Friday, January 9, 2009

Paul Bravo named Technical Director

Today the Rapids announced former player Paul Bravo as their Technical Director. Bravo is one of three former players (along with Marcelo Balboa and Chris Henderson) inducted into the Rapids Gallery of Honor. He is still the Rapids all-time leading scorer with 39 goals in 135 games for the team.

This position had first been offered to Chris Henderson and then Jurgen Sommer, both of whom initially accepted the position before changing their minds (and in Henderson's case taking the same position with his hometown Seattle Sounders). Bravo retired and became an assistant coach with the Rapids, UCLA, and the Galaxy. At the end of 2007 he was given the title of Director of Soccer with the Galaxy, the equivalent of his new position with the Rapids. Bravo will essentially be the General Manager of the team's soccer operations, leaving the business side of the GM's job to Charlie Wright and actual GM Jeff Plush. He'll be responsible for scouting, player acquisition, and the youth system.

This is a position that's been sorely needed by the Rapids. Currently after you get pat the coach there's nobody in the Rapids organization with strong soccer knowledge (And given Clavijo's tenure I'm not sure you could make that claim about the coach!). The key to this position working though is that the person in it has to be more than a yes man for Plush. He has to have the ability to make the call on players and coaches without undue influence from above.

Assuming that happens, is Bravo the guy for the job? We don't have that much to work on. Last year's Galaxy was a mess under Ruud Gullit, but they were operating with some limitations that the Rapids don't have, namely Alexi Lalas, David Beckham, and Landon Donovan. Until late last season LA's focus was on off field issues. The image of the team appeared to be more important than the results. Acquiring names like Ruud Gullit and Abel Xavier was the focus, not players that would fit in the system. If Bravo's hands were tied then he can't really be blamed for the mess that resulted. If Bravo thought these were the best players to bring in, that doesn't bode well for his judgment. With his long tenure as a Colorado player he knows the city, lifestyle, and what players will need to adapt to to make it in Colorado, so that's a point in his favor. Hopefully we'll avoid situations where we've seen players leave because they aren't happy here.

Time will tell if this was a good move or not. On the surface it looks like a strong move though and I'm hopeful that having a soccer focused person in the FO will help stabilize the team.


Jester said...

I wasn't aware Paule had been inducted into the Gallery of Honor. I think you meant Henderson:)

Jason Maxwell said...

You think? ;)