Wells Thompson enjoyed his time and life with the Colorado Rapids, but news of his trade to the Chicago Fire was no surprise. He had requested a transfer.
"As a professional athlete and driven man I am always looking to improve, mature, and grow," the 28-year old told Goal.com. "There are times when you have to make some tough decisions. My wife, Daphne, my family, and friends and I have spent much time praying about what to do, seeking God’s guidance and direction through this whole process. We felt that it was time to seek change."
Thompson moved in return for a conditional draft pick.
"I met several times with [technical director] Paul Bravo and the Rapids coaching staff to figure out what was best for the club and my family and me," Thompson said. "It was not easy to do."
Since coming to Colorado from the New England Revolution in 2010, Thompson has started in 40 matches and appeared in 75 games, including the 2010 MLS Cup. This season, however, the midfielder earned only five starts and made 17 appearances.
"As an athlete I always want to play; we all want to play," explained Thompson. "I was frustrated with the lack of playing time that I was getting, but more so disheartened realizing that I was not in the long term plans under Oscar [Pareja]. Sometimes it is just time for a change, and we felt that it was time to seek another opportunity somewhere else."
The scrappy midfielder asked for a trade before he knew of any interest in his services from other MLS clubs.
"Asking to be traded was taking a leap of faith," the Wake Forest graduate said, "because in order to be traded there has to be a team that is willing to trade for you. I was just hoping there was at least one team out there that wanted me, and I am very thankful and honored that Chicago decided to trade for me."
Professional athletes have notoriously transient lives. They can be sent packing across the country -- or globe -- at a moment's notice. For Thompson, the hardest part of this trade was leaving his wife and dog in Colorado to pack everything up.
"I found out that I had been traded," said the newlywed, "and I was on a flight the next night to Chicago. I trained Monday with the team and headed to Toronto with the team early Tuesday in preparation for our match against Toronto on Wednesday. So it has been a whirlwind couple of days. I was glad that I was able to go one last time to the Rapids complex to clean out my locker and say goodbye to everybody there. Daphne, my wife, has really handled it well and done a phenomenal job supporting, loving, encouraging, and lifting me up through this whole process."
Even though Wells Thompson did not see a lot of playing time this season, he has a large fan base in Colorado, partly because of his efforts in the community. In 2011, he was chosen Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year, and his willingness to help those in need endeared him to Rapids fans.
"I love Colorado and am beyond grateful for the Rapids and all that they have done for me and my family," Thompson said. "We accomplished some awesome things together, I made some great friends, and I will always cherish my time in Colorado."
He hopes his North Carolina charm and tenacious wing play can be used in Chicago too.
"I am looking to contribute anyway that I can with the Fire," Thompson said. "I will give it my all every single day and do whatever I can to help this team make the playoffs and win their second MLS Cup. I am as passionate, if not more so, about getting involved in the community to give back and help others."
Wednesday night will be the first time Wells Thompson suits up for Fire, as they contest for a playoff spot against Toronto FC.
Tim Gardner contributed additional reporting
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