Joseph Greenspan trains with the Colorado Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Another in-season roster move has shored up the Colorado Rapids’ in the department of defense.


With last week’s signing of 2015 MLS SuperDraft pick and Naval Academy product Joseph Greenspan, the team further solidified a center back position that was exposed for a lack of depth just a season ago.


“It was a really good play to get a guy of his abilities in with this group,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni told MLSsoccer.com “My thought was: If it was 2017, [Greenspan] would be the first pick in the first round.”


It’s one of the many reasons why the Rapids seemed fully prepared to wait out a mandatory two year period of military service by the rookie prior to his debut.


“It’s not a big deal,” Greenspan said after training with the Rapids this past spring. “There’s guys like [former NBA player David Robinson] who’ve done the two-year thing.”



The 22-year-old will instead wear the two uniforms concurrently; juggling the duties of playing for the Rapids while fulfilling his military duties at an assignment in the Denver area.


“There were some teams that were interested but hesitant because of my Naval commitments. That’s exactly what I needed; a team that knew my attributes and had faith in me,” Greenspan said of the Rapids decision to draft him with the 26th overall selection back in January. “The fact that we could make this work out for both parties, I couldn’t be happier about that.”


“I think it was just a change of heart that the Navy decided I could come out here and serve at a recruiting station and do some good there,” He continued. “That would allow me to play and fulfill my requirements with the Navy out here.”


The 6-foot-6 center back joins a sizeable defensive spine which includes Bobby Burling (6’5”) and Axel Sjoberg (6’7”). In reference to their size, the trio dubs themselves “The Tree Musketeers”.


“Axel and I were sitting in his apartment over spring break and we were thinking of nicknames,” Greenspan explained with a smile. “We were just kind of throwing things out there and it was the best one.”


But things are about to get a whole lot more serious for Greenspan. Sjoberg, Burling and veteran center back Drew Moor have all started at least six games for the stingy Rapids while Jared Watts has made three starts. Throw in the return of Shane O’Neill from the Toulon Tournament, where he was named the tournament's third-best player, and the Rapids' competition at center back is as fierce as ever.


Greenspan appears to be up for the challenge.



“The best player is going to play but I’m here to play soccer,” He said. “I’ll work my butt off to earn a spot and grab some playing time.”


It could soon be anchors aweigh for the Navy product. He’ll likely debut next Tuesday, when the Rapids face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.


“I think it will be a good opportunity for Joe to see some minutes,” Mastroeni said of the Rapids’ upcoming match. “His level of fitness is very good. It’s just about making sure he’s ready to rock and seeing where he’s at.”