Chris Armas named Colorado Rapids head coach

Chris Armas - Colorado Rapids

The Colorado Rapids have filled their head coach vacancy, announcing Friday that Chris Armas has taken charge for the 2024 MLS season.

Armas brings MLS managerial experience to the Western Conference club, having previously led the New York Red Bulls (2018-20) and Toronto FC (2021). Most recently, he served as an assistant coach for Manchester United (2021-22) and Leeds United (2023) in the English Premier League.

Colorado’s opening arose when the club parted ways with Robin Fraser in early September.

“We’re delighted to begin a new chapter at the Colorado Rapids with Chris as our head coach,” Rapids president Pádraig Smith said in a release. “Chris brings a wealth of experience across the highest levels of the game, both as a player and as a coach.

“He is a natural leader who demands the highest standards from his players and understands what it takes to build a positive and winning culture. We believe he has the personal qualities, experience and shared vision to help us achieve the success we seek.”

Upon taking over RBNY after Jesse Marsch’s departure to German club RB Leipzig, Armas won the 2018 MLS Supporters’ Shield. His Toronto tenure was less fruitful, lasting just 15 matches across all competitions.

Before becoming a coach, Armas’ distinguished playing career included 12 MLS seasons across the LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire FC. A six-time MLS All-Star, the former defensive midfielder and US international was also named to the MLS Best XI five times.

“I’m incredibly proud and excited to take the role as the head coach of the Colorado Rapids,” said Chris Armas. “This is a club that has had success in the recent past and KSE is an organization that has a strong track record of winning championships. Throughout the process, I was struck by the desire of the organization to return to the playoffs and compete for trophies.

“I'm as hungry as ever to deliver this success to our fans and our club. I’ve always been eager to implement my style of play at a club that plays and trains at altitude. This advantage, along with high energy, attacking and entertaining football, can help our team and fans return to home-field dominance. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to take the reins and to work with the entire staff to get the club back into the playoffs and ultimately to bring another MLS Cup to Colorado."

Colorado, the Western Conference's No. 1 seed in 2021 after a club-record campaign, have missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in back-to-back years. They finished last in the West in 2023, tallying 27 points (5W-17L-12D).

Roster-wise, the Rapids have already announced they've parted ways with club staples Jack Price and Diego Rubio. More change is likely before their Dec. 1 deadline to exercise contract options.