Football

Kevin Doyle Reveals How Colorado Rapids Coaxed Him To Denver

Kevin Doyle Reveals How Colorado Rapids Coaxed Him To Denver

Former Ireland international and Ladbrokes ambassador Kevin Doyle joined Mark and Mick on The Buildup podcast again this week, and the lads had an in-depth discussion about the striker's time playing for the Colorado Rapids in the MLS.

The conversation covered hit on lots of different aspects of his stint at the club, from the differences between football in the US and the UK to that Sean St Ledger photo with Taylor Swift. Indeed the story of how the move came about is an interesting one.

In January of 2015, Doyle had just returned from a tumultuous loan spell at Crystal Palace. An unfortunate groin injury had limited him to only five appearances throughout his entire stint there. Returning to Wolves, Doyle recognised his career with the club would likely be over and was planning his next step once his contract expired that season.  Following the closure of the transfer window, however, Doyle received an unexpected offer from the Colorado Rapids.

Despite knowing a transfer was necessary, the Wexford man immediately dismissed the move.

"I'd not heard anything of Colorado, I'd never thought of playing in the MLS. I had another baby, second child coming and I said no. I just said, 'No lads thanks for the offer but it's just not the right time'. It was not an option, not a runner. I didn't think about it for 5 seconds, just turned it down."

Colorado Rapids sporting director Padraig Smith wasn't dissuaded by Doyle's concrete refusal. Smith had previously met Doyle through his time working with the FAI and decided to contact his club.

Wolves agreed that Doyle could visit Colorado for a day or two if they could reach an agreement over the transfer. Smith called Doyle and convinced him to visit the club for one day along with his brother.

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Colorado Rapids flew Doyle in to view their training facilities, brought him to an NBA game, and then to see the ice-hockey team. He was incredibly impressed by the area:

"I'd never been to Colorado before, Never been to Denver. So I knew nothing about the place, hadn't got a clue.  I was like, Jeez, this place is absolutely fantastic. What a part of the world this is. The Rocky Mountains were in the background, it was picture perfect."

After viewing the city, Doyle and his brother went for dinner that night with Rapids' manager Pablo Mastroeni and Padraig Smith. Following his flight home to Birmingham the next day, Doyle consulted with his wife and was then happy to make the move, albeit after their baby was born.

"I didn't think they'd go for that, they said they needed a center-forward but they were like, 'Yeah, perfect. You come in June or whenever it suits you.' " said Doyle.

"I was really excited about it. From having absolutely zero interest or thought of doing that, to within a day of them [convincing me]. They knew, I think, if I flew out and looked at the place, 'we'll change his mind'."

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While the move would prove a brilliant experience for him and his family, Doyle knew his international days were probably numbered once he'd made the decision to go the US:

I knew by going there. That was the thing. Listen, I'm not writing off my international career, but it's not going to help.

I remember telling Martin O' Neill that I was going, or he found out. He came up to me and he goes something like "I hear you're going on holiday, or, I hear you're taking [a holiday]. And I was like, just that comment, I knew then what his opinion was of my move!

But you know what? I was doing it for me. I played a lot of games for Ireland. I had to do it for me and my wife to experience something different. And if it meant my Ireland career wasn't going to get as good of an opportunity, then so be it.

After the move, he would go on to make just two more appearances for his country. For Colorado Rapids, Doyle scored 17 goals in 78 appearances, before deciding to retire in 2017 after he received medical advice regarding concussion issues he was experiencing.

Reflecting on his move, Doyle says he'd have loved to have stayed longer but really enjoyed his time with the club. He now encourages other footballers to consider a MLS move, providing they can cope with the increased travel demands and other minor issues.

"I highly recommend it. Don't go if you don't like playing in the heat though, and you don't like a couple of places where they'll have astroturf pitches and stuff. If you don't like that it's not going to be easy for you, but if you embrace it, it's fantastic."

The full chat is well worth a listen. You can download and subscribe to The Buildup podcast here.

See Also: Vote In Ihe Greatest Gaelic Football Moment Of The 21st Century - The Last 8

Sean Power

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