Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rapids All-Time Team: Center Back

The starting center back and easiest selection in the Rapids All-Time Team is Marcelo Balboa.

How Acquired: First player ever signed by the Colorado Rapids team, on a free transfer from Leon in Mexico

Years In Colorado: 1996 through 2001

How Departed: Traded to NY for a 3rd round pick in the 2002 draft

Unlike many of the positions on this team, this one was a complete no-brainer. No All-Time Rapids team could be complete without Marcelo Balboa. The first ever Rapid and the face of the team for its first 6 years he held every significant defensive or appearance record when he left the team. Marcelo left the team in the fallout from the contraction of Miami and Tampa Bay before the 2002 season when Hankinson traded him to NY for a draft pick. Balboa played 10 minutes in the final game of the season in his only appearance for NY before retiring as a Rapid. After a year away from the team he joined the front office in 2004 and has continued to be a community ambassador for the team and the color man on the Rapids TV broadcasts.

Balboa was the only player to play the majority of their MLS career in Colorado to be named to the 10th Anniversary MLS All-Time Best XI and is the only player ever to play for the Rapids to be in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. He was also the first inductee into the Rapids Gallery of Honor. That's really all that needs to be said about his inclusion on the All-Time Team, so instead I leave you with his 2000 MLS Goal of the Year, still (in my biased opinion) the best goal ever scored in MLS.

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