After being traded from his hometown FC Dallas in July 2018, Kellyn Acosta is finally getting acclimated to life in Colorado.
That includes adjusting from life in downtown compared to the spread out suburbs in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. Acosta wants to continue learning about his new home, planning cities to visit within the state.
“It’s different,” Acosta told Pro Soccer USA during a phone interview. “I grew up in the suburbs and did all my stuff in the suburbs and now I’m in downtown. Finding a parking spot is a little bit tough. Every little thing that you don’t think about is a lot tougher living her in downtown. Knowing the area, trying to find spots to go because I had my go-to spots in Frisco to eat, to shop, to do whatever. Now, I ask around; where should I go, what should I do. I’m gonna go here, now I need the maps to get to and from places. That’s a challenge, but it’s exciting. It’s been cool getting to know Denver and traveling around.”
He will have some more time to explore after signing an extension with the Colorado Rapids in February, locking up a three-year contract alongside Diego Rubio and Keegan Rosenberry. Under EVP and General Manager Padraig Smith, the Rapids have acquired new pieces in hopes of revamping the team that was second to last in the Western Conference. Acosta said he believes in Smith’s vision, which led him to agree to a new deal.
“They gave me the opportunity to be here and they have complete belief in me,” Acosta said. “The way they structured the team, it gave me a positive feeling for the future. This is an environment that has been growing and I want to be part of the future of it.”
Part of the change Smith wants to bring is the signing of homegrown players. Smith signed midfielder Cole Bassett to an HG deal last season and added Sam Raben and Matt Hundley this past offseason. Acosta is used to being around homegrowns, being apart of the FC Dallas academy. He was a model for those players in the academy and hopes to continue that with the Rapids.
“My story can be an example to those guys, for guys like Cole, coming through the academy and playing on the youth national team,” Acosta said. “The sky’s the limit. I can help them in many ways because I’ve been in their situation. I’ve been in their shoes. I know what it takes. I know it’s tough and hard and it’s a battle everyday, just to get on the bench and it’s even a harder balance to get on the field. I’m trying to help those guys as much as possible, I’m always here and it helps when you have a guy like Tim here where he’s played at the highest level for so many years. I guess I’m an easier guy to talk to, where I’m kind of closer in age. Times have changed, but like I said, I’m just trying to use my story to help benefit those guys in the long run.”
Acosta has been growing the chemistry with his new teammates, who have had some early moments to come together. The team came back to tie Portland twice down a man in the snow for a 3-3 draw. A gritty performance against Sporting Kansas City saw them take the lead first before allowing a late Johnny Russell free kick for a 1-1 result.
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“It helps when you have guys on your team that are very personable,” Acosta said. “They’re easy to get along with. Coming in, I knew the quality that Kei, Diego, Nico, Benny, and Keegan bring to the table. For me, my biggest thing was for us to be successful, I need to connect with those guys right away. Whether it was getting to know them off the field, knowing what their habits are on the field, knowing where they want the ball.”
“I’ve been trying to adjust my game so I can bring out the best of myself and bring out the best in them. You lump it up to the big boy Kei, get it to Benny’s feet, get Diego in front of goal, help Keegan defend all those things. As the season goes on, we’ll get more chemistry and get more acclimated with each other and it will be a great partnership in the making.”
The Rapids last playoff appearance came in 2016 under Pablo Mastroeni. Acosta wants to help change the culture, as the Rapids have been cellar dwellers during last two seasons. He doesn’t want the Rapids to surprise people. He wants them to be competitive week in and week out.
“We’re changing how people view us as a team,” Acosta said. “We don’t want to be viewed as a team that you don’t know what’s gonna happen with us, either we’re gonna be good or bad. We’re going to be a team that’s going to be consistently good. That’s obviously going to take playing well during the season. We want to change the way how people judge us and right now, we can defiantly do better now but like I said, we’re trying change how people view us.”