2017 roster won’t be completely reshaped after successful season Rapids looking ahead
In recent years, the Rapids have undergone wholesale roster churn during the offseason but following an appearance in the Western Conference championship this year, Colorado has opted to keep the core of its team mostly intact.
The Rapids on Monday announced they are picking up contract options on nine players, declining the options on four other players, and signing five players to long-term deals.
Colorado declined options for midfielders Marco Pappa and Zach Pfeffer, defender Sean St. Ledger and forward Conor Doyle. Pappa appeared in 20 regular-season games for Colorado (10 starts) notching two goals and four assists. Doyle saw limited action in 2016, while St. Ledger and Pfeffer did not appear.
“Despite not picking up their options, the club will remain in discussions with some of the players about a possible return,” Rapids president Tim Hinchey said in a news release.
Midfielders Jermaine Jones and Sebastien Le Toux are both out of contract, with Le Toux eligible for MLS free agency. Jones is free to sign with any club outside of MLS, but the Rapids retain his rights within MLS and could trade his rights or re-sign him.
The Rapids picked up options on goalkeeper John Berner, defenders Bobby Burling, Marc Burch, Dennis Castillo, Eric Miller and Axel Sjöberg; midfielder Dillon Serna; and forwards Dominique Badji and Caleb Calvert.
Colorado also announced Monday it signed five players to “long-term” deals: Goalkeeper Zac MacMath, defender Jared Watts, midfielders Micheal Azira, Sam Cronin and Marlon Hairston. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.
“We believe that we are in a fantastic position heading into the offseason, in which we will look to make additional roster improvements for next year,” Hinchey said. “This core group of players will play a key role in our long-term plans and we are excited to build on the success achieved on and off the pitch in 2016.”
The Rapids already had five players under contract for 2017: Goalkeeper Tim Howard, defender Mekeil Williams, midfielder Dillon Powers, and forwards Kevin Doyle and Shkëlzen Gashi.
The Rapids currently have 19 players under contract heading into 2017 and were able to protect 11 of them, plus homegrown players, in Tuesday’s MLS expansion draft. The Rapids could lose up to one player to either Minnesota United or Atlanta United, which join the league in 2017. Here’s the list, released by the MLS on Monday, of the players protected and unprotected:
Current Rapids roster
Goalkeepers (3) John Berner, unprotected Tim Howard, protected Zac MacMath, protected Defenders (7) Marc Burch, unprotected Bobby Burling, unprotected Dennis Castillo, unprotected Eric Miller, protected Axel Sjöberg, protected Jared Watts, unprotected Mekeil Williams, unprotected Midfielders (5) Micheal Azira, protected Sam Cronin, protected Marlon Hairston, protected Dillon Powers, protected Dillon Serna, protected Forwards (4) Dominique Badji, protected Caleb Calvert, protected Kevin Doyle, protected Shkëlzen Gashi, protected
Not currently on roster
F Conor Doyle, unprotected M Jermaine Jones, unprotected M Sebastian Le Toux, unprotected M Marco Pappa, unprotected M Zach Pfeffer, protected M Juan Ramirez, unprotected D Sean St. Ledger, unprotected
Marco Pappa may not be back with the Rapids in 2017 after the team declined his option. Michael Reaves, The Denver Post