Drew Moor nearly served as Rapids player-coach amid COVID-19 outbreak



In a year of the unexpected, the phone call Drew Moor received from coach Robin Fraser certainly ranks.

Fraser had some specifics, but the main question to Moor: “Are you ready?”

Moor was ready. And he packed his whistle.

For the next few days, Moor pulled into Fraser’s parking spot at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. He joked with teammates he would play himself the full 90 and award the captain armband to himself.

That’s right. The 36-year-old center back was about to become the Rapids’ player-coach.

Fraser had come down with COVID-19, which spread quickly through Colorado’s coaching staff. This forced Fraser’s assistants to contact quarantine, meaning there was no coaching staff. Several players were also infected or sidelined on quarantine, meaning the Rapids only had three available center backs.

Not only would the Rapids have to get creative if they were to play in Portland on Oct. 3 — a game that was ultimately canceled by the team-wide virus outbreak — but they would also need any body they could muster to take the field.

Moor wasn’t alone. A couple of veteran players stepped up to help run practice, coaches watched live video feeds from home, and developmental academy technical director Chris Cartlidge was called up for support.

“If we were to go to Portland that weekend, I would have been the main voice on the sidelines and was prepared to do it,” Moor said. “It never actually happened, but there were a couple of training sessions that I had to be the main voice during.”

The Rapids never got to the point of figuring out the lineup, which still would’ve been selected by Fraser. But Moor, along with Cartlidge and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC General Manager Brian Crookham, would have had authority to make changes once the game started.

“Nobody knows what we do better than someone inside of our circle,” Fraser said. “For Drew it would have just been an extension of what he does anyway. He’s so natural at leading, he has a player’s respect and such a good understanding. I wasn’t really worried about the situation at all.”

The true chaos of preparing for games that didn’t happen — as a COVID outbreak hit the team facility — is hard to know. But amid the Rapids’ nearly 20 positive cases of coronavirus and scheduling congestion, they came extremely close to having a player-coach on the field — possibly the franchise’s first since Roy Wegerle served as one in 1996.

“I was prepared to make an appearance on the field, I was prepared to do that,” Moore said. “But I was mainly prepared to be the voice on the sidelines.”

Moor is toward the end of his playing days, which started in MLS in 2005. The highly accomplished defender said he’s considered coaching once those days are done. But for a few practices, and almost for a competitive match, Moor had his potential future career overlap with his current one.

“One thing I learned even just in this fun and different experience was that when I speak I felt like it meant something to these guys and I always feel like it does even as a teammate,” Moor said. “But when you become a coach for a week or so it was nice to see that I did have some of that respect. Hopefully, that spells some positivity for the future moving forward, because I’ve been told I can’t play forever.”