COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Tuesday, June 19, 2012) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Tuesday that the club has signed Boulder’s Shane O’Neill, a midfielder from the Rapids Academy, as a Homegrown Player. O’Neill, born in Ireland and a resident of Boulder since 2002, first played with the Rapids Academy in 2009 and has 10 goals in 15 matches with the Rapids U-18 Team this season. Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
O’Neill, 18, attended Fairview High School in Boulder and was named Colorado’s 2011 Gatorade Boys Soccer Player of the Year, as well as earning MVP honors in the 2011 High School All-American Soccer Game. He was also a standout basketball player at Fairview, earning BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year honors this past winter. At 6’2″, 190 pounds, O’Neill has played as both a midfielder and a forward in soccer, and his 10 goals for the Rapids U-18’s this season led the team. He has been training with the Rapids first team throughout 2012, and has played in four Reserve Team matches this season, including playing the full 90 minutes in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City on June 9.
Born in Midleton, Ireland, O’Neill moved to the United States when he was one year old, and he has dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland. He had planned on playing soccer at the University of Virginia this fall, but instead will stay in Colorado and is available for selection with the first team immediately. O’Neill is the second Homegrown Player – a roster designation that allows MLS clubs to sign players from their youth system to contracts that do not count against the salary cap – to be signed by the Rapids, following Davy Armstrong of Aurora, who joined Colorado’s first team on August 16, 2010.