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OFFICIAL: Sam Vines joins Belgian side Royal Antwerp

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MLS: FC Dallas at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports


The Rapids have announced that the club have reached an agreement with Belgian side Royal Antwerp F.C. for the transfer of defender Sam Vines, 22.

“Sam has proven himself to be one of the top young players in MLS and this is the right moment for both him and the club to take this step,” said Pádraig Smith, Colorado Rapids Executive VP & General Manager. “His career progression and success at both club and international level is a testament to the investment our club has made in developing young talent and our ‘Drive to Youth’ philosophy. This philosophy is the foundation on which we will continue our march to consistently compete for trophies and we believe Sam’s journey can be a positive example for the next generation of young players in Colorado. We are incredibly proud of Sam and the player he has developed into, both with our club and with the U.S. Men’s National Team and wish him all the best in this next chapter of his career. We know he will make himself, his family and Colorado proud.”


Since Sam Vines was signed to a professional contract with the Colorado Rapids in 2018, there have been talks about him being sold to a European side. As early as his first offseason, the homegrown left back was training with fellow Coloradoan Cole Bassett Bundesliga’s Freiburg. As the 22-year-old has been gaining playing time with the U.S. Men’s National Team — including scoring the game’s only goal in a recent Concacaf Gold Cup match — it seemed like only a matter of time before the young player made a move.

And so when The Athletic broke the rumor today that the Rapids are closing in on a deal to sell the defender, it’s unlikely anyone was surprised.

According to Sam Stejskal and Jeff Rueter, Vines is heading to the Belgian First Division club Royal Antwerp. I’ve also independently confirmed that the deal is close to being done.

The transfer fee could reportedly be as high as $2 million including incentives and the Rapids would retain “a sell-on percentage of his rights.” The Rapids would keep 100% of the homegrown’s transfer fee and can use up to $1,050,000 if that fee as GAM. Transfermrkt lists Vines’ value as $3.3 million.

The club signed Vines to a 4-year contract extension in March 2021. When the extension was announced, Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Padraig Smith told The Gazette that “There have been a number of clubs that have been interested in him. I think, again credit to Sam, he wants to go at the right time” and added “He’s got real aspirations, and I think he understands that he can continue to develop here and can continue to play at the highest levels here. And then when the right opportunity emerges, we can all look at that and make the right decision at the time.”