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The moment Pablo Mastroeni began to think he had a chance at being the Colorado Rapids head coach, he wasn't blowing a whistle or running a drill.

He was holding a lunch tray.

"It was weird," Mastroeni said Monday. "We were in Tucson for a preseason tournament, and we had been there for 10 days. It was long, and I'm sure everyone wanted to get home. But the buzz in the lunch room, with the guys who had been grinding it out. ... You could just hear the positive energy within the group. I started to think 'I might have a chance here.'"

Mastroeni's first training session as head coach officially began Monday just before noon. The newest coach in Major League Soccer, Mastroeni says he studied his coaches in the past, trying to figure out which philosophies fit his style. The fact Colorado is the place where he gets to test those philosophies is a dream come true.

"My kids were born here," says Mastroeni. "My wife and I moved here when we were recently married. To have Colorado be our home for these years, it's something that I think we would have never dreamed of. There is no better place for us as a family, and for me as a professional."

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