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Colorado Rapids Say Goodbye to Veteran Cooke
MLSnet.com, July 29th, 2009 3:02PM

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On Tuesday, The Colorado Rapids released Terry Cooke, one of their most popular and long-serving players, to make room for Scottish striker Jamie Smith. The 32-year-old midfielder had played in just 10 of the Rapids first 18 games, making five starts, well behind the pace that saw him log his 100th match with the Rapids earlier in the year, his fifth season with the club. Cooke led the Rapids in assists last season, and was also No. 3 in the league. But Rapid's coach Gary Smith has been more reluctant to play Cooke this year, a decision that has frustrated many Rapids fans.

"The crux of it is, Terry's not played an awful lot of [soccer] this year," Smith said. "He's obviously one of the bigger earners. My thoughts were that we really needed to look toward the future. In Jamie Smith, that we've brought in from Aberdeen, I hope we've got an individual that will be able to achieve what Terry's achieved in the years that he's been here. Because of [Smith's] age he's got more in front of him."

The Rapid's coach also lamented the way MLS's contractual constrictions forced a decision that he called "extremely tough." "The reality is, this league, and the rules that surround it with regard to contract, and semi-guarantees, and waivers, is very different to Europe," Smith said. "It breeds a lack of stability for players at times. It's a shame. But what I don't want to detract from is the fact that Terry's been a good servant of the club. He's played some good [soccer] for the club. He's been one of those characters that I think quite a few fans have gotten on board with, and he's entertained them. But what I do hope in the future is that some of those same people can get behind some of the up and coming players that we've got."

 

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