“I just want to thank everyone I can. My family. My coaches. And just everyone who helped me get to where I am today.”
Putting pen to paper on Friday afternoon, Sam Vines is now the youngest player to sign with the Colorado Rapids at the age of 18 years, 267 days. His contract as a Homegrown player is for three-years.
“There’s an old soccer adage, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, and that definitely applies to Sam," says Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Padraig Smith.
"I’ve been fortunate to watch his development and his rise through the ranks the last couple of years. Whether it’s getting back into the national team, the US national team, or working his way in, getting into the training sessions with the first team. So he deserves this.”
Since he was 14 years old, Vines and his family have made countless sacrifices to help him reach his goal.
They drove every day from their hometown of Colorado Springs to Commerce City in order to train with the Rapids Developmental Program.
He turned down "too many to count" scholarship offers.
In his final two years of high school, the Vines homeschooled Sam so he could focus on his soccer training.
Now all of those sacrifices are being paid off in full.
“It’s been just a lot of hard work. A lot of learning from older guys, especially training with the first team."
The left back has been a regular with the U.S. National Team youth squads, and last year he was named to the National Development Academy Best XI.
Vines says he has felt a part of the team for several years now and "fits right in".
He joined the first team in Arizona for preseason after the first week but it has not been confirmed if the defender will suit up for Tuesday's game against Toronto FC. It will be the Rapids' second leg of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 series.
But when he does finally take to the pitch as a Rapid, it'll be a day he never forgets.
“That’s going to be amazing. That’s probably the best day of my life. Just putting on the jersey and representing the club. It’s going to be amazing.”