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Obama congratulates 2010 MLS Cup-champion Rapids at White House

RapidsObama (Getty Images)


WASHINGTON — The team that finally got over the hump earned their moment with the leader of the free world.

Clad in gray suits, the Colorado Rapids were honored in the East Room of the White House by President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon for winning the 2010 MLS Cup a little more than seven months ago at BMO Field in Toronto.

"The may not be household names, but the great thing about sports is that in the end, it doesnt really matter," President Obama said. "What matters is how well the team can come together when the chips are down, and that's exactly what the Rapids did."

Accompanied by owner Stan Kroenke, the Rapids presented Obama with his own No. 10 Rapids jersey, to which the president replied, "Me and Messi."

Obama congratulated captain Pablo Mastroeni, "who played 286 games over 13 years before finally winning the title." He referred to Mastroeni as "Pablo, the captain" instead of having a go at pronouncing his last name.

"It was in his best interest not to," joked Mastroeni, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001 and stressed the personal significance of getting the chance to meet the president.

"Ever since becoming naturalized and joining the national team shortly after, the national anthem has meant a lot to me," Mastroeni said. "I'm so grateful to this country to give me the opportunity to play here, and so just coming in here in front of if not the most powerful man, one of the more wonderful people in his position, it all comes full circle."

Obama also singled out Conor Casey, Omar Cummings, Mac Kandji, Kosuke Kimura and Wells Thompson in his address.

"This is special in a different way, not so much soccer-wise, just in terms of a life experience," Casey said. "It's cool to be able to celebrate with my teammates and be in the White House, see all the history inside there. It's definitely cool to have your name dropped from the president."

Obama also pointed out the fact that the Rapids were the second-worst team, record-wise, in the postseason, and he marvelled at the cultural makeup of the team, calling it "a mini United Nations."

Following the address, the Rapids conducted a clinic on the South Lawn with children who have parents in the military. The Rapids were presented with their championship rings prior to the ceremony at the White House.

In the 2010 title game, the Rapids defeated FC Dallas, 2-1, in extra time, with Kandji's cross deflecting off FCD defender George John for a championship-deciding own goal.

David Ferreira opened the scoring by volleying home a cross in the 35th minute, but Casey equalized 12 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for a dramatic finish.

"They showed up in close games, they clawed back from behind," Obama said. "When the clock ran out, the Rapids were the best team in American soccer."


  1. Until Dads start taking their kids (who like soccer) to soccer games instead of baseball games (which dads like) not much is going to change.

  2. Folan and Marshall are thugs also…Jeff L is learning from Pablo. I have to give them props for stifiling the competition last year though

  3. Not only did the Rapids beat red hot Dallas, red hot San Jose, and Columbus in the playoffs, but they also pounded the Supporter Shield winning LA team two games before the playoffs started.

  4. I don’t know if Dyron is a “eurosnob” or not, but I am an avid supporter of MLS and agree with everything he said except for the piece putting down the MLS Cup. MLS Cup is a meaningful trophy, and is our own American playoffs take for soccer.

  5. Thugs? 7 teams who have played the same amount OR LESS matches than the Rapids this year have MORE fouls so far. How about Fouls Suffered? Only 1 team has suffered more fouls per game than the Rapids this year.

    Seriously people, calling the Rapids thugs because of an old reputation (Pablo), physical play no different than any other big target forward (Casey) and one terrible red card (Mullan) is a joke.

  6. That’s a nice try there, Rick, but I’m pretty sure the MLS Cup winners are still considered the champions of the league.

  7. It’s definitely not “faux-patriotism.” If you actually read the post with some sense of humor, it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I even recognized Messi as the best player in the world…or did you not get that far…

  8. Do L.A. Galaxy get a visit to the White House too? Their achievement last year was more impressive imo. Tired of being told by marketers that MLS Cup is the most important American trophy.

  9. I’m not sure if you should lower your dosage or increase it bro bro but Cmon you need to be prescribed something…try some Eurosnobacillin.

  10. “Accompanied by owner Stan Kroenke, the Rapids presented Obama with his own No. 10 Rapids jersey, to which the president replied, ‘Me and Messi.'”

    So instead of using an American player that wears #10 (like Landon Donovan or going back to the Claudio Reyna days) Obama uses a player that has zero affiliation with the US…even though he is the best player in the world…but still. To quote the ESPN crew “C’mon man!”

  11. …turned into thugs? Have you never seen the rapids play before this year? Casey is the dirtiest forward in the league. And by dirty, I mean elbows and fists. And Mastroeni’s greatest skill is kicking the opposing team.

    …”turned into thugs”…Comedy!

  12. Turned into? They turned into thugs when Clavijo became their manager years ago and it has never stopped. They have been the biggest hackers in the league for years.

  13. Kroenke’s time at the meet and greet was the longest he’s ever been around the clubs players.

    Maybe he thought it was a gathering for Arsenal?

    I’m just disappointed he didn’t rock the highway patrolman glasses ala the epic picture Ives posted awhile back

  14. I know, right?

    Let’s ignore the mediocre club that got hot for a couple weeks and won a cliche end of the season tournament trophy in a league less popular than hockey in our country.

    EVERYONE clearly should know their household names. The president was clearly off in that assessment.

    I love the sport, follow our league and I could barely rattle off three names on that squad.

    But “under the radar”? They’re at the friggin white house bro bro. Cmon.

  15. “The may not be household names, but the great thing about sports is that in the end, it doesnt really matter,”

    I wish we could stop hearing about how soccer is such an under the radar sport.


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