With 12 games remaining in the regular season, Rapids icon Pablo Mastroeni saw his four-year career as the Rapids head coach come to an end on Tuesday.
But with all endings come new beginnings.
Long time assistant Steve Cooke was elevated to interim head coach following Mastroeni's release. A Sheffield, England native, Cooke has been with Colorado since 2010 in various roles. The players know him, they know what he is about and even before Pablo’s firing Cooke was very much in control of the training sessions. So in all reality, there was not a major adjustment period.
Earlier this week, 9NEWS Sports caught up with Cookie (his given nickname by players and friends) as he begins his first stint as a Major League Soccer head coach.
Cealey Godwin, 9NEWS Sports Reporter: "Was there a little bit of shock, not only for you but for the players when you told them on Wednesday [following the head coach announcement]?
Steve Cooke, Rapids interim head coach: “I’m certain there is shock. Because when a great person loses their position it’s not a great moment for anybody. This is not somebody who lost the locker room. When you look at the players, they always gave everything for Pablo and for the team and for each other. And I think the players have been really professional in their approach. They’ve embraced the change which is always important and I think they’re reactions this week have been nothing but first class.”
CG: "You have tons of experience behind you, 20 years of experience both in England and here, are you ready for this role?"
SC: “Ready yes. Excited yes. And I think it’s a challenge. It’s an opportunity to really take the club in a new direction. My job as the interim is not to worry about myself, my career, my future is not important right now. I think I’ll be just fine.”
CG: "Is it going to be strange for you?"
SC: “It’s going to be different. I’m going to be dressed in a different outfit. I probably gotta go home today and pick something out that looks at least a little bit presentable.”
CG: "You don’t have a suit yet?"
SC: “I have a lot of suits but I just don’t wear them very often."
CG: "Now a lot more eyes are going to be on you. You okay with that?"
SC: “I understand that this week a lot of attention will be on me but for me, as soon as Saturday evening rolls around the attention is firmly focused on every player and the team you know, performing to their maximum potential.”
On Saturday night, the fans got their first look at their new coach against D.C. United. Unfortunately the Rapids fell 1-0 to the team with the worst record in the MLS.
The Rapids head to Portland on Wednesday, August 23.
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