Colorado Rapids homegrown Darren Yapi has a big year ahead of him.
The 18-year-old striker was handed a long-term contract back in March 2021, becoming the Rapids’ youngest-ever signing in the process.
Since then, Yapi has scored goals at a good rate in USL and MLS NEXT Pro for Colorado Rapids 2, while also making sporadic appearances for the senior side. The forward has also been capped across various youth levels for the United States.
Now, it’s time to take big leaps forward in 2023, with Yapi keen to prove he belongs in Major League Soccer and beyond.
“I just want to prove that I can be the best and work really hard and help the team,” Yapi told the Rapids’ official website. “Doesn’t matter what colors I’m wearing, what shirt I’m wearing, what crest I’m wearing. I just want to do the same and just work hard.”
Yapi recorded a brace in the Rapids’ first pre-season fixture against Mexican side Celaya FC, coming off the back of spending 10 days in Miami with the United States U-19s.
The extra training with the national team clearly paid off and the fine performance against Celaya should serve as a confidence boost for Yapi and an indicator that he’s ready to challenge for minutes in Colorado this year.
“It’s just good to see all my hard work pay off,” he said after the match. “In training, I’ve been working on my shooting, finishing and all that. It’s just good to see pay off in the game.”
The Rapids are looking to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing 10th in the Western Conference last season.
Robin Fraser’s side begin their 2023 campaign away at the Seattle Sounders on February 26.