COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Following his offseason trial with English Championship side Reading FC, Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers is back in Colorado, and poised for another campaign in MLS.
“I’m fully in here,” Powers told reporters as the Rapids began their preseason activities. “I’ve had some good discussions with [Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni] this offseason and I’m really buying into some of the changes they’re making. It’s going to be a very player-oriented culture and the next thing is building that culture.”
During his time spent in England, there was much speculation regarding the future of the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year. Last November, Rapids vice president of soccer operations and technical director Paul Bravo explained that Reading was looking at the potential of taking Powers on.
It appeared that way when the club extended the trial later that month, but Powers’s potential future with Reading changed with the firing of manager Steve Clarke.
“I thought I performed pretty well and they were trying to feel me out a little bit more,” Powers said. “Overall I think I impressed and I did well for myself.”
His focus has shifted back to MLS, however, looking to continue his momentum with the club which drafted him 11th overall in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
“You can’t think in far off terms,” Powers said. “Right now I’m focused on [Colorado] and the preseason. There’s a really good energy with this group.”
The team’s coaching staff has taken note of Powers’ growth in the offseason.
“He’s a guy that’s gone abroad and seen some things,” Mastroeni said. “It’s opened his eyes to the level of commitment. He’s the fittest he’s come in in four years as a pro. From my perspective, that’s the kind of mentality you want from all your players.”
Mastroeni discussed a changed on-field role for Powers, who will be moving to a deeper position in central midfield.
“Given his ability to see a pass from a deeper position and having the game in front of him really suits what we’re trying to do,” Mastroeni explained. “I think he brings tremendous insight to the game from the middle of the midfield, whether it’s advanced or deeper.”
It’s a role Powers explained he would take ownership of, in addition to one as a locker room leader.
“I’m one of the longest tenured players on this team now so I have a lot of responsibility. I don’t want to be considered a young guy,” he said. “I’ve been here for a while and know how it works. I want to take a lot of responsibility for myself and the group.”
As a player which Bravo called a “player to build around,” Powers is currently embracing his return to Colorado. But the midfielder, who also holds an Italian passport, doesn’t seem to have lost sight of his long term career goals, which include the possibility of eventually making a move to play European football.
“It’s something that I’d like to do if it makes sense,” Powers explained. “I think it was a really good level and I enjoyed being in that environment.”