless in the stands, Tommy’s last second header versus Minnesota, Kellyn’s debut, Conor McGahey’s fourth of July outfits, Laurie Ford Day, Special Olympics, watching the faces of young kids light up when they meet Tim Howard, funny moments with front office staff, the pop-up player announcement, the Media Cup… they’re all moments I’ll take with me when I leave,” he explained.
When pressed to choose the one thing he’ll remember the most, Ryan said:
“It would be after home games would end – especially ones where we would get a positive result – and right after the final whistle I would go out on to the field to grab the Man of The Match and escort them over to C38 for the post-game oar presentation. Most of the time, especially this season, by the time we would get over to section 117, a small group of C38 supporters would have seen us walking over and as the oar presentation was going on, they’d start chanting my name and dancing up and down. Amazing. I can’t repeat the chant, of course, because there’s some NSFW language involved, but those moments, being out on the field after a good result, stadium buzzing, dancing around… yeah, I’ll remember those moments forever.”
Ryan’s new job in Tampa, Florida, is a big promotion in regards to both title and responsibilities. As head of communications for the entire USL, he will also act as a resource/consultant for all 40+ teams.
“While Nashville and Cincy are set to move to MLS, USL is growing like crazy,” Ryan continued, “welcoming new expansion markets in Chicago, Austin, Birmingham, El Paso, Hartford, Memphis, New Mexico, Loudoun, and Oakland.” The league is launching a Division III (D3) next season, so combined with division II and PDL, the USL will have three tiers. The league president is toying with the idea of promotion and relegation.
While MLS continues to grow and expand soccer in the US, Ryan believes that “the job USL is doing to bring professional soccer to communities who just a few years ago probably couldn’t have imagined the game being in their own backyard is also really special. The growth of soccer in America is a passion – I’m just looking forward to helping push the cause forward.”
It’s always difficult to leave people that you care about, and this is no exception. “Padraig, Wayne and Coach Hudson have been great,” Ryan said. “They recognize the opportunity and have been incredibly supportive. That’s one of the difficult parts about leaving though, knowing that there are such good people here and that this club is headed in the right direction.”
“To all the Colorado Rapids supporters and media I’ve met and spent time with over the last 14 months, I love y’all. Seriously. Soccer is a special game, and this is a special community. You’ve been nothing but kind and I want to say thank you – to all of you – for in some small way letting me be a part of your life. My family and I will miss this city, and this club, dearly.
We wish Ryan and his family all the best and he will be missed!