DU stal­wart Ford talks with Rapids

The Denver Post - - AROUND THE NFL - By Daniel Boni­face

Univer­sity of Den­ver cen­ter back Kortne Ford said he is in dis­cus­sion with the Rapids, but he de­clined to com­ment fur­ther about his plans for next year.

“We have a pretty good re­la­tion­ship, and I look for­ward to play­ing with them (the Rapids) in the fu­ture,” Ford said last week.

Ford, a 6-foot-2 ju­nior from Gree­ley Cen­tral, came up through the Rapids’ youth academy. He was a thee-year starter for the Pi­o­neers, help­ing them to back-to-back un­beaten reg­u­lar sea­sons in 2015-16.

“I’m bi­ased, but I haven’t seen a bet­ter cen­ter back come out of col­lege soccer here in five or six years,” Pi­o­neers coach Jamie Franks said. “That’s what we thought he could be, and he’s lived up to the ex­pec­ta­tions.”

Ford scored the gamewin­ning goal that sent the Pi­o­neers to their first-ever Col­lege Cup ap­pear­ance this month. It was one of five goals he scored this year.

“He wants to make this game a pro­fes­sion and that’s the way he ap­proaches it ev­ery day,” Franks said. “His men­tal­ity is spe­cial and he’s a tough kid.”

The Rapids have money to spend on home­grown sign­ings. In De­cem­ber 2015, MLS an­nounced it was pro­vid­ing $125,000 per sea­son, per club to sign home­grown play­ers to their sup­ple­men­tal ros­ter. The money can’t be rolled over year-to-year and it can’t be traded, a league spokesper­son said.

Asked on Sun­day if the Rapids had any home­grown sign­ings com­ing this week, a team spokesper­son said he didn’t have any news.

“He’s a piece that you can get ex­cited about with the Rapids,” Colorado de­fender Jared Watts said last week of Ford. “They’ve kind of brought him through the youth sys­tem and the academy team. Hope­fully maybe one day he’ll be a team­mate with me.”

Ford still has one year of NCAA el­i­gi­bil­ity and could opt to return to the Pi­o­neers, who were elim­i­nated from the Col­lege Cup on Fri­day in extra time by Wake For­est.

Rapids make moves.

The Rapids made a pair of moves, pick­ing up two draft picks and send­ing de­fender Joseph Greenspan to Min­nesota United.

Colorado picked up Min­nesota’s nat­u­ral third-round se­lec­tion (No. 45 over­all) in the 2017 MLS Su­perDraft in ex­change for Greenspan. The 6-foot-6, 24-year-old de­fender was se­lected with the No. 26 over­all pick in the 2015 Su­perDraft and ap­peared in four reg­u­larsea­son games for the Rapids while bal­anc­ing his com­mit­ment to the U.S. Navy.

The Rapids also ac­quired At­lanta United’s nat­u­ral sec­ond-round pick (No. 24 over­all) in ex­change for an in­ter­na­tional ros­ter spot for 2017-18.

Lo­cal player plays hero.

Andrew Ep­stein, a ju­nior from Fort Collins who came up through the Rapids’ youth academy, made a pair of div­ing stops and Corey Baird and Sam Werner scored Stan­ford’s fi­nal shootout goals to give the Car­di­nal its sec­ond straight Col­lege Cup ti­tle, 5-4 over Wake For­est af­ter the teams played 110 score­less min­utes.

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