The Colorado Rapids announced on Thursday that they have sold Homegrown defender Shane O’Neill to Cypriot club Apollon Limassol.
O’Neill, 21, signed with Colorado in 2012, breaking through to the first team in 2013 and helping the Rapids to the playoffs with 26 appearances – including 24 starts – that season. He followed up his breakout year with 21 more starts in 2014, but has only appeared in four games this season while missing time while with the US Under-23 national team.
"This is a bittersweet announcement for us," said Paul Bravo, the Rapids' VP of operations and technical director, in a statement. “Although he is leaving us to fulfill his ambitions in Europe, he leaves an important legacy. We want to thank Shane for all that he has done for the club on and off the field. He will be missed but we are excited for him as he embarks on a new chapter in his career and wish him the best of luck in Europe.”
O’Neill is the second Homegrown player to be sold to Apollon Limassol in the last 18 months. Former Toronto FC defender Doneil Henry was sold to Limassol in April 2014, staying on with TFC on loan for the remainder of the 2014 season before leaving the club last winter. He never actually played a match with the Cypriot club, who sold him to English Premier League side West Ham in January.
Apollon Limassol finished third in the 2014-15 Cypriot First Division season. They were just eliminated from the Europa League on Wednesday, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Azerbaijani club Gabala FK in the tournament’s second round of qualifying.