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Former FC Dallas player and assistant becomes Rapids new head coach, ushering in a new style and era in Colorado.

The Colorado Rapids have announced the signing of former FC Dallas midfielder Oscar Pareja as their newest head coach. Pareja replaces Gary Smith who left the club after the 2011 season.

“I am honored to join such a great organization like the Colorado Rapids, and want to thank everyone at Kroenke Sports & Entertainment for the opportunity.” said Pareja. “This is a dream come true, and I am excited to get started at the Player Combine this weekend and the SuperDraft next week.

"We already have a great team and everyone is optimistic about what we can achieve this season and beyond. I also want to express my most sincere thanks and gratitude to Clark and Dan Hunt and everyone at the FC Dallas organization, who have all played a huge part in my career and life since 1998.”

Pareja, 43, formerly of FC Dallas' reserve team and youth academy, joins the Western Conference club after an extensive MLS playing career. From 1998-2005, Pareja made 170 appareances for Dallas, scoring 13 goals in the process. He was named to MLS' Best XI in 2002.

He also played for the New England Revolution as well as Independiente Medellin and Deportivo Cali in Colombia.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Oscar to the club,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “He was an exciting, attacking player who has also earned a lot of respect as a coach. His accomplishments at both the youth and professional levels show that he can be successful in the short term while building for the future. This is an exciting moment for the future of the Rapids.”

Colorado opens its season on March 10 when it'll welcome the Columbus Crew to Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Pareja, who briefly helped coach the U.S. 17 national team, will be replaced as the FCD Reserves coach by Marco Ferruzzi.

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