Rapids: International partnership afoot Report: Colorado could change name after uniting with England's Arsenal
By Brian Forbes
Will the Rapids be sticking to their guns today, or will they unveil a new Arsenal?
The Rapids have announced a news conference today at 1 p.m. at the Pepsi Center to announce a "groundbreaking international soccer partnership and major club changes."
The Independent newspaper in London reported today that Arsenal, one of the more decorated clubs in the English Premier League, is forming a partnership with the Rapids, who will be renamed either Arsenal Colorado or Colorado Arsenal.
The Independent reported the British and Colorado teams will play friendlies, work on coaching initiatives and develop players. The London paper also reported the Colorado team will visit England for preseason training before the 2007 Major League Soccer season starts in April.
Rapids general manager Charlie Wright said Thursday the organization had no comment about today's announcement or changes.
The website domain name coloradoarsenal.com has been registered to a webmaster listing the address of the Pepsi Center, headquarters for Kroenke Sports Enterprises, the owner of the Rapids.
Wright warned, however, that KSE has trademarked and registered names in the past and never used them.
Major League Soccer clubs must pay a fee to the league if they change their names this close to the start of a season.
Rapids vice president and managing director Jeff Plush was noncommittal last month about changes to the team's colors and name. The team's website is displaying a new, claret-colored logo that is absent of any name, the same color used as the backdrop to the All-Star Game logo, a game the Rapids will host July 19.
Speculation the club might change its name to Arsenal arose last season with the start of construction of its new stadium, Dick's Sporting Goods Park, in Commerce City, which is adjacent to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife refuge.
Plush also is a known fan of the London-based Arsenal club, which has 13 league titles to its name.
The Independent speculated Rapids owner Stan Kroenke might be interested purchasing a significant share in Arsenal, pointing out that Liverpool, another English Premier League team, was purchased by American sports owners George Gillett Jr. and Tom Hicks this week.
In addition, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner has taken over Ashton Villa and Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcom Glazer took control of Manchester United. The Independent said there has been no indication the current major shareholders of Arsenal are looking to sell.
Last edited by deadringer; 02-09-2007 at 10:58 AM.
Arsène Wenger has clarified the motives behind Arsenal’s link-up with MLS side Colorado Rapids.
The Frenchman described the relationship as “technical co-operation” and denied it is the prelude to a takeover similar to the acquisition of Liverpool by American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks earlier this week
“We have developed a few partnerships,” said Wenger on Friday, “Sometimes with football schools, sometimes with clubs. We just try to extend our brand.
“We are trying to extend our technical co-operation as well because the Americans might produce some players at some stage. That's why we have done it.
"It is not for a takeover,” he joked. “There are enough Americans in the league now.”
Wenger believes in the potential of the soccer Stateside but, he argues, they need a marquee home-grown talent to emerge.
“At the moment America is an untapped market,” said the Frenchman. “But it will remain as long as they don't produce a massive player. If they produced good players but nothing more, nobody will really focus on that.
"But if they produce a super player - and they have the potential to do that - then more people will be interested in them.”