Colorado Rapids sign 20-year-old defender John Neeskens, son of Dutch great Johan Neeskens

John Neeskens, Colorado Rapids

Photo Credit: 
Garrett W. Ellwood / Colorado Rapids

The Colorado Rapids announced the signing of 20-year-old defender John Neeskens on Wednesday, improving the club's depth and providing head coach Pablo Mastroeni with a useful option on either flank.

The son of Dutch great Johan Neeskens, the Rapids' new signing has been on trial in Colorado for a month and already played in several reserve matches.

Neeskens spent the past two seasons in Spain, playing for Segunda B teams CF Badalona and UE Sant Andreu. He trained with Sporting Kansas City in 2012 alongside former Barcelona teammate Uri Rosell, who eventually signed with Kansas City.

Neeskens' youth career was spent in the academy systems at Villarreal and FC Barcelona. He can play on either side of defense or midfield, as well as in a holding midfield role.

“John is a talented and versatile player who gives us depth in a number of different positions,” Rapids VP of soccer operations Paul Bravo said in a statement. “He’s been with us for a while, as we sorted out all the paperwork to sign him, and he’s proved to be a strong player who fits in well with our group. We’re excited to officially welcome him to the squad.”

Neeskens was born in Tulsa, Okla., and has citizenship in the US, Spain, and the Netherlands, and will not count as an International Player on the Rapids roster.

His father Johan helped lead the Netherlands to consecutive appearances in the World Cup final in 1974 and 1978 and played for Ajax, Barcelona and in the old NASL with the New York Cosmos.

“I am very happy to officially join the Rapids, and I want to thank the club for this opportunity,” said the younger Neeskens in a statement. “It’s great to join a club with so many young players all playing at a high level, and I will be working hard to earn a place on the field.

"I also want to say thanks to my family and my agent, who have always given me their support and helped me get to this place.”