It is a bit of a family reunion in Colorado this Holiday weekend as the Rapids finally welcome Nashville SC into DSGP for the first time. Old-timers (like myself) will see a few familiar names on the staff as the visitors are led by Head Coach Gary Smith, and assistant Steve Guppy, Matt Pickens, and Kosuke Kimura, all of whom were part of the 2010 MLS Cup winning side in Colorado.
Another member of that historic squad is Colorado’s own Drew Moor, who has fond memories of that group and is looking forward to welcoming his old mates back to the stadium where they won it all—at least after the final whistle on Saturday. “Just great memories,” Drew tells Burgundy Wave thinking back on that team. “I’m happy to call them my friends. I haven’t seen those guys in a long time, so it’ll be good to see them and reconnect a little bit. You always want to beat your buddies when you’re playing against them, but they’ve done extremely well. From a personal standpoint, I can’t wait to hug them and see how they’re all doing.”
“That was certainly a prime in my career, I would say where I was playing well, I was growing a lot. Gary was a huge part of my career; winning a Championship is always special, but even more than that is the relationships I developed with him and Steve, obviously Matt and Kosuke.”
The veteran Colorado Rapids defender, now in his 10th season in Colorado and 18th in MLS, is a prime example of what a veteran leader can be regardless of how many minutes he sees or doesn’t see in matches. For his part, Drew has seen a lot of both, featuring in over 430 total matches including playoffs and over 17,000 minutes in MLS.
They seem like just numbers in print, but to think of them over a career and the fact that only a handful of players can touch those numbers it’s an even more impressive feat. Although, to Drew, it means something a little different. “I look at those numbers and think I feel very blessed and fortunate and lucky that I’ve played for some good organizations, for some amazing coaches, with some great teammates, great fan bases, and people that have believed in me.”
In exactly the humble, gracious way you’d expect from Moor, he continues, “I’ve dedicated everything I have to being a good professional and playing in so many games. Hopefully, some other players look at that and feel like they’ll want to do the same things.”
That responsibility is never really required, or even asked of Drew; however, it’s one he feels willing and able to take on by something as simple as the way he goes about his own business. “I have a lot of jobs here, but my number one job is to be the best center back I can be….try to win a starting spot, try to perform at a high level, and help the team in that way.”
“If you’re not a good example on the field playing – with the work you put in, the concentration you put it, trying to compete and win starting spots regardless of what the starting team is – you’ve already not been a great example for the young guys. From there, be a good teammate, be a voice, be somebody who can help not just the young guys, but the older guys as well, but absolutely be the best center back I can possibly be.”
Drew has said it before and he’ll say it again—MLS is a grind. However, he loves his job, he loves putting in the work, and he loves the satisfaction he gets from that. “I have a long list of people to thank, but I continue to be motivated every day to do my best and improve. Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something or try to improve on my own. It’s a game that changes, a group that changes, and it will keep you on your toes.”
“I do come in here every day with a smile, but it doesn’t mean I’m feeling great every day; sometimes you have to fake it,” he says with a self-deprecating laugh. “That positive energy can be contagious, and it can spread throughout the group at all times of the season.“
You have to think that will, in some large part, be missed when Moor decides to call an end to the grind of MLS and his playing career. Don’t expect any retirement tour just yet, though, as even he doesn’t really know what lies ahead of the next match.
“If I think about what’s next after my playing career, I immediately start to miss being a player. That doesn’t mean I won’t look forward to moving into what’s next when the time comes, but while I’m doing this, I want to give it everything I’ve got. You only have one career really. While I’m playing I have to be sure that when I do finish, I have to be proud of everything I put into it.”
“I’ve made no decision on my career,” Moor admits. “I’m just taking it one day at a time, I have been for a couple of years now. I think there are more days behind me than in front of me in my career so you have to enjoy it.”
“I still put pressure on myself for sure, but I’ve let some of the little things go that I know I can’t control and that’s just something you learn over a career. It’s a microcosm for everybody’s life – you can’t control everything – so you’ve got to enjoy the things you can. I try to pick and choose the right times to let some things go that maybe my younger self wouldn’t have, whether that’s blasting a referee, blasting a teammate on the field, whatever it is,” Moor tells fans, sounding like the Dad he proudly is.
As far as the current Rapids and their fight in 2022, Drew is not surprised at the way the team has come through a very difficult period in the last two weeks, with a congested schedule, weird travel adjustments, and very difficult opponents.
“This team always handles everything well, including a bit of adversity with a busy schedule. This team has incredible character from the individuals to the group. I feel like Robin and the staff, all the way up to Padraig, have done such a good job of bringing in people that can battle adversity.”
“The concentration hasn’t dropped,” Drew reassures fans. “We’re coming into a little bit of a break, which I think will be good for us both physically and mentally. I don’t always like breaks, but you’ve got to take advantage of it, get away from it for a couple of days if you can because it’s a long season.”
Before that break, however, there’s some business to attend to in welcoming back old friends while trying to extend Colorado’s home unbeaten streak to 24 matches on Saturday.