Minnesota United acquired the third member of their MLS roster on Sunday, completing a trade for towering defender Joseph Greenspan with the Colorado Rapids in exchange for Minnesota's Third Round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
Greenspan, 24, was selected by the Rapids with the 26th overall pick in the 2015 SuperDraft after an impressive college career at the US Naval Academy, but did not join the Rapids until he was granted permission to train and play for the club around the fulfillment of his Naval duties.
The 6-foot-6 center back appeared in four regular-season matches (two starts) for the Rapids, and spent time on loan with the Charlotte Independence (four games) and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (seven games) this year.
“Joe was a player that we felt very strongly about as we prepared for the 2015 MLS SuperDraft,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath in a club statement, alluding to his previous stint in charge of Orlando City SC. “His size, athleticism and technical ability, matched with his character and leadership make him an excellent addition to Minnesota United. His commitments to the US Navy have kept him from focusing completely on his professional career and we're thrilled that he'll be able to do that in Minnesota.”
A New Jersey native, Greenspan was one of the most decorated players in Navy men’s soccer history, earning All-American honors as both a junior and a senior while leading the team to the school’s first NCAA tournament win in 42 years. He was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and was awarded the NAAA Sword for Men in May 2015, an honor presented to a member of the Navy graduating class that is considered by the Association’s Athletic Council to have personally excelled in men’s athletics during his years of varsity competition.
“Joe has been the complete professional during his two years with the Rapids,” said Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni in a club release. “We respect and admire the commitment he made to serve his country, while also working to chase his dreams. On behalf of everyone at the club, we would like to thank Joe for his contributions on and off the pitch and wish him the best of luck in the future.”