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2013 Rapids Player Rating & Review - Shane O'Neill

One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2013 season was the quick rise of homegrown youngster Shane O'Neill.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

As we do every year, through the month of December we'll be doing ratings and reviews of every player who played even a slightly significant amount of minutes for the Colorado Rapids in 2013. We'll start from the goalkeepers and move our way up to the forwards. Today, we'll cover Shane O'Neill.

Name: Shane O'Neill
Number: 27
Appearances: 26 (2301 minutes)
Stats: Nothing tangible, but lots of wins with him in the squad

Homegrown players have been a shaky premise since the rule was introduced into Major League Soccer. For every success story like Bill Hamid or Russell Teibert, there have been six or seven less than impressive HGPs taking spots on rosters as well. 2013 was a very good year for homegrown players, with guys like Deandre Yedlin, Wil Trapp, Kellyn Acosta and our very own Shane O'Neill coming into their own.

Of those guys, O'Neill was one of the biggest surprises. He was a guy who was expected to be a back-up defensive midfielder on the roster after making a roster change from striker, the position he had played before getting signed to his homegrown deal back in 2012. The US U-20 team was giving him call-ups at center back though, and we were hinted at before the season that CB might be the position of his future, as well.

He took to the spot well. After a few early injuries, most notably the one to Diego Calderon, he was pushed into a starting spot and the Rapids went undefeated for a long string of games. Correlation doesn't equal causation, but his solid presence in the back certainly didn't hurt. While Dillon Powers was impressing with his calmness and intelligence in the midfield as a rookie, Shane was doing the same at the back. His name has even started to pop up in discussions about the US Men's National Team.

He still has some work to do, but that just makes it even more exciting to see what is to come.