COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Kellyn Acosta came up through the FC Dallas academy system, and spent six and a half more seasons as part of the club’s first team after signing a Homegrown contract in 2012. That chapter of his life has now ended, and he’s ready to begin the next one – as a member of the Colorado Rapids.
“The guys welcomed me with open arms and the coaches have been great.” Acosta told reporters Monday, meeting with media for the first time since the head-turning trade which landed him in Colorado in exchange for striker Dominique Badji. “I’m just happy to be integrated with the group.”
It’s been a whirlwind ride for the 22-year-old midfielder, who spent his entire professional career with Dallas prior to the trade.
“Obviously, leaving a club that I’d been with for ten years is not something I had been wanting to do,” Acosta reflected. “But Colorado came in and I had to be here. It’s the next step in my journey and I’m glad to be part of a team and organization that has great ambitions to bring a championship back to Colorado. I want to be a part of that.”
Following an early morning flight to Colorado, he quickly got to work, training with the Rapids on Monday. Acosta is expected to play his first minutes for the Rapids on Tuesday night, when Colorado host an international friendly match against Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
“He wants to play, he wants to be involved,” said Rapids head coach Anthony Hudson. “That in itself is a great sign. He’s a big signing. He could have quite easily have come in this afternoon and watched the game tomorrow. But he got on a 4:30 am flight, trained, and wants to play tomorrow. That’s a great sign.”
The Rapids front office expects Acosta to be a part of both the club’s short and long term vision, as GM Padraig Smith continues his plan to build the team into contention. Acosta’s current contract runs through the end of this season with club options for 2019 and 2020.
“From our perspective, this shows where we’re going as a club,” Smith explained. “We wouldn’t be in a position to get some of those players if we didn’t have this ambition, this drive, and determination to go all the way and bring a title back here. I think that’s one of the things we’re looking for. We’ve always talked about that character and mentality piece; making sure we’re bringing people in that have the same desire to win that we do. So absolutely, we’re here for the long haul.”
It’s a new direction for both club and player. But Acosta is embracing the change while hoping to make some of his own.
“Playing against [the Rapids] was always tough,” he said. “Now I’m excited for my next journey, my next step and hopefully bring some changes to the Colorado Rapids...It's time to switch gears, turn the page and get back to the winning ways again.”