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Rapids part ways with Gary Smith

Gary Smith (

When a story surfaced almost a month ago detailing issues between Colorado head coach Gary Smith and technical director Paul Bravo, it was clear one of them wouldn't be back for 2012.

As it turns out, Smith will be the one not returning.

The Colorado Rapids parted ways with Smith on Monday, announcing that they would not renew the contract of the coach who led the Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup title.

Source told SBI last month that Rapids officials believed Smith was instrumental in leaking the story to the Denver Post of the conflict between Smith and Bravo, a move apparently aimed at putting pressure on the Rapids to make a decision between keeping Smith and keeping Bravo. Ultimately, Colorado chose to keep Bravo, and cut its ties with Smith, who has been the team's coach since taking over as interim head coach for Fernando Clavijo in 2008.

Ultimately, Smith seemed destined to leave the club once he failed to agree to a new contract after leading the Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup title.

Who will the Rapids turn to now? Assistant coach Steve Guppy is one possibility, while former Colorado Rapids player and Chicago Fire head coach Denis Hamlett is among the list of potential candidates for the position.

What do you think of this development? Think the Rapids made a mistake letting Smith go, or do you think Smith's impact on the Rapids was overrated by the team's surprising MLS Cup title run?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Dumb Dumb move. Gary made the best trades i’ve seen as a rapids fan. Larentowitz and Wells Thompson for Gibbs and Burpo. Wynne for i believe Labrocca. Kandji for Ballouchy. Moor for Ugo, good for both teams. Although others may have helped with trades i give all credit to Gary. The front office has yet to put money or seemingly consideration into the team. Hopefully we get a quality coach. Kronke is hated.

  2. Yeah… how about the fact he took the team to the quarters in the CCL?

    There’s no way Winter is leaving TFC in 2012. The team had more than 1 coach per year since its inception… they know stability is needed.

    Thankfully TFC looked good in the second half of the season, after they made some good trades.

  3. It’s amazing that a head coach can go from the penthouse to the outhouse so quickly. Something is just wrong in Colorado……

  4. Bravo was abyssmal as the Galaxy’s “director of football” in 2008.

    I wonder if Garber actually cares about Colorado, since it’s not as big a market as L.A. or N.Y. (though Denver isn’t exactly a small town). Or does Garber only care about somebody who has enough money to keep a franchise from folding? This is the exact same situation w/Vergara and Chivas USA.

  5. If what you’re saying is accurate, what a shame the club has brought to the league. Obviously an overhaul of the club from the top to the bottom is needed.

  6. And so begins the Rapids slow descent into mediocrity. I remember when Doug Hamilton fired Sigi Schmidt, and I thought “what was he thinking?” Then a double whammy when he hires Steve Sampson, who, on the shoulders of the team that Sigi built, won the MLS CUP!. But it soon became clear that Hamilton’s decision was a bad one and Sampson was gone and soon Mr. Hamilton would pass away, leaving the front office bereft on any real decision making ability and so the once mighty Galaxy sank into mediocrity for several years.Yeah, the Alexi Lalas era did bring a bold move with Beckham, but he also brought in a slew of dud coaches and only until the emergence, of Bruce Arena, did the Galaxy get back to the level that Sigi Schmidt brought them to.

    I see the same for Colorado. Unless Bravo and Kroenke makes a bold decision to bring in a real experienced coach, one with an excellent performance record in building teams, look for Colorado to sink. And with Kroenke “hands-off” attitude with his teams, this leaves Bravo to make the decisions, and, I’m sorry to say, he may not be up to it.

  7. im guessing that Gary saw the magic of last years playoffs dissipate and realized that it was time to either push the front office to do something or jump to the next stage of his career.

    The Rapid’s FO are not the most innovative group and I bet they aren’t the easiest to work with either .. so good for Gary Smith! best of luck on your next gig

  8. I have to say I’m puzzled by this. Smith won a championship with a team that apparently refuses to spend (I find it hard to ever believe the coach isn’t willing to spend on players if he has money), offers their staff very little support, and has an owner who has more interest in Arsenal’s youth academy than he does in Colorado’s first team. This just sounds like a bad idea overall, especially when Hamlett is your top candidate. I’m a Chicago Fire fan and there’s a reason most of us wanted him out.

  9. As a Rapids season ticket holder (and regular attendee since 1996) here’s what I have observed over the past few years: One of the lowest payrolls in soccer, one of the lowest paying Head Coaching jobs in soccer, no friendlies for at least the past 2 seasons, no DP’s, no shirt sponsor, very little PR and marketing, Kroenke’s extremely rare presence at matches, and the list goes on. Is the issue that Kroenke won’t fork over the money (because he keeps buying shares in Arsenal) that would allow for Jeff Plush and his team to keep up with the more forward-thinking teams in the league and stay competitive, or is it that Kroenke won’t spend the $ AND Jeff Plush and his crew just have no clue?

    Either way, I wish Gary Smith all the best. Considering the Rapids have starters with some of the lowest and most shambolic salaries in MLS it is amazing and something akin to miraculous that he led them to an MLS Cup.

  10. Wow. I don’t know the details over the differences, but Smith made Colorado a contender these last few years. Unless Smith was so incredibly difficult to work with that he was a detriment to have around, I would think a team would let go of anyone else BUT your successful head coach.

    Best of luck to Smith in any event. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and I’m sure a couple others may end up giving him a good hard look in the offseason.

  11. I’m not a Rapids fan, but I’d like to thank Gary for helping the Rapids to win a “MLS CUP” for once. I wish Mr. Gary Smith and the Colorado Rapids success in their future endeavors.


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