Colorado Rapids releases 2021 preseason roster
On March 1, the rapids announced the preseason roster who will travel to Tucson, Ariz. ahead of the 2021 MLS regular season. All contracted players will travel, along with five trialists, three of whom are Rapids Academy players.
Two former Rapids have been invited to return to preseason camp this year: left-back free agent Edgar Castillo and former local player Dillon Serna. Castillo was traded to New England Revolution in a three-way trade that helped the Rapids offload Diego Rubio from Kansas City Sports in december 2018. After a year with New England, Castillo entered free agency and was taken over by Atlanta. His option was declined following the 2020 season. Castillo joined the Rapids on loan from Monterrey, Mexico for the 2018 season and performed well, scoring three goals and adding five assists. If the 34-year-old impresses at camp, he could be a decent depth element to support Sam Vines as he’s already used to the league and has proven he can be effective in MLS. Additionally, Castillo was a fan favorite in Denver.
Speaking of fan favorites, the second guest is Colorado native Dillon Serna, who spent seven seasons with the Rapids from 2013 to 2019. Serna played 105 games for the Rapids, missing a lot of time after an ACL injury in Play the US Open Cup in 2016. Serna spent 2020 with Sporting KC 2 and has already signed for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks ahead of the 2021 season. At just 26, Serna can perhaps impress enough to land a contract and return to MLS.
Three youngsters from Rapids Academy will also travel to Tucson in hopes of a deal with the first team. Highly-rated 16-year-old forward Darren Yapi is one of the academy’s three offspring and also seems most likely to land a deal with Homegrown. Yapi has had an impressive 2020 season in both the DA League and the Generation Adidas Cup, and was recently called up to the United States U-17 Men’s National Team. Not to mention that Yapi occupies a place in arguably the shallowest position of the Rapids: the center forward.
Yapi is joined by other young players Cullen “Cam” Wilkerson and Oliver Larraz, both midfielders. Wilkerson is technically not yet an academy player, but will join Rapids Academy at the start of the 2021 season. Wilkerson already has professional experience, having made four appearances with Portland Wood 2 in 2020. At just 16, Wilkerson also has a very high cap, and he and Yapi could very well be spending time with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks this season to continue their development.
The fifth guest, Larraz is becoming a familiar face for the Rapids, as the 19-year-old has been with the Academy for four years and was a regular at first-team training last season. Larraz also spent time in Germany with the MSV Duisburg U-19 team.
The only Colorado roster missing from the preseason is Will Vint. The Homegrown has been loaned to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks for the 2020 season. It will not be participating in the preseason for personal reasons, according to the club.
With plenty of starting spots to battle it out, as well as spots for all five guests at training camp, the preseason will be intense and full of competition for the Rapids. The pre-season camp will begin on March 8 and, after more than three months of hiatus, will finally get the ball rolling for the 2021 season.
For my part, I cannot wait.