The Colorado Rapids’ search for a new head coach ended on Saturday, right where it began two months ago.
The club announced that franchise icon and interim head coach Pablo Mastroeni is now officially the man in charge in Commerce City, one week before the Rapids open the 2014 regular season.
Mastroeni, 37, has led the Rapids throughout the preseason since former head coach Oscar Pareja left the club to lead FC Dallas. He has stated throughout the process that he was eager to lead his former club from the sidelines after serving as team captain from 2004-2013.
“It is a great honor to take this new position at the Rapids, a club which means a great deal to me and my family,” said Mastroeni, who won an MLS Cup with the Rapids in 2010 and holds club records for games played, games started, and minutes played. “I would like to thank the Kroenke family, Tim Hinchey and Paul Bravo for this great opportunity. I have seen this team’s ability and potential up close over the last two months, and I can’t wait for the season to get started.”
The Rapids have a bye week this weekend, and open the season at the New York Red Bulls on March 15.
“We are thrilled to name Pablo Mastroeni our head coach, and everyone at the club is excited for his tenure to begin,” Rapids president Tim Hinchey said. “We underwent a deliberate search, and Pablo’s experience, approach, and the work he did throughout preseason proved to us that he is the right man for this role.”
Mastroeni was traded from the Rapids to the LA Galaxy last season and closed his career out under former US national team head coach Bruce Arena in Los Angeles before retiring last November.
He soon thereafter rejoined the Rapids as a special assistant to Bravo before he took over during preseason workouts when Pareja surprisingly left the club after two years on the job.
“For a long time, Pablo Mastroeni has been an icon and a leader at this club, and he has the respect of everyone here, from the players through to the staff,” Bravo said. “He is committed to this club and our project, and I look forward to working closely with him in his new position.”