After a successful season in Colorado, the Rapids shipped off four of their young stars to England for some offseason grooming.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin, midfielder Dillon Serna and defender Chris Klute were sent to Everton, while defender Shane O’Neill trained at Fulham, something the Rapids have done in years past in order to provide their young players training at the highest levels of international soccer.
“This is a great opportunity for our guys to get some extra training in during our offseason,” said Rapids technical director Paul Bravo. “We all know Everton to be an excellent club, one that is fun to watch and enjoying an excellent run of form right now. It will be great for these young players to see how Everton trains and prepares, and for them to experience the culture in England.”
Irwin in particular has been avidly tweeting about his experiences at Everton, saying Saturday: “Last day with @Everton done. I’d like to thank the club for having me over. Great experience and friendly people here!”
Irwin, Serna and Klute are expected to return on Sunday, while O’Neill’s return date wasn’t specified, but he is expected to be back in the next few days.
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O’Neill’s trip to Fulham wasn’t arranged by the Rapids, but it is neither a trial nor a tryout, according a league source. The 20-year-old, who represented the U.S. over the summer at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, is expected to return to Colorado in time for the holidays.
The Rapids sent four players to Derby County last season, but a coaching change at the club led to Colorado switching over to Everton this year.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.