MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

"Hell yeah!": Robin Fraser elated to sign contract extension with Colorado Rapids

Since the very first day Robin Fraser led training as head coach of the Colorado Rapids, the club has been on an upward trajectory.

Fraser arrived in August 2019, taking over as permanent manager after the season got off to an 11-game winless run and had since steadied under interim boss Conor Casey. Standing next to executive vice president and general manager Pádraig Smith, Fraser told his new boss on his first official day at work that this team was much better than they've shown.

It didn't take long for Fraser's words to come true. In his first full season in 2020, the Rapids returned to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Last year, they finished first in the Western Conference standings.

On Wednesday, Smith and the Rapids signed Fraser to a contract extension through 2025, keeping the 2021 Sigi Schmid MLS Coach of the Year award finalist at the club for the long-term future.

When Smith first approached Fraser with the idea of an extension, it was well welcomed.

His initial reaction? "Hell yeah!” Fraser told the media with a laugh.

“I was very grateful," Fraser added, a bit more seriously. "I’m honored and humbled that I’m being asked to stay here longer. It’s been a tremendous few years.”

The Rapids had never topped their conference in their long MLS history before last year. Colorado finished with 1.56 points per game in 2020 and 1.79 PPG last year, two of the three best regular-season totals in club history.

“To be honest, there wasn’t much discussion needed (with ownership) to extend Robin's contract," Smith said. "… It was an easy decision to tie Robin down. We think he’s the best coach in the league.”

Colorado are looking for their second MLS Cup in club history, lifting the trophy once back in 2010.

“It fills me with pride to be a part of a club that’s very forward-thinking, that’s hell-bent on getting things right," Fraser said. "To have the club extend me, it’s incredibly comforting. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to relax. I actually feel even more of a sense of an obligation to this organization."

Still searching for reinforcements?

The Rapids were public in their desire to add another forward this offseason but are still yet to make any additions. Given the depth of the squad, and that they have already been eliminated from the Concacaf Champions League, there's no real rush.

But the search for improvements remains ongoing.

“We really like our team right now and we really like that we can add to the team," Smith said. "It’s about making sure we find the right players.”

Colorado have taken seven points from their first four games of the season, heading into the international break this week. The Primary Transfer Window is open until May 4 before the Secondary Transfer Window opens July 7.

“We will add players," Smith said. "Whether it’s the medium-term or in the summer, we’re going to add players to make sure we’re better at the end of the season than we are now. I’m proud our squad is already in a position to be a contender while also having the ability to add players of a certain quality and standard.”