Colombian Pareja takes over Rapids
Former FC Dallas player and assistant coach Oscar Pareja of Colombia was named coach of the Colorado Rapids on Thursday by the Major League Soccer club.
Pareja, who had served on the Dallas coaching staff since 2005, replaces England's Gary Smith who guided the Rapids to the MLS crown in 2010 but was fired in November after Colorado finished fifth in the Western Conference.
"This is a dream come true," Pareja said. "I'm excited to get started. Everyone is optimistic about what we can achieve this season and beyond."
Pareja, who earned 11 caps with Colombia's national team, played over 18 seasons starting in 1987 with hometown Independiente Medellin.
He switched to Deportivo Cali in 1995 and helped the club capture the Colombian crown for the first time in 22 years in 1996, then finished his playing career from 1998 to 2005 with Dallas.
"He was an exciting, attacking player who has also earned a lot of respect as a coach," Rapids president Tim Hinchey said.