Hudson, 36, comes to Colorado after spending the last three years managing the New Zealand national team. He compiled a 9-11-7 record with the All Whites, leading the team to the recent World Cup qualification playoff against Peru, which they lost 2-0 on aggregate to miss out on a trip to Russia.
“This is a very special moment for the Rapids,” Rapids sporting director and interim general manager Padraig Smith said in a statement released by the club. “In Anthony, we believe we’ve hired one of the most promising young talents and we’re extremely grateful for the support shown by the Kroenke family and the KSE executive team who remain committed to our goal of bringing another MLS Cup to Colorado.”
While they didn’t qualify for the World Cup, New Zealand had a successful run under Hudson. They showed well at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, putting in solid performances in losses against Russia and Mexico and earning praise from Portugal following a 4-0 defeat to the European champions in their group stage finale.
Hudson consistently called in several MLS players while managing the All Whites, regularly starting Vancouver goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, Minnesota defender Michael Boxall and San Jose outside back Kip Colvey and recently giving minutes to Portland’s Bill Tuiloma and Sporting Kansas City’s James Musa.
The son of former England international Alan Hudson, Hudson was born in Seattle during his father’s stint with the NASL Seattle Sounders. Prior to being hired by New Zealand in 2014, he spent one year as head coach of Bahrain.
“It’s an exciting moment and a wonderful opportunity,” said Hudson. “From the start, I was impressed by the club’s culture, front office and vision for the future. I believe we share a philosophy, and now it’s just a matter of going out and getting the results that both this club and community deserve.”
Hudson began his coaching career in the US in 2005, when he served as a player and assistant coach of USL club Wilmington Hammerheads. He became the youngest manager of a professional team in the US in October 2008, when, at the age of 27, he was named head coach of the Real Maryland Monarchs in the old USL-2. He managed Tottenham’s reserves in 2010 and coached English Conference Premier club Newport County in 2011 before taking over Bahrain’s U-23s in March 2012. He took over the Middle Eastern country’s senior national team in August 2013.
After a sparkling 2016 that saw them finish with the second best regular season record in MLS and advance to the Western Conference Championship, the Rapids came down to earth in 2017. Colorado finished 20th in the league and tied for last in MLS with just 31 goals. The club fired former head coach Pablo Mastroeni on Aug. 15. Steve Cooke managed the club on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. He was in consideration for the full-time job, but was publicly ruled out by Smith in an interview earlier this offseason. He’s expected to remain on the club’s technical staff.