Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today I'm embarrassed to be a Rapids fan

A full game review will be up later today or tomorrow. Below is a copy of an email I sent Rapids GM Jeff Plush this morning about the embarrassing comments Fernando Clavijo made last night in his post-game interview on FOX Soccer Channel.

Mr. Plush,

I have been a Rapids fan for over 10 years. For most of that time I have been a long distance fan, following the Rapids while living in Seattle and Phoenix via Direct Kick, match trackers, streaming video, and even at times text updates from other fans at the game. I regularly travelled to Denver for home games as well as going to Salt Lake City and LA for road games. Earlier this year I moved to the Denver area and have been able to see more games live this season than in any other season. I've been a member of the River Ratz and Class VI, helped organize the Rocky Mountain Cup, been a writer for Rapidsfan.com, and currently run the View From the Couch Rapids blog. Until last night though, regardless of the team's highs and lows, I have never been embarrassed to be a Rapids fan.

Fernando Clavijo's comments in the Fox Soccer Channel post game interview were classless and misdirected. He openly questioned the coaching staffs of every African and European National Team when he stated that he didn't know what kind of training players get when they leave MLS for those teams, and he felt that the players needed to stay in contact with the coaches in MLS to make sure of their training. He said this in reaction to Bouna Coundoul returning to the team from his time with the Senegal National Team. I have no direct knowledge of their training methods, but I find it hard to question what kind of experience Coundoul got while backing up Tony Sylva, a player who has more Champion's League experience than the four best American keepers (Keller, Friedel, Howard, Hahnemann) combined. In the pregame interview with Coundoul FSC host Mark Rogandio talked about how everything "goes up a notch" when training with National Teams, and I'm sure that's true when training with one of the best African teams. It appears, however, that Clavijo feels that Coundoul might have done better by staying with Colorado and working with what appears to be his third goalkeeping coach in 9 months, as David Kramer takes over for John Murphy, who filled the hole left when Leo Percovich was let go. It was embarrassing for me as a Rapids fan to see our coach be so clueless as to actually think that the training and playing for the 13th placed MLS team would be better for Coundoul than the honor of training with his National Team and being ready to come off the bench at a moment's notice in a World Cup Qualifier.

I don't claim to understand all the factors that go into the decision to keep or remove a coach at a high level like MLS. I do see comments like these, along with his comments last year question "how true fans" the die hard fans of the Rapids are, along with the poor performance on the field and I have to wonder what he is contributing to the success of the organization. From the perspective of a fan he is making it almost impossible to continue to support this team. With my hometown of Seattle getting a team next season I will have to seriously consider switching allegiances if the team and the organization continues this downwards trend.

Respectfully,
Jason Maxwell

2 comments:

Hard Hat Mike said...

Please post a follow up to this if you ever get a response. I couldn't believe what I was hearing when watching the post-game.

Bonji said...

Well said, Jason. Add to your thoughts the fact that playing with the national team nicely supplements MLS' terrible salary for a starting keeper and you get an additional reason for Bouna to want to be with his nats, not that he needs another.

Clavijo's ship is sinking and he is grasping for life vests. Unfortunately the Rapids haven't cut the cord...yet. I'll keep hoping they will before too much damage is done.