Head coach Oscar Pareja directs the Colorado Rapids during a preseason training session on the campus of the University of Hawaii on Feb. 21, in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Doug Pensinger/Getty)
- Aug 27:
- Colorado Rapids look to cultivate fan base
- Feb 26:
- Rapids re-sign midfielder Jaime Castrillon
- Jan 21:
- Rapids' Jaime Castrillon injured and on transfer block, Pareja says
- Jan 12:
- Diego Calderón, defensa del seleccionado ecuatoriano, llega a los Rapids
- Jan 3:
- El defensor Diego Calderón, del seleccionado ecuatoriano, llega a los Rapids
- Rapids sign defender Diego Calderon, veteran of Ecuador's national team
- Jul 10:
- Colorado Rapids out of MLS playoff picture, but taking form at midpoint
- Jun 27:
- Rapids' front office says re-signing core veterans key for the future
- Jun 3:
- Rapids feeling effects of head hits as concussions get more MLS scrutiny
- May 29:
- Colorado Rapids knock off Tampa Bay in U.S. Open Cup third round
- May 24:
- Colorado Rapids' Conor Casey, Omar Cummings still slowed by injuries
- May 19:
- Colorado Rapids rally from two down for tie with Sporting KC
- May 18:
- Rapids re-sign forward Omar Cummings
- May 17:
- Brian Mullan not the scorer he once was, but still a big asset for the Rapids
- May 14:
- Premier League's Swansea City coming to Dick's in July
- May 6:
- Castrillon, Rivero lift Rapids past FC Dallas
- May 2:
- Sene, Cardenas score to lead Revs past Rapids 2-1
- Apr 28:
- Rapids get crucial MLS victory over Chivas USA, Conor Casey returns
- Rapids eye Chivas' Juan Pablo Angel
- Apr 26:
- Rapids sign Brazilian forward Edu
- Delantero brasileño Edu jugará para Rapids en la MLS
- Apr 24:
- MLS commissioner says Rapids an example of U.S. soccer's competitive balance
- Apr 21:
- David Beckham provides thrills as Los Angeles Galaxy defeats host Colorado, 2-1
- Rapids on Saturday: Los Angeles at Colorado
- Apr 19:
- Soccer still brings out the little boy in David Beckham
- Apr 18:
- David Beckham planning to play vs. Rapids this weekend
- Apr 11:
- Rapids' Conor Casey likely to return next week vs. L.A. Galaxy, he hopes
- Apr 6:
- Rapids coach Oscar Pareja has a lot in common with Salt Lake counterpart
- Apr 2:
- Cummings ayuda a Rapids a vencer 2-0 al Fire
- Apr 1:
- Rapids defeat Chicago Fire 2-0, thanks to two newcomers
- Mar 31:
- Rapids' Martin Rivero likely to play first game Sunday
- Mar 25:
- Rapids' Jaime Castrillon offers big-play potential for Colorado
- Mar 18:
- Short-handed Rapids slip past Union 2-1 behind Castrillon, Cascio
- Mar 10:
- Rapids 2, Crew 0; buen debut del colombiano Pareja
- Rapids win season opener against Columbus
- Mar 9:
- New Rapids coach Oscar Pareja played with passion and will bring that intensity to opener vs. Columbus Crew
- Mar 8:
- MLS thriving a decade after barely hanging on
- Una MLS más colombiana arranca su temporada
- Técnico de los Rapids Oscar Pareja quiere acercarse a la fanaticada latina
- Feb 13:
- Rapids near signing Martin Rivero, a "No. 10" playmaker from Argentina
- Feb 1:
- Colorado Rapids to reward Paul Bravo with contract extension
- Jan 31:
- Rapids name Wilmer Cabrera assistant coach, along with Paul Caffrey
- Jan 25:
- Jaime Castrillon signs with Rapids, adds scoring punch to midfield
- Los Rapids contratan a el mediocampista colombiano Jaime Castrillón
- Rapids sign Colombian midfielder Jaime Castrillon
- Jan 24:
- New Rapids coach Oscar Pareja retains Pablo Mastroeni as captain
- Jan 19:
- Coach Pareja ready to bring passion into Rapids' game plan
- Jan 5:
- Colorado Rapids contrata a Oscar Pareja como nuevo entrenador
- Rapids announce hiring of Oscar Pareja as new head coach
- Jan 3:
- Oscar Pareja to be named new coach of Colorado Rapids, source says
- Colorado Rapids near hiring Oscar Pareja as head coach
- Dec 12:
- Rapids name Tim Hinchey, EPL veteran, as club president
- Nov 20:
- Donovan y Beckham guían al Galaxy de Los Angeles al título
- Donovan, Beckham lead LA Galaxy to MLS title
- Beckham, Galaxy get long-awaited MLS title shot
- Nov 7:
- Rapids fire coach Gary Smith after more than three years at Colorado helm
- Oct 27:
- Rapids defeat Crew 1-0 in MLS wild-card playoff
- Oct 25:
- Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni likely out for playoff game vs. Columbus
- Oct 18:
- Colorado Rapids' MLS playoff picture clearing up
- Sep 29:
- Rapids defeat Isidro Metapan in CONCACAF play
- Aug 24:
- Rapids tie Real España in CONCACAF play
- Aug 18:
- Rapids win opener of CONCACAF over Isidro Metapan
- Aug 9:
- Colorado Rapids jugarán en Denver contra Santos Laguna, Real España e Isidro Metapán
- Colorado Rapids to play Santos Laguna, Real España, Isidro Metapan in Denver
- Jun 27:
- President welcomes MLS champion Rapids to White House
- Jun 20:
- Rapids to visit Obama, White House to show off MLS Cup
- May 27:
- Colorado Rapids y Red Bulls empatan
- May 20:
- Rapids learn CONCACAF Champions League draw, will face Honduras' Real España
With a renewed focus on offense, the Colorado Rapids hired Oscar Pareja as the team's new head coach in January. Pareja, a Colombian player with more than 18 years experience, has already taken steps to change the culture of the club that for years has remained seemingly distant from the growing Latino community in Colorado.
The Rapids recently signed Argentinean playmaker Martin Rivero and Colombian midfielder Jaime Castrillon with hopes of building a stylized, possession-first game. These players are also likely to "keep fans coming back for more," Pareja said.
The coach talked to Viva Colorado about his plans to reach out to the Latino community in the state and what philosophy will guide the Rapids in the future.
How have you dealt with the responsibilities that come with being a Major League Soccer coach?
OP: I am very happy to represent the Hispanic community in a club that has characterized itself by having a good relationship with different communities in the city, but I hope to further the plans to strengthen the relationship with our community. I think they [the Rapids] are anxious to develop this relationship. As a coach I think the task at hand is a prevailing challenge. We are ready, we are excited and can't wait for the season to start.
What is the new philosophy of the Colorado Rapids?
OP: The new philosophy is focused on having people really like the team. That the team exhibits a certain orientation toward craftiness, dodging the ball, the touch. We are going to accomplish this because we are going to work hard. How long is it going to take us? That is unknown, but I hope we can do it as quickly as possible.
With your experience in clubs like the Deportivo Medellin, Deportivo Cali and Dallas FC, what do you hope to share with Rapids players?
OP: For me, futbol is a way of life. As we live, we play. I am interested in giving the Colorado Rapids players the freedom to express themselves on the field. I don't want responsibility and discipline to bog them down when it comes to expressing their game because at the end of the day people come to see the players' freestyle.
What is the plan to develop an offense-driven team?
OP: This can be achieved in three ways. First, with money you can sign good players and maybe you don't have a great coach but you are going to have the best players and naturally you will have an offense-driven team. Second, with hard work, and third, with conviction.
How do you plan to reach out to Latinos who love soccer but don't follow the Rapids?
OP: I have preached this in the clubs I have been part of and at the club where I came from (FC Dallas). Latinos in the United States have the responsibility to pass on the love they have for their soccer team, be that America, Chivas, Nacional Colombia, River, Boca, to their children. Give him or her a Rapids jersey. There isn't another professional soccer team in the city.
In our countries we loved our local team when it played well, when it failed, when it won or lost. Regardless, on Sundays we watched the games. We wore our team's jersey and we gave our children the team's flag. We argued with our uncles and our cousins about which team was the best.
Give that heritage to your child. He does not have the opportunity to watch your country's team play. Give him or her the opportunity to feel that passion by watching the Rapids.
As a Latino coach of a professional soccer team in this country, what do you ask of other Latinos?
OP: I come from a place where the Hispanic community felt cut off from the professional team or somehow disconnected. I hope this connection to my community here is real, that I can give them what they have been waiting for for many years. I hope we can show this franchise that we are driven and capable of great things, but I need (Latinos) to help me.
The Colorado Rapids season opener against the Columbus Crew is March 10 at 4 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. Altitude will televise the game and ESPN Deportes Radio (87.7 FM) will have coverage of the game in Spanish.