Colorado Rapids To Sign Greg Dalby…Finally…
His name is probably one of the most used on this blog due to him being a hot prospect going into the 2007 SuperDraft, being drafted by my team and then his going AWOL and ending up in Europe. Dalby was a consensus top 10 pick going into the draft before the word trickled down that he was headed to Europe.
We’ll folks, he’s boomeranging back home and we expect him here in Denver after the July 15th transfer window opens.
In actuality he’s already here training with the club and the Rapids organization is thrilled to have him back.
"Everyone is thrilled with Greg joining us. We took a chance drafting him at #17 in the 2007 MLS Super Draft, and even received some criticism for the move. However, it was a calculated risk that has paid dividends despite the year and a half long wait. Greg should be able to make a contribution with our team in 2008 and prove to be another talented young player with a bright future for our organization."
- John Murphy, Rapids Director of Player Development
Between the 2007 SuperDraft, rejecting MLS’ original contract offer and today Dalby has spent time bouncing around Europe trying out for teams from Italy’s Serie A to Germany’s Bundesliga and Scotland’s Premier League. After many trials Dalby found his way to Belgium and second division R. Charleroi S.C. After not catching on with the Flemish side, Dalby is returning back to the States. The Colorado Rapids still hold his rights and they’re releasing Brazilian Rafael Gomes to make room. After the window the signing will be made official by the league and club.
Dalby will join a stable of other promising American midfielders. Over the past few drafts the Rapids have stockpiled young players who can compete in MLS. Early in the season the Rapids found their best success while captain Pablo Mastroeni was injured. Rapids fans got their first taste of Nick LaBrocca and John DiRaimondo and enjoyed what they saw. Dalby’s addition packs the house and could make one of the other young, up and coming midfielders surplus to the Rapids’ needs.
To be frank, I was one who was critical of the Rapids drafting Dalby. At the time I felt like it was a waste to take a player who had openly made it clear he was going to Europe. Additionally, I was critical of Dalby for going on trials around the world instead of working on his game in a professional environment. Here we are today with him coming back to MLS as another young American boomerang. He's 22 years old and could be behind the curve compared to his teammates who stepped right into MLS following college. Nick LaBrocca and John DiRaimondo aren't going to give up their positions in the club too easily after working hard while Dalby traveled around Europe.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Dalby fits into the team. The Rapids are currently floundering in league play and are out of the US Open Cup after not qualifying. The coaching staff is seemingly in transition or turmoil, depending on who you talk to, and Dalby is just now stepping into this. Should he play well and keep his mouth shut, coach Clavijo will have a new weapon in his arsenal of young American midfielders.
Another aspect to consider is the Olympics. Will playing on American soil help his chances of making the team? I'm sure he hopes so.
*Edit: After publishing this post Rapids GM Jeff Plush added the following:
We are very excited about Greg. He brings us ability and versatility,
but as important he has a strong record as a leader as captain at both Notre Dame and the US u-20 squad. We look forward to seeing him develop with our club.