Monday, October 26, 2009

An Open Letter to Rapids Fans From Jeff Plush


Dear Rapids Fans,

I had intended and hoped to debut this blog under completely different circumstances. Needless to say, this is not the message I had originally drafted.

Last night we were formally eliminated from the 2009 MLS Playoffs. It is a terrible feeling…one that is difficult to put into words. The bottom line is that we failed to achieve our goals, and in doing so, we failed ourselves and our fans.

Self-analysis started for me and our staff on Saturday night. It is an unpleasant but necessary process. At some point we will be able to distance ourselves emotionally, and in doing so find some positives from the 2009 season.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say how much I enjoyed working with this year’s team. They are a group of young men who worked very hard, both on and off the pitch. I am pleased at the way in which they represent our organization in our community. That will continue to be a baseline expectation in how we conduct ourselves, and in that area I remain confident.

But, we are in a results-oriented business, and the only emotions we can feel today are those that come with failure...disappointment, humility, frustration.

The work has already started on 2010. We are intent on changing the culture of this club to one that expects to win silverware. We are intent on our results equaling our ambition. And we are intent on earning your continued loyalty, support, passion and hopefully, love.

This work has started and will continue one day, one hour, and one minute at a time. And believe me when I say every minute matters.

As we set the bar higher for our organization, I leave you with the promise that I am creating this public forum for me to personally update you on a consistent basis. Not just as a one-way vehicle to let you know how hard we’ll be working to earn your continued support, but also as an interactive platform; I value your feedback, and welcome your questions or comments here.

2009 has ended, 2010 begins now.

I look forward to continuing this dialogue going forward and achieving great things together for our club, our fans, and our community.

-Jeff Plush
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53 comments:

B! said...

Jeff-

I appreciate you publishing a letter to fans in this space, although I am disappointed you nor anyone else has taken responsibility for this season's failure. The events that transpired were painful and it would be excellent if someone took responsibility for them.

You mention that you are working to create a culture of winning within the club, that is encouraging. It is painfully obvious that no such culture exists currently. I have been a Rapids season ticket holder for the last three years, every full season that I have lived in Colorado, and have yet to see a playoff game. I have yet to see the Rapids win a Rocky Mountain Cup. I have never seen the Rapids even play a US Open Cup game, let alone make any serious attempt to win that trophy. I have never seen a player be brought in who is a true difference maker.

I believe that Paul Bravo and Gary Smith were on the right track at the start of the season and remain the best option available to the franchise in their positions, however, the fact is that this season ended the same way it has the previous two seasons: in disaster, embarrassment and heartbreak. That has to fall on the organization, specifically the top of the organization, your boss, Mr. Stan Kroekne.

Although he is the owner, I have never once heard him utter a single word about the franchise, never seen him at the games, never seen him on TV cheering on the Rapids from an owner's box, never seen him at a team function. In fact, in connection to soccer, I only see his name or likeness when he is buying up shares of Arsenal. While, I completely understand the desire to acquire such a valuable property it only serves to show how little he cares about the Rapids. By way of comparison, Freddie Ljungberg's salary is roughly equivalent to the 90 shares of Arsenal that Mr. Kroenke just acquired this month as the Rapids were melting down without the proper personnel for a full an arduous season. It isn't hard to think of how the season might have turned out differently if Mr. Kroenke had made the decision to invest in a player of the caliber of Freddie Ljungberg for Colorado instead of a foreign club.

There are six long months between now and opening day for changes to be made, and yet you've only made a promise to keep me updated. What I really want is a promise that things will change. A promise I can believe in. Please give me a reason to believe I am doing more than flushing away my hard earned dollars, my valuable time, my emotional involvement and my devotion on what has so far amounted to a few cheap thrills and mounds of heartbreak.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Turner, Rapids Fan

OracioG said...

This year we didnt do too bad. i am not disappointed with our result.we did better then we have with clavijo.smith is the man for the job and he delivered alot in his first full season as head coach. this squad is great. we need a little more work with the wings and defence but i still love the squad.this year we were called the suprise team cause we showed everyone that we are not gonna give up the fight.keep your heads up cause once your down with spirits,we go down with all. ok a kingdome cannot be destroyed without, till its distroyed with. so keep your heads up.

DJ Greenie said...

“We put out a clear goal that we wanted to make the playoffs, advance to the MLS Cup, and win the MLS Cup. We didn’t get any of those done. We also didn’t qualify for SuperLiga next year. We have to be honest with ourselves and our fan base that we didn’t get it done...

"We need to put lofty goals in front of this group and demand more of ourselves, and we will do that. It starts with me demanding more of our coaching staff, our players, and our front office. The objectives are the same as they have always been, but we have to work that much harder because we didn’t get it done this year.”

-- Jeff Plush, following the 2007 season

JoeyClams said...

Ben Turner had it right but was being diplomatic in my opinion. The failure of the Rapids to not make the playoff this season is a disgrace considering they only needed a single win in their final games. And that disgrace falls directly on you, Jeff Plush. You can come on here and post how disappointed you are and how hard you are going to try to do better next year. Why don't you start by resigning your position. You are obviously not the guy to run the Rapids and you are obviously not the guy to give Rapids fans the team they want and deserve.

The fact that this team consistently trades away high draft picks, allocations and designated player slots only goes to show that the Rapids and KSE as a whole are not committed to improving the team. The fact that the current team was as close as they were to making the playoffs just shows how hard the players and coaches worked in spite of the lack of leadership and help from the front office.

It obvious to this former season ticket holder and long-time fan that KSE would rather spend it's millions, no billions, on purchasing controlling interest in a foreign team at the expense of spending any real money to improve the team they already control. It's such bull to listen to you spout off about how disappointed you are and your promises of improvement are just lip service. We've all heard it before. In fact, we've heard it since that black day when KSE took over the club and proceeded to show Rapids fans just how little KSE thought about the team and the fans.

Talk is cheap Jeff. Show fans that you are serious about improving this team and resign. Let the Rapids bring someone in that is a soccer person and has a passion for this team and the sport. Listening to a corporate hack talk about how disappointed he is in the team he assembled is just noise. If you won't do that, then stop talking and start showing the fans that the days of allowing this team to miss the playoffs are over. Until then, your words are just empty rhetoric.

J Patrick Rosch said...

Jeff-

Thank you for taking the time to write to us about this disaster that the season ended up being. As I look back at what might have been I am reminded that this team won only three games in the last three months of the season. To finish 0-3-4 is unacceptable under any measure. Changes need to happen for this team to have success.

I traveled to Salt Lake this weekend and I was amazed at how prepared RSL was compared to the Rapids. We were never in the game and it was disheartening to see the guys so unprepared to play in a must win situation.

For as poorly as the form has been in the last two months we still had a chance to make the playoffs. What happens? A 3-0 thrashing at the hands of RSL.

I would like to know what will be done next year. Will the organization make the necessary changes to put a competitive club on the field that has a legitimate chance to win an MLS cup? Or will continue to languish in mediocrity with other clubs? For the time that I put in as a season ticket holder, the emotional investment in this team, and the money I give to this organization I know I, along with every other fan, deserve more.

John, Rapids Fan

Jason Maxwell said...

Benjamin said it best. Since we moved into the Dick in 2007 we haven't seen a playoffs game, a international tournament game (the Tecate Cup does not count) and the game against the California Victory was our only USOC match in that time. For the last couple of years we've heard each offseason about how next year will be different, about how were were going to take the USOC seriously, about how we were dedicated to becoming a winning organization. Yet time and time again when the Rapids were presented the chance to back up their talk with actions they chose the cheaper route. No USOC home games, no DP player, no big foreign acquisitions.

Talk is cheap, until I see some actions I see no reason to change my views of this organization.

charles said...

Jeff and the Rapids front office,
While I appreciate the customer service I've had this year, and these words from Jeff Plush, words are just words. Actions speak louder. Many of us are players, former players, and/or coaches. We've grown up with the game. We know and understand the sport. We make a substantial investment of time, money and emotion to support the team. If our payback is to watch a player we traded for perform dismally game after game and not get benched because the coach seems to have no better option, we question why we should support the team. Injuries are a fact of life in soccer. To lose three outside midfielders - resulting in a one-dimensional offense that is easy to defend against - is unlucky, but frankly, exposes the lack of depth in the roster. Thank you Coach Smith for saying it - we need better players. I hope you don't get "a bollicking" for that. I've already committed to season tickets next year but will revisit that decision until I know that Coach Smith, who has the Rapids playing good soccer at times, will be given the tools to do the job. More trades for other teams' castoffs and I'll simply choose to do something else with my entertainment dollar.

Bonji said...

Jeff, I appreciated this open form of communication with the fans. All too often it seems KSE executives stay in their ivory tower.

I will echo what others have said. These are the right words to put on the page but this is just smoke, we want to see the fire. DJ Greenie pointed out that you said similar things two years ago after the 2007 season. Why isn't the rhetoric turning into results?

During both seasons, and the one in-between, the Rapids have not been able to put together a team that can consistently show up and win games. This season ended with a heartbreaking seven game win-less streak. Last year and the year before there were ten game win-less streaks. What is being done to change the culture where the team just mails it in for long periods of time? Did the injuries to wide midfielders really kill the team that was within striking distance of the Western Conference championship just eight weeks ago?

I appreciate the words but until there are results they ring hollow. This is the third season in a row that is ending in total disappointment and leaves little to look forward to next season other than seeing a team take the field. Please figure out how to create a winning culture, because to this point you haven't and it is hard to continue to justify spending hundreds of dollars on season tickets.

Thank you,
Ben

Genene said...

To the Colorado Rapids organization,

I have not been a season ticket holder as longer many others have, but I do regard all of you as extended family. This season like the last ended in disappointment. I found myself fighting back tears on Saturday and Sunday. The only thing that kept me going was my belief in the entire team (staff, players, and coaches) that next year is a new chance to prove what the Colorado Rapids are capable of. The best teams go through ups and downs but with determination and support from management as well as the community they bounce back. We as fans must be willing to support our Rapids in both good times and bad. I hope I am not alone when I say that I am proud of the effort the team put in this year. Every dollar I spend with the Rapids is a dollar well spent in my opinion; because in return I get to watch a wonderful group of guys plays the world’s most beautiful game on the best pitch in the MLS. It may not sound like much, but you will always have my support.

Sincerely,

Genene Selvidge

Todd said...

Wow. What a finish to the season. I am so glad I did not renew my season tickets. You guys are going to lose your fan base pretty quick. Never should have released Terry Cooke. Set pieces were just plain embarrassing.

I don't agree with a previous blog about the team being extended family. I don't shell out hard earned bucks to be entertained by Uncle Joe or Aunt Susan. My support as a season ticket holder was an investment in the team which has failed to pay off in being able to watch quality football in person. Like any bad investment, you need to know when to cut your losses which I have done.

Jay said...

Someone please explain why a healthy Pickens is on the bench for this game. Not saying he's the reason, but the Rapids were winless after he went down. Why is he not playing when it really counts? Coach explain this one..

Richard Lovelace said...

Jeff-

Somebody needs to tell the boss to end his love affair with Arsenal FC and show the Rapids some love. Honestly, the North Londoners would probably prefer if Kroneke made an about face as American Owners are not really popular across the pond these days. No disrespect to Arsenal they are legendary but not my favorite in the Premier League and not my hometown team. We want to create a legend here in Colorado!!! So keep your quid in Colorado Kroenke!!!

Meg said...

Teams win and loose. Get over it. It's unfortunate what happened at the end of the season, but the team as a whole is playing better soccer and that's a credit to Gary Smith and the players. They make it look easy, but it takes a lot of hard work. I don't disagree that the Rapids need a shot in the arm. Maybe KSE will wake up now and invest in an Arsenal player to come here and play for a couple of years.

We had fun watching the team this year and look forward to next season!

Pele O Rei said...

Hi Jeff,

I generally think the Rapids are headed in the right direction regarding stabilizing the coaching position and developing an environment that might be successful in the future. To me the real issue seems to be with depth - when Connor and Omar where off on national team duty and Colin and Matt Pickens were injured the team seemed to fall apart. I think this comes down to scouting and player acquisition which appears to be a weakness.

Best,
peleorei.com

Guyer said...

Jeff,

Thanks for the opportunity for us to hear your thoughts on the matter. It seems to be becoming a habit however, curtains on another dismal season and cue another heart felt hand wringing and comiseration from the talking heads. That is not to diminish what are clearly your heartfelt feelings and words, you clearly are as rocked as many of the fans but we need more than words and we need it soon. I feel Gary Smith has had this team moving in the proper direction, but doesn't have the squad, depth or quality wise, to do what needs to be done. This year I am more forgiving than the previous two, as I saw improvements but the finale also hurt more, watching as this team slid from the heights like a rotting jack-o-lantern. Except jack-o-lanterns aren't tossed out until after Halloween. And to have the best yet years of both Conor Casey and Omars careers go to waste. Tragic. A lot of negatives when we look at where we were headed 7 games ago, and where we are today. I expect this team to pick itself up and dust itself off and after the proper soul searching, to clear out the brush and make this a team that can come out swinging the chip on it's shoulder next year, with depth and quality competition at all positions, not just at mascot and central defense. Or clean house and start over from the parking lot attendants to the gaffer. Frankly I don't care. This is last year I pay for the season tickets for a franchise that thinks treading less than mediocre water in an ever expanding league and an ever improving league is anyway to hang on to fans. It's not, you must see that reflected in the word "Colorado" clearly spelled in seats across from your own luxury suite. I hope this next year is our year, I really do and the Rapids will ALWAYS be my team, but if next year is any sort of lateral move I will start following from my couch, and leave my seats to the soccer moms and teenyboppers. I have a trip to London and tickets to some EPL matches that I can use that money on.

Good Luck Rapids

goldboot32 said...

Good move to try to bribe the season ticket holders into renewing before the end of the season. Thanks for the notebook cockbags. Attendance was bad this year, 2nd worst in the MLS i think, and its headed in the wrong direction. Its embarassing bringing people to the games to a half full stadium full of kids more interested in dippin dots then the game. It seems to me that the teams that win have the best fans....

This letter from Jeff Plush has sadly become some sort of habit. Theres only one way to break the habit is to win. And win soon my dad almost didn't renew our tickets and i dont want to risk it again next year.

Jorge El Mapace

Kevin said...

This season ended in disappointment, but to the Rapids, staff, and coaches, thank you for a great year. Between last year and this year, I have seen a number of players improve in their game. We cannot forget that this WAS Smith's first full season as head coach, and I think he did a good job leading this team. We do need improvements, but we also did put up a great fight.

The last several games, well, it's a harsh reality to face. There's no reason why we couldn't get a win. The only thing we can do is look at our mistakes, learn from them, and then move forward.

It was unfortunate to lose Pickens to injury near the end of the season, but Burpo held strong in the goal.

Next season: Take advantage of every scoring opportunity we get. We have had several chances to score and failed to come through. Defense overall performed great and was another improvement from last year. I think we could also be more aggressive in the center.

Thank you Rapids for a great season, we all feel your pain with the recent loss. It is time to move on. Happy off season, good luck training and preparing for the new season, and I look forward to seeing you guys in March!

Kevin

bcffcb said...

I was very disappointed in Coach Smith's comments over the weekend in regards to his players. A quality coach would have refrained from comments such as Coach Smith made, and instead would have said something like: "The Rapids organization needs to improve in many phases. We need to coach our players better, we need to prepare our players better, and we need to do a better job of identifying players who can help the Rapids win the championship". Coach smith's comments showed a lack of class, intelligence, and total disrespect for his players (many of whom he personally brought in).

Ken said...

Jeff,

My dollar contribution is going down next year. Dropping some of my tickets and moving to the cheapest section possible. Why not, I can sit anywhere I want to in the empty Dick. I'm still going only because I'm a soccer fan first and foremost. Although an upcoming trip to England may change my mind about continued commitment to the MLS.

And speaking of Stan, this BBC article concerning his involvement in Arsenal does not even mention his Rapids ownership, but does mention the Nuggets.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8328011.stm

And the picture in the article I'm sure was in London. We never have that many people at our games.

Sandy said...

Basically, you Mr. Plush, need to be removed from this organization. You have done nothing for the team in the 3 years of your employment. Doesn't matter what you have done for KSE in the past prior to the Rapids, but you know absolutely nothing about soccer. And, Mr. Kroenke, you need to step up and make yourself presentable to your fans and put some money into this team. Your interest in Arsenal is not doing US any good. If you don't care about this team, which is what it seems to be, then SELL it to some one who does care!
SM

Julio M said...

Yes we didn't clinch the paly off spot. I am a 100% Rapids supporter. I would like to say that even that this season ended the same way as the past two. I must say that Gary Smith has done a great work with the lads. I the current process should not stop. Gary S and Steve have changed the caracter of the team as a whole. It takes two to three season to see the work of a current manager. 100+ support to Gary S, Steve and the entire staff. One thing that I would like to see and hear more about is, what Gary Smith and the Rapids organization are doing to develop young lads out of their academy teams. Let's hope we don't have some many injuries next season and again110% support to my Rapids forever!!!!

Julio M
Colorado

Robert said...

As a season ticket holder and strong supporter of the Rapids, I am saddened but not surprised to see this season end in dissappointment yet again. While the MLS on the whole appears to be gaining momentum (new stadiums, huge fan bases in Toronto & Seattle, international players) the Rapids seem content with status quo. This season, the atmosphere at Dick's Sporting Goods Park was pathetic, I saw 5 games where attendance could not have been more than 4000. Something needs to change here, and it probably starts with focused players and coaches who are committed to winning!

Richard Terry in Denver said...

This season was even more frustrating than last year. We started off well and had solid wins against LA Galaxy on the road and RSL at home. Even in June the Rapids were playing well with a 3-0 home win over DC United. Things could not be going any worse.

Then there was my trip to Seattle to visit my twin sister and brother in law -- who hold half-season packages to Seattle Sounders FC. Omar Cummings took a PK early in that match at a rowdy and sold-out Qwest Field and banged it off the upright. After that, the Rapids fell apart and lost 3-0. This loss was the first since mid-April against a Dynamo team we should have beaten! I believe that this was the turning point of the season.

I seriously thought the season would be a legitimate success when we thrashed Chivas USA 4-0 at home and managed to irk out a 1-0 home win over Houston Dynamo...then we got lucky and beat Toronto FC 1-0 at home! Boy was I deceived...not a single win in league play since September 5th??!?! REALLY??!????!!

While I will continue to support the Rapids in these tough economic times, I give some valuable feedback:

--We need to encourage more vocal support and expand the supporters section. I say we move the supporters to behind the south goal. Look at TFC, Seattle, LA Galaxy, Dynamo, Columbus, and even the support in the USL. Sure the Rapids had a great home record but we need to make DSG Park a fortress! Qwest field is very intimidating!

--DSG security are very strict with flags! This is ridiculous considering DC United, Seattle and RSL have massive flag poles are their home matches!

--Sponsorship...the Rapids need a jersey sponsor! What happened to talks with Chipotle? Our stadium is gorgeous but we need to have a jersey sponsor like the majority of the teams in the league.

--Scarfs: Sure the Rapids might not have the money like Seattle does, but at least make scarfs a part of the season ticket package! We need more people showing support and the team scarfs are a universal way to show support for a soccer team

--Fan Attendance - apart from the Seattle and NE Revolution home matches, the attendance was very sub-par! Sure the fact that the stadium is not downtown hurts (look at Toronto and Seattle for success with downtown stadiums), but there has got to be some changes with our marketing and advertising strategies.

--Lightrail Train: I know this is not an immediate plan, but public transportation needs to be considered for DSG Park, especially since the stadium is up north in Commerce City! I live in Centennial and drive 30 miles one way. Yes, for me it's worth it but if i could hop on the train i would rather do that!

Finally, it is evident we need a better midfield. I don't want to call out names *cough* Mehdi Ballouchy... (oops) but we need to bring in solid playmakers and more technically skilled players. I don't care where they are from...we can have an 'Arsenal' lineup which is comprised of mainly foreigners...I don't care. But our midfield is very lacking and this was evident when Colin Clark and Jamie Smith went injured.

Yes, there need to be changes and the coaching staff needs to take some responsibility. Gary Smith should continue to lead the team but this late season collapse after decent play throughout the season was INEXCUSABLE!

Please take this feedback to heart and I will see you with my rapids flag and scarf next season.

--Richard Terry, Rapids fan for life (I will always support my Rapids)

Wheels said...

What a disappointing end to the season that looked so promising 6 weeks ago!

Mr. Plush ... please take your staff (and coaches and owner!) to Seattle. Spend some time with Drew Carey and the Sounders owners. Our family went to the Rapids vs. Sounders game in Seattle this summer and we were blown away by the crowd (we helped them break their attendance record by 3 people ... 38,000+ screaming, standing, chanting, scarf-waving fans). They had a marching band that marches from a park a mile away before EVERY home game, basically creating a parade of fans. They have two HUGE and LOUD supporters sections. It was like going to a Broncos game. It was the best experience I have ever had as a soccer fan. Their fans were the definition of the 12th man!

You know what they didn't have? 4 dumb mascots who distract the fans from watching the game.

Seriously considering not spending the money on season tix for next year,

Jason Arneson

Sven said...

As someone who grew up in Denver, and has always been a Rapids fan, it is disappointing for someone like me to see what happened this year. I lived in Kansas City for a little over a year, and I have to say that in my time there, I saw many positive things from the Wizards organization that I haven't seen in my time back here in Denver!
First of all, they are playing in an minor league (independent at that) baseball stadium, and yet they continue to draw well! The fans are not just there physically, but they are there emotionally as well! But when I go to DSG Park, the emotion doesn't seem to be there, and neither do the people! I went to 5 games this year, and every time the numbers of fans seemed to be less and less even though the team was still in playoff contention! I see little advertisement for the team, little mention of them in the media. So my suggestion is this....market the team better! Make it a great alternative to going to a Rockies game, or going to an Outlaws game. The talent we have is good, but we need more! PLEASE turn this team around! NO MORE MEDIOCRITY!!!!! Bring in the fans, bring in the results, and everyone wins!

Teresa said...

I don't any progress with current coaching staff and players. The same plays all the time. Long balls hoping somebody in the other team will make a mistake a drop the ball to our strikers. We need new coaching a few new players with some international talent.

mhhdbh said...

This season was more than a little frustrating for us fans. Where was the desire to win - the fight to te last minute - why are the Rapids seemingly happy with their consistent 'bottom of the pack' position, so they can try to sneak into the playoffs and lose in the first round even if they do get in? Why are players with heart like Terry Cooke 'waived' mid-season. Why doesn't Diz play more - he is big, strong and fast. You can't continually hope to score by trying to bounce the ball off Casey's head if he happens to get into the right position. Basic changes in philosphophy need to happen.

William said...

An owner who spends all his football-related time, money and effort in North London is THE problem. Would you like a controlling interest in Arsenal, Stan? Newsflash: you already have a controlling interest in the Rapids. Exercise it.

Tyler said...
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Tyler said...
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gisman2004 said...

Not to add to the negativity but, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm a season ticket holder and have re-upped for next season but I think that will be the last. I'm convinced this franchise is an experiment by KSE to see how little money they can put into the organization and still be profitable. From the lack of fans at the games, I question if it is profitable. I love soccer -- I'm a player, coach and avid viewer of the Fox Soccer Channel. I became a season ticket holder 3 seasons ago because I wanted to experience the beautiful game live. I wouldn't say I got my money's worth. Seriously, not that I expect EPL caliber play out of the Rapids, but all I see out of the Rapids is a lot of ball-watching with the whole game plan based around hoping that Conor Casey is standing in the right place or can draw a PK. They certainly didn't look or play like they wanted to win and the results show it.
I'm looking for big changes next season -- both on and off the pitch -- or I'm gone. I'd rather spend my hard earned dollars flying to the UK to see some players/coaches/ownership that are hungry to win.

Callahan Law Firm said...

I'm not sure that I agree this is a totally results-oriented business. If that were true, why do so many mid table teams around the world have such large and dedicated supporters. If results were the only thing that matter, why is St. James' Park full despite a lack of results from Newcastle United.

I believe that soccer fans are more sophisticated than, for instance, an American football fan that either loves or hates the Broncos depending on their record. Soccer fans love the process. Soccer fans will hold out hope for a team without results when they see that the team is doing something to change poor results, upholding a unique standard, or showing a love or respect for the beautiful game. Jeff, why do you feel like the fans always keep you to account? It’s because we love the process.

I hear repeatedly from other Rapids fans that they could take the loosing if there was some heart or passion demonstrated by the players. Demonstrating heart and passion is part of the process and is one of those things that can’t be measured, but you know it when you see it. I saw it in New England and Seattle this past weekend. Unfortunately, I saw it in Fake Salt Lake. It had rare glimpses from only a few of our boys, like Kimura and LaBrocca, this past weekend.

Doing something big is part of the process. Other teams are doing something big. Seattle’s use of its DP is huge. Their DP isn’t selling seats like the Beckham stunt did for L.A., but Ljungberg raises the level of the entire team. His passion is evident and it is clear that he leads the team with EPL-like professionalism. Doing something big, like getting a DP, is part of the process and Seattle could have failed to make the playoffs and their fans would still consider 2009 a successful year.

Arsenal have not had stellar results in the most recent years, but they hold up a standard to the world. They play the beautiful game in a unique way – The Arsenal Way. Wenger has refused to buy hardware the way Chelsea has or City is trying to. Hell, even Chelsea and City deserve some respect for doing something and saying “We are …..” I am not aware that the Rapids have any such sense of themselves.

For now, it feels like we don’t have a culture of winning because of a lack of the process. For now, I’m not ready to continue to invest thousands of dollars, as I do each year in season tickets, jerseys, concessions, tailgates, travel, etc…. It feels to me that I am more interested in the process and have more passion invested than some of the major players in our organization on and off the field. It feels like MLS is moving forward and the Rapids are not.

I could be won back easily, but process is what my eye is on more than results. Don’t mistake me, I love to win, but I believe results will follow when the process is on track.

Scott said...

I am honestly laughing at the comment by the RSL fan on here.

I have been around this team since the begining. I still have my 1996 opening day ticket in my collection of tickets. I love this game and I will always support the Rapids. When I went away to college I would still go watch the games as the only rapids fan at the Home Depot Center.

The best thing the rapids front office did this past year was decide to put John Spencer on the wall fo fame.

The best thing that happened for the rapids was Balboa consistently doing a very insightful radio show.

As far as the team is actually concerned I am sure I could critisize a lot of things. I could also pull out some good things. As far as what needs to be done, we need to spend more money on advertising and getting people to the stadium. I often wonder if the players seem to forget to care because there is no one supporting them. At the games I was at I often felt like the only person yelling at the players and refs like it was weird to get all passionate about the game. That needs to change.

I guess that is my two cents.

By the way, why in the world has Pablo not gotten called into the national teem in far too long? I think the US would have beat Mexico in Mexico City if Pablo was there.

Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jonnys303 said...

The first half of the season was outstanding and that was about the point the team fell down. I realize we were bitten bye injury but I also believe that in the professional world of sports that teams must show depth and overcome these obstacles. Injuries are part of the game and should be expected. Losing three of our top mid field players is not a good excuse to fall apart.

I have been a season ticket holder since 2004 and I must say the team's form towards the half way point was very exciting, I venture to say that it was one of the best starts I have seen from this team as far as quality and goal scoring since I have been following the Rapids. I think Garry Smith has done a good job running the team and I wish I could say that the owner of the club has put in as much effort to make this club better. The simple fact is that Stan Kroenke cares more about quantity than quality. What I mean is he seems to be more concerned with how many teams he can acquire rather then giving them the resources they need to become quality. This at least is true for the sport of soccer. He puts no effort in to bringing in a Designated player and I honestly feel sorry for the Arsenal fans if gets into a decision making position at any point. We have seen him go out and buy players for the Avalanche and Nuggets! And What business does he have trying to buy a Premier League team when he doesn't do anything for a club that he already owns. A good start would be to televise the clubs games LIVE on his television channel. I don't care about the home games as much as the away games, perhaps that is because I am usually in attendance but give the team a little support. He doesn't seem to be interested in improving the club. It starts with ownership and unfortunately In Colorado that is where it stops.

One last point I want to touch on is the atmosphere in the stadium.
Part of the success in Toronto, Seattle, Chicago, Columbus is that it is not a child's atmosphere. It is a soccer fan's atmosphere. It seems that we cater to kid's and family outings more so than a True soccer fans that understands the game. They do live in Colorado and I have seen them! We have went the direction of families and children since the beginning an I can't help but notice that when Chivas Guadalajara play we can fill the stadium with fanatics. Let's try to appeal to the real fans that know this game and love it and not the fans of a free ticket.

Chris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
goldboot32 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sandy said...

it's one thing to remove blogs that contain vulgar and offensive language, but otherwise people have a right to voice their opinions. what happened to the petition to fire Jeff Plush?

Peavey said...

I have been going to Rapids games since 1997, and since that time there has been a strange pattern in terms of the team's performance year to year. We are consistently middle-of-the-table, with a good run or 2 each season and a disappointing winless streak that makes it very difficult to make the playoffs. In the years that we have made the post-season, that winless streak put us in the hard position of being a low seed and obviously little post-season success has come to Colorado since the Cup appearance way back when. I was excited at first when KSE bought the franchise, because of the great improvements that happened to the Nuggets (Spending millions on Carmelo Anthony, for instance). It has been disheartening to see that despite all of the changes through the club, nothing has come of it. For whatever reason, the men we put on the pitch always end up underachieving season after season. Something needs to happen to really light a fire under the squad so that they can bring some silverware to Denver. The philosophy of the front office seriously needs an overhaul to give the players and fans a real opportunity to be proud of what the club has accomplished, for once.

Tyler said...

Dear Blog Administrator,

Too bad you can't delete the Rapids loss to RSL this past week as well.

Zing.

tom said...

I did not renew my season tix last year, and will not again this season- I'll watch the Rapids at home on tv here and there when possible. I agree with those who say the team has improved somewhat under Gary Smith- but I think his hands are tied. I agree even more strongly with those who say that there is no sense of strong support from upper management behind this team, in spite of what Jeff's letter claims.

Kevin Payne of DC was fined by the league for calling CO Rapids and NE Revs soccer as bland- something few people would want to watch. Unfortunately, he was right.

Put a good product on the field, invest in this team, and you will win your fans back.

Gabrielcaballero said...

Yes, we need to have better results on the pitch. But we can do it with young players. Teams like Arsenal, don't invest in big names and they are in the top four in Premiership. Rapids promote young lads and it will pay off. You have to be patient with the young players they are the future of the Rapids and the US National team. 100% support to the Rapids and the Young Rapids!

James said...

At midpoint I would have never believed that we would not make the playoffs! Not a single win in the last 7, 1 win is all that it would have taken, yet, we cannot do it.

As for the, excuse me, ownership, you never have spent anything, time, money, other resources, in support of the team. I have known that for a long time, and yet I continue to come back. Even the Rockies made the World series with like-dedication from their owners. So miracles do occur.

How about you take a step, at least this small one.

Convince someone to throw in their name as a sponsor! Put a name on the uniform. I am tired of having to answer the question as to why the Rapids don't have an advertisement on their uniform like all the rest of those real clubs! This from my non-soccer fan friends. Even they notice.

How about at least this one minor step. Stan with all your rich and powerful friends . . .

Heck, then Stan you can buy more shares of that other soccer team. But at least the Rapids will start looking like a real team.

Mr. Smith, I hope you continue with your improvement of the product on the field into the next and future years. There has been a noticable difference and I believe that you were a major part of that since you took over. Even without any additional resources from ownership.

We entered the last week of the season as the ONLY team that had complete control of its playoff hopes and fell 0-3.

Then, hoping for a miracle and a little help. I sat in Columbus Crew stadium cheering for the Crew to beat New England and let us in. But, if you can't help yourself, you can't depend on someone else to do it for you.

As always, maybe next year! Gosh, I hate sounding like a Cub fan. So, no, not maybe! WE WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR.

Just give us something to put on the jersey!

Jordan said...

Hey Rapids fans, the loyal fans of Real Salt Lake get to go to a playoff game today. What are you all doing?

goldboot32 said...

Dear Real Salt Lake fans. Have fun waiting until marrige to bone. Ya'll make me sick. Next time i see one of you at dicks i'm going to punch you in the ugly ass face.

Jordan said...

Last time I was at dicks I didn't see any rapids fans there. Just a bunch of RSL fans and people who could care less about the game.

Bill said...

Jeff,

I have been a season ticket holder since the beginning of the franchise.

I don't think you said much although the gesture was appreciated.

I'm more interested in the status and prognosis of our injured players, and what we are doing to improve this club.

corona680 said...

It was obvious to anyone who watched, that down the stretch we completely folded against inferior teams. As disheartening as this was, not a single post seems to mention the fact that we lost 5 players to major injuries. Any team that loses half of its starting lineup will struggle. Just think what could have happened if Peterson, Clark, Smith, Gibbs, and Pickens hadnt gone down. If anyone really thinks that we wouldnt have scored more goals, or played better defense down the stretch, with these guys on the pitch is crazy. The lack of strong midfield possession without Peterson and Clark put such tremendous pressure on Casey and Cummings to produce, which made it easy for opponents to defend us.

As for attendance, this season was pitiful. How difficult can it be to get fans of the most popular sport in the world to a beautiful stadium that has relatively cheap tickets? I mean seriously? Is it too much to ask for a new marketing director, because our current strategy is clearly lacking. Obviously there are disadvantages to having a stadium that isn't downtown, but that is not an excuse for such lackluster attendance. Our supporters section is in the worst possible location in the seats, and needs to be moved.

It's clear that the players find it tough to show up ready to play when there are less than 5,000 fans at a match. I know personally that this fact alone is most disheartening for many of the players. For any of you who noticed, every match that drew a decent crowd, Kansas City, Chicago, Houston, our boys stepped up their play. The level of energy doubled on the pitch, and we witnessed some much better football. The ownership needs to spend a little more time focusing on their team at home, rather than their team abroad. It wouldnt even take that much effort to double our attendance, I have confidence in that.

In regards to our coach throwing his players under the bus, I think it wasn't the right approach. No doubt he was frustrated at his teams' inability to win even one of their last seven, we all were. But as mentioned earlier in this post, we lost several key players to injury. It was a shame to see Clark go down, yet it gave a talented and speedy Peterson a chance to solidify his spot in the starting 11, where he seems to thrive. When Peterson fell to injury, it seemed that nothing could go right for us. It wasn't that we didnt have good players, we simply lost too many of them to season ending injuries. Clearly a better coach than Clavijo, Smith simply couldnt get it done with such a patchwork lineup late in the season.

All in all, it's not so much that we don't have the pieces in place to have success, more that we don't have the support. The ownership, the fans, the city, none of them are on board. Our mediocrity will continue until we have full support from all three.

WJMarx said...

Mr. Plush:

Your words ring hollow since your action speak louder. This team is forever in rebuilding mode as words spoken have always been cheap rhetoric never to be backed with appropriate action.

I state my simple case with a prior apology to any & all Rapids fans I may offend.

As an owner, Kroenke stinks!
I am a long term Arsenal FC fan dreading any possible take over by this tycoon. Kroenke’s sports mogul history is checkered at best. His personal involvement with the Rapids is nil. His failure at not having met his head coach, Gary Smith is shameful.

As a sports management team, KSE stinks!
Their commitment to the Rapids reflects Kroenke’s total rebuke.

As a GM, Plush, you stink!
Another rebuilding year under your directorship. Having employed an archaic & clandestine method for hiring a mediocre coach. And finally hollow promises are among your contributions to the Rapids.

As technical Director, Bravo Stinks!
Bravo has yet to bring one significant performer to the Rapids. However, he did sign, , an overpaid, underachieving, washed up bench sitter in Noonan, Baudet, a marginal MLS CB and Diz, an Argentine masquerading as a forward.

As Head Coach, Gary Stinks!
Aside from his “cute” accent, Smith, brings nothing to the job. His player selection stinks! His tactics stink! The promotion of his Arsenal background was massively overstated which stinks!

The roster stinks!
At best there are six (6) valuable assets on the roster: Casey, Cummings, Clark, Pickens, LaBrocca & Mastroeni. However, each of these players has significant limitations: Simply stated there is no player on this side around whom a team can be structured & no recognition by the powers to be that this is the case.

Plush, you may continue your rhetoric if you choose but do not think that any Rapids fans are fooled by your carnival huckstering!

FC Denver said...

Jeff-

I disagree with most of the comments here. I thank you for taking the time to make to comment on the team and on the season when it would have been much easier to skip the exercise.

I was a season ticket holder last season and was just as upset and outraged at that time as most are the fans are on this page. I felt the soccer was poor, the passion suspect, and coaching was absent. I decided not to renew my season tix and although I do not regret that decision, I feel that there were important positives to come out of this season.

I feel that the team was organized, passionate, and competitive. Gary Smith has done a great job with this group and I look forward to the continued progression of the team. This season brought back my interest in the team even though we didn't achieve our team goals. We were a couple of players and/or a couple less injuries away from being a cup competitive team.

As another writer on this page mentioned, if you put good soccer on the field, the fans will come back. I feel that we took an important step in that direction this season.

LEGION 5280 said...

Jeff,

Thank you for taking the time to write this letter, we appreciate this open form of communication with the fans and supporters.

Perhaps, everybody seems to have a reason why this season wasn’t successful and solutions suggested are countless and free.

We also want to thank all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I can relate to you and you have the right to decide weather you continue to enjoy this beautiful sport.

I apologize in advance, I don’t intend to lecture you, just want to share my point of view.

Legion 5280 I believe is the smallest supporter group within the Front Range. However, we are known to be passionate about the Club. Supporting it is our life’s essence.

I want to share my passion and make everyone understand what it is about.

Fan Vs Supporter - What's The Difference?
I'm not saying that one is better than the other, just that there is an important difference.
What is the difference between the two?
Well, it's in the words. A fan likes something, a supporter actively supports it. A regular fan wouldn't drive 8 hours to support the Colorado Rapids in the freezing temperatures of Salt Lake City.
What do Supporters do differently?
Passion. Dedication. Loyalty.
Take a club like Club America-Mexico City for example. They have by far the most fans in Mexico, but only a small group of true Supporters. The fans buy lots of merchandise and visit the home matches, and usually refer to the team, not the club. The fan idolizes players, but often knows little about the club's history. When a club doesn't do well, more and more seats will be empty, whereas the section of the Supporters is as full as ever.
The Mindset
A Supporter loves the club, not the team and its players. Those are mercenaries who do not identify with the club and will transfer as soon as more money is offered.
To a Supporter, it's all about the club, not the team.
A fan sees this as a hobby or casual entertainment. But Supporters take it seriously. No matter where or when the club plays, or how important the match is, the Supporter is there. A lot of times this means sacrificing other aspects of his/her life - work, school, family, and friends. That's because words like loyalty and honor still have meaning. A Supporter will defend the club's name if necessary, without getting it into trouble.
To the Supporter the club is a lifestyle.
The Supporter supports the team throughout the entire match, regardless of the score or the performance. Because the team needs the support the most when things are not going well. That is not to say that displeasure can't be voiced. But the support of the team always comes first.
Simply singing or shouting is not enough. Every word uttered and every song sung has to be filled with all of the Supporter's energy and passion. Even if the players on the field don't care, it is done for the club's honor and for the Supporter’s entire honor.
Sing until your lungs burn and you are ready to puke.
Supporters look at everything the club does objectively and is not afraid to be critical. It is up them to protect the club's values and integrity and to carry them on with their actions.
Should a decision of the club clashes with the Supporter's believes, but benefits the club in the long run, the Supporter has to put his/her own interest aside.
Everything the Supporter does have to be in the club's best interest.
All of these traits are vital. I have known people who went to every Club America match, but didn't support. There were those who sang passionately, but only cherry-picked a few matches a year, exactly the same here in Denver with the Colorado Rapids.
Unfortunately there seems to be a pre-meditated disconnection going on against the Supporters here. The Colorado Rapids FO wants to replace us with customers who will shell out money without asking questions or criticizing.
Rest assured that Legion 5280 will continue its passion and loyalty to the Club, regardless…

David Fagoaga on behalf of Legion 5280
crapidsloyal@gmail.com

ARSENAL JUNKY said...

GO ARSENAL!!! Who are these Rapids blokes?

Guyer said...

Good Job Jeff and Rapids crew. I was just thinking another season is about to start and am glad we didn't have to read another one of these in 2010!! Best of luck as we head for the 2011 kickoff.

Go Rapids.