COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — The Colorado Rapids signed 16-year-old forward Darren Yapi to a five-year contract, the youngest player to sign a pro deal in the club’s history.
The team announced the deal with the home-grown player Wednesday. It includes a club option for an addition season.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Yapi spent last season training with the Rapids first team along with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks, the club’s affiliate in the second tier USL Championship. He signed a deal with the Switchbacks on July 31, leading to his pro debut on Aug. 1 at 15 years old. Yapi ended up earning Rapids Academy player of the year honors.
“He possesses all the necessary qualities to reach the very top of the game and we’re excited to see Darren’s continued growth at the club,” Colorado general manager said Pádraig Smith in a statement.
From the Denver area, Yapi joined the Rapids Academy during the 2016-17 season in the under-12 age group. He becomes the 14th Rapids Academy player to sign a Homegrown contract with Colorado.
Yapi made three appearances for the U.S. under-17 youth national team during the UEFA development tournament in February last year.
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