The boots are hung up, the exit physicals are done and the Colorado Rapids players get some much needed time off to rest up over the holidays before coming back into the rigors of preseason at the end of January. Some people who may not be resting quite as much include Gary Smith and Steve Guppy.
Smith will be spending the holiday period in England evaluating a number of players while Guppy will spend some time in France to look at a couple of potential Rapids' players over there. Smith said at training before Thanksgiving that there was more flexibility involved with players from outside the MLS but, coupled with that, there are potential problems luring players to the US because of the different type of game, different playing schedules and climate and the increased demands placed on players because of the larger amounts of travel involved. Not to mention money, of course. But, outside the MLS seems to be the main target to strengthen the squad for next year. It is often said that the Championship in England is a similar level to the MLS - a comparison that I find too simplistic - but Smith said to me that they would be primarily looking at League One players and below, even as far down as the Conference, where Smith said there are a number of young players aged 19 or 20 who are very talented but who have just missed out on signing full pro contracts. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks and months.
Smith also did not dismiss the possibility of getting a Designated Player. "It's not outside the realms of possibility but it's in the owners' hands." Quite. Kroenke remains the prime mover financially and he's too busy buying up Arsenal shares and has shown no willingness to invest seriously in this club. So, don't hold your breath. But it will be interesting to see what may transpire if the Columbus Crew fail to re-sign Schelotto. The DP is not necessarily the pot of gold but, signing one, would show the club means business to put mediocrity behind it once and for all. That has to come from the people with the money.