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Colorado Rapids bolster defense with top picks in 2020 MLS SuperDraft

The Rapids have been using the offseason to improve the club’s back line, and that continued at the college draft.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – In the opening rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, the Colorado Rapids focused on bolstering its defense, consistent with the club’s earlier moves this offseason.

Colorado’s highest pick was 11th overall, which it traded to expansion franchise Nashville SC for $75,000 in General Allocation Money, and Colorado later traded that same amount to the Montreal Impact in exchange for right back Jeremy Kelly from the University of North Carolina. Montreal had originally selected Kelly with the ninth overall pick.

“I didn’t expect anything else to happen once I was picked by Montreal, but then my agent told me I had been traded to the Rapids,” Kelly told the Rapids website. “I’m excited to be with the Rapids.”

Kelly is expected to be a depth piece at right back behind Keegan Rosenberry. In Rosenberry’s first season with Colorado last year, he started all 34 games, logging 3060 minutes.

“(Kelly) is a tenacious defender,” executive vice president and GM Pádraig Smith said. “He is very smart and intelligent, plays with a lot of urgency and looks to play out of the back. That is very important to us. He also played in the midfield as well, so that showed his versatility.”

Later in the draft, Colorado selected defender Robin Afamefuna in the second round with the 37th overall pick. A product of Borussia Monchengladbach’s youth acadamey, Afamefuna was one of two UVA players to start all 17 regular season games for the Cavliers, who finished NCAA runners-up in 2019.

The MLS SuperDraft concludes with the final two rounds Monday, where Colorado holds the 63rd and 87th overall picks.  

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