Rapids finally get their man in Irish striker Folan

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Gary Smith finally got his man. After protracted contract negotiations, Caleb Folan is officially a Colorado Rapid.

The MLS Cup champions confirmed on Wednesday that they have signed the Irish national-team striker, who spent the preseason with the club. Per league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The former Hull City man still had 18 months left on his contract with the English Championship team and it was a process to finally get the 28-year-old to sign on the dotted line once the two sides had agreed on the terms to buy him out of the loan.

Folan arrived in Colorado on Tuesday and worked out with the club for the first time as an official member of the Rapids on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2 forward, who has also played for Leeds United and Middlesbrough in England, impressed while on the Rapids’ preseason tour of Arizona, scoring a goal in a 4-2 victory over the LA Galaxy and combining particularly well with Conor Casey.

After the Arizona trip, Folan flew back to England to begin the process of trying to sign for the Rapids. He had wanted a change of scene and to play in MLS for some time.

Smith has said it is unlikely he will play all three of Casey, Folan and Omar Cummings at once. But he knows that Folan will provide a valuable option at least off the bench and could also play a vital starting role when Cummings is called, as expected, into the Jamaican squad for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.

Macoumba Kandji, who was a similar option for the Rapids last year, remains a long-term injury concern with cruciate ligament damage.

Smith said he was excited about getting someone of Folan’s caliber into his team. His one concern is the fact that the imposing striker is somewhat injury-prone.

“Physically, there is no doubt he will be a great prospect within the team,” Smith told MLSsoccer.com “The thing we have to work with him on is his health.”

England-born Folan has played seven times for the Republic of Ireland, including World Cup qualifiers against Italy, Bulgaria and Cyprus.

Nick Thomas covers the Rapids for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached at nthomas459@gmail.com or on twitter @rapidsstuff.

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