The Colorado Rapids announced on Wednesday that defender Joe Greenspan will begin the 2016 MLS season in San Diego as part of his service in the US Navy.
The Rapids drafted Greenspan out of the US Naval Academy with the 26th overall selection in the 2015 SuperDraft. He trained with the club during the 2015 preseason, and remained with the team for the first week of the regular season before returning to the Naval Academy to finish his degree. He signed with Colorado on June 5 after the Navy gave him an assignment at a recruiting station in the Denver area.
All Naval Academy graduates are required to serve five years active duty upon graduation. Greenspan is currently serving as an Ensign aboard a destroyer in San Diego.
"We wish Joe well as he continues his naval commitments," Rapids VP of soccer operations and technical director Paul Bravo said in a club statement. "We drafted Joe in full knowledge of his service to his country and we have the utmost respect for that obligation
"In many ways, we feel we were fortunate to have Joe as much as we did last season and he is a young talent that we will continue to develop. We'd like to thank the Navy for their assistance throughout this process and we'll continue to work closely with them for the benefit of both parties."
Greenspan, 23, made three league appearances for the Rapids last year. He scored in his pro debut, a 4-1 US Open Cup win over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on June 16.
The US Navy issued the following statement regarding Greenspan:
“Ens. Joe Greenspan reported to a Navy ship in January following a brief period of recruiting duty while awaiting orders to report to his unit. He is currently serving aboard a Destroyer in San Diego, where he is fulfilling his Active Duty Service Obligation to the Navy.”