The Colorado Rapids’ South American scouting department has found its man.
On Thursday, the Colorado Rapids announced the signing of 20-year-old attacking midfielder Max Alves da Silva (aka “Max”) from Brazilian giant, Flamengo. He will join the Rapids on a U22 Initiative deal for four seasons with a club option for a fifth.
The deal, first reported by Cahe Mota of Globo Esporte, and the fee is reported to be around $1 million. The Rapids paid $750,000 up front to Flamengo, and if certain incentives are met, an additional $250,000 will be paid to the club at the end of the season. That would mark just the fourth time in club history the Rapids paid $1 million-plus for a transfer — the other three being Younes Namli ($1.65 million), Shkelzen Gashi ($3 million) and Mark-Anthony Kaye ($1 million).
If Max is sold on to another club during his time with the Rapids, Flamengo will receive 20% of the sell-on fee.
Max becomes the second U22 Initiative player to sign with Colorado. Lucas Esteves was loaned to the Rapids from fellow Brazilian club Palmerias, and his loan deal runs through June of this season with an option to buy.
Alves da Silva appeared in 10 games for Flamengo and made six Serie A starts before being loaned for the remainder of the season to fellow top flight side Cuiabá. There, he made 15 appearances and scored once for the club that had recently been promoted and finished in 15th. He also made four cup competition appearances for Flamengo — two in the Copa do Brazil and two more in the Campeonato Caricoa, the state championship for Rio de Janeiro.
While the fee appears relatively expensive, a source in Brazil considers it to be the going rate for a highly-rated prospect. Max could serve as an additional reinforcement for the Rapids, or a replacement for fellow attacking midfielder Cole Bassett if the Colorado native is sold in the current transfer window.
Rapids general manager Pádraig Smith said in a club statement he is excited to see what Max can do going forward.
“Max is an athletic, technical midfielder who at his young age already has experience playing for one of the biggest clubs in South America,” said Smith. “We’re excited to add a player of his quality and potential to our group heading into next season.”
The full preseason camp for the Rapids will be announced at a later date, but the Rapids will participate in the Desert Cup in Tucson, Arizona, in late January and early February.
Acosta, Bassett get USMNT call. Colorado Rapids midfielders Kellyn Acosta and Cole Bassett were called in to the United States Men’s National Team January training camp, which was announced on Thursday. The pair will look to impress head coach Gregg Berhalter ahead of a busy but crucial World Cup qualifying cycle.
Bassett earned his first cap last month and scored the game-winning goal against Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Acosta made history to end 2021 as the most-capped player in a calendar year (21 appearances) since 1994.
The camp runs from Jan. 7-21, and will include several closed-door scrimmages. Concacaf World Cup qualifying games are set to resume at the end of the month with a trifecta of games. It will be a great opportunity for domestic players to get a shot at making the roster for the upcoming octagonal.
World Cup qualifying games for this window include: at home against El Salvador Jan. 27 in Columbus, Ohio, on the road in Hamilton, Ontario, against first-place Canada on Jan. 30, and back at home in frigid St. Paul, Minn., on Feb. 2 against Honduras at Allianz Field.
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