COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Imagine being invited to a local pick-up game by Cole Bassett of the Colorado Rapids. Then imagine head coach Robin Fraser watching you play in said game and eventually he signs you to an MLS contract.
That’s what happened to 19-year old midfielder, Denver’s own, Oliver Larraz
Larraz has in some way, shape or form been involved with the Colorado Rapids since he was 9 years old, both as an academy player and an occasional ball boy.
"You always kind of have self-confidence and know that it might be something special but there’s always a lot of doubt. I was at least hoping that I could make it to where I am," Larraz said.
This past March, Larraz inked a homegrown contract with Colorado, the 13th Rapids Academy product to sign a homegrown deal.
"Just coming into a team where everybody knows your name and everybody kind of knows your story is nice and you can turn to your left and have a friend and turn to your right and have a friend. So that was definitely helpful," he said.
Against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Larraz officially made his debut at 19 years old. You heard that right...19!
"I just try to keep my name in my hat and I got my chance which was really nice," he said. "I was obviously a bit nervous but I just thought if you go as hard as you can nobody will call you out for anything. That definitely clicked as 'You’re in it. You’re in the MLS now.'"
One of the best parts about this whole experience is that when the youngster checked in, he subbed out his midfielder mentor, captain Jack Price.
"Jack’s definitely my mentor on the team. He’s a really good friend, too. He’s just been super supportive the whole way through and helping me through things coaching me through little things. He just said go out there and do what you do."
Larraz says the goal now is simple: get more minutes. The best part is, if and when he does get those minutes, a lot of them will be played in the city where he grew up.
"Every soccer player’s dream is to play in front of your hometown. It’s a great feeling to have those people that brought you up, see you in that position. It’s the first step of hopefully many."
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