The first MLS trade of 1997 was made Jan. 7, as the San Jose Clash sent all-star forward Paul Bravo and defender Rafael Amaya to the Colorado Rapids for former U.S. national team midfielder Dominic Kinnear and a second-round pick in the 1998 MLS supplemental draft.
In Bravo, Colorado receives the ninth-leading scorer in MLS' inaugural campaign. He led the Clash with 13 goals, including four against the Rapids.
Amaya, who appeared in six games for San Jose, returns home to Colorado, where he has spent the past eight years teaching, coaching, and promoting soccer.
"Adding players of this caliber to our core of players does two things," said new Rapids coach Glenn Myernick. "First, with Bravo, we greatly increase the depth, experience, and finishing ability of our 20-man roster, and even more importantly, with Amaya, we bring back to Colorado an individual with the strongest community ties I've ever seen."
Kinnear, who has made 56 appearances for the U.S. national team, will be reunited with Clash coach Laurie Calloway, for whom he played on the 1991 APSL champion S.F. Bay Blackhawks.
"Dominic is a winner, the kind of player who makes everyone around him better," said Calloway. "Brining him in solidifies our midfield and makes us much more dangerous on the attack. He has great touch. He's the kind of midfielder we need to create more opportunities for Eric (Wynalda) and our other players up front."
Kinnear was limited to just 14 games with Colorado last season because of a knee injury, for which he underwent reconstructive surgery.
"Dominic has been working with (Clash trainer) Bruce Morgan during the offseason, and his knee is stronger than ever," said Calloway. "I think he will be at the top of his game by the time our season starts."