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John Spencer (yes!), Nikki Marshall, free stuff, Peter Vermes and more!

August 21, 2009 | 2:39 pm No comments
By George Tanner

The Colorado Rapids will celebrate the newest addition to their Gallery of Honor during halftime of the team’s match Aug. 30 against the Houston Dynamo.

Former Rapids captain John Spencer will have his name and number hung permanently inside Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, becoming the fourth player in the Gallery of Honor. He joins Marcelo Balboa, Paul Bravo and Chris Henderson.

Spencer played with Colorado from 2001-04 and is remembered for his goal scoring prowess, fierce competitiveness and fiery enthusiasm on the pitch.

I had not been a Rapids fan from the start. I’m originally from Tampa, Fla., so I followed the Mutiny, and I was a Cobi Jones fan since the first time I saw him, at the Barcelona Olympics. So I also paid attention to the Galaxy, too. We went to Rapids games frequently, but we’d go based on the visiting team: the Galaxy, the Mutiny or some other team. Then, in 2001, my daughter and I wanted to see Landon Donovan and the Earthquakes. …

We got what we wanted. Donovan scored. But we were treated to a show by Spenny. He scored a goal and was relentless on the pitch. His effort was unmatched, and we became fans after one game. There was no looking back. We got Rapids season tickets the next year and have held them ever since.

The Rapids will distribute free commemorative John Spencer posters to the first 2,000 fans into the stadium on Aug. 30, and Spenny will hold a postgame autograph session inside the Cantina at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

The Rapids also say there will be other alumni players in attendance to watch the induction and meet fans.

GO GET YOURSELF SOME CHEAP SUNGLASSES: Well, free sunglasses, actually. Westwood College will be distributing 1,000 free pairs of sunglasses to fans at the Aug. 30 game against the Dynamo.

GO GET YOURSELF A FREE SOCCER BALL: OK, ZZ Top didn’t write a song about this, but the first 2,000 kids 16 and younger at the Aug. 30 game against Houston will receive a free soccer ball, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance. The balls are size 5 and are burgundy or light blue. Gates open at noon.

MY VOTE FOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK: I picked Houston goalkeeper Pat Onstad, who made eight saves in a 0-0 tie with Real Salt Lake. Here’s what I wrote: “Huge game from the veteran to shut down an inspired Utah bunch. Big saves and large presence in the box. Definitely a game-changing performance.” However, Columbus defender Chad Marshall won the weekly honor.

IN CASE ANYONE IS INTERESTED: The Ross Dress for Less store in Greeley has half a dozen D.C. United scarves for $2.99. There’s also one from the Wizards, one from the Revs and one SuperLiga scarf. All $2.99. Get there quick, Screaming Eagles!

AT THE HELM: Former Rapids player Peter Vermes was Kansas City’s interim head coach in a 2-0 loss to Chicago during the weekend. Vermes is the Wizards’ technical director. The U.S. soccer players’ union has an interesting article about the role of the technical director, which includes comments from Vermes and the Rapids’ Paul Bravo. Check it out here.

ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS: Soccer America has named Colorado’s Nikki Marshall to its preseason All-America first team, and Bri Young of Texas A&M was chosen to the second team. Check out all the players on the first and second team here.

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