The Colorado Rapids announced on Friday that 22-year-old defender Michael Edwards has been loaned to USL Championship club San Antonio FC for the 2023 season, pending Federation approval. According to the press release sent to media, Colorado will retain the right to recall Edwards back to the club during 2023, subject to MLS roster compliance guidelines.
Edwards initially joined Colorado in 2020 from VfL Wolfsburg’s youth setup, but the American hasn’t made a competitive appearance for the Rapids’ first team during his three-year stint with the club.
Colorado previously loaned Edwards to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC for the duration of the 2021 season, and the center back played in 12 of Rapids 2’s 24 matches in 2022. He joined the Switchbacks again towards the end of last season, and was a vital cog in the lower division team’s stretch run. Colorado initially declined the team option in Edwards’ contract at the end of 2022, but agreed to a two-year-plus-option contract extension in mid-January to keep him at the club.
Loaning Edwards shortly after extending his contract indicates that the Rapids still believe in Edwards’ future, but acknowledge that the team may not be able to get him the game time he needs to continue developing. While Edwards appeared in a handful of preseason matches for the club in 2023, the addition of Danish defender Andreas Maxsø as a Designated Player saw Edwards fall down a peg on the team’s depth chart.
Absolutely have to believe that the Rapids still have faith in Edwards' future. He signed a multi-year contract extension with an additional option in January, but is probably behind Andreas Maxsø, Danny Wilson, and Lalas Abubakar in the pecking order. https://t.co/AK6wUadPiR— Joseph Samelson (@jspsam) February 24, 2023
Colorado’s decision to loan Edwards to San Antonio FC—as opposed to Rapids 2 in MLS Next Pro—also supports the hypothesis that the level of play in MLS’s reserve league still lags behind the USL Championship. At 22, Edwards still has plenty of development runway remaining, and he’ll be set for consistent game time at one of the USL’s most ambitious clubs this year.
San Antonio finished first in the overall USL table last season before lifting the Western Conference title by defeating Edwards and the Switchbacks. SAFC went on to win the 2022 USL Championship Final over Louisville City FC to complete the lower division treble. Former Rapids homegrown defender Kortne Ford was the last Colorado player to join San Antonio on loan, and the Kansas native quickly became a fan favorite in the heart of Texas during the 2021 season.