ANNAPOLIS, MD —Westfield native Joe Greenspan was in his room at the Naval Academy Thursday, nervously watching the Major League Soccer SuperDraft picks go up. Days before, the Colorado Rapids had let the Westfield High School graduate know they were interested, and their second pick would be number 26. Just after the 25th pick was posted, his phone started vibrating. It was the Rapids.
“He said, ‘Stop sweating—we’ve taken you for the next pick,’” said Greenspan. “Me and my friends jumped up for joy and we were all hugging.”
Colorado had come to some of his games, he said, but it had been a while, and their interest this week had seemed to Greenspan to come out of the blue. Even after he got the call, he said. “It kind of didn’t really sink in at first.”
But now that it has?
“I’m really excited. To represent Westfield on that stage, in professional soccer—I can’t wait. Hopefully I’ll be out to play some games in New York and Philadelphia and we can get some hometown crowds to the games. Family and friends—that would be fun,” he said. “I’m stoked. I’ve been hearing from everyone. I can’t wait.”
Greenspan said he loves Colorado.
“I love to ski, so that’s perfect. Denver’s a very cool city,” said Greenspan.
As to how he might be able to balance professional soccer and his commitment to the Navy, Greenspan believes something can be worked out, as was the case for professional basketball player and Naval Academy graduate David Robinson. (Robinson spent two years away from professional ball to serve in the Navy, then was able to fulfill the remainder of his military obligation in the Naval reserve while playing for the San Antonio Spurs.)
“I think both parties are very, very excited,” said Greenspan.
Greenspan is committed to five years of service, and he chooses his ship in less than two weeks. He’s hoping to serve in San Diego.
“There are different options that the Navy’s looking at,” he said. “Maybe there’s a chance that I can play a bit over the summer.”
But he was clear that it is the Navy that’s calling the shots.
“I’ll do my duties as the Navy sees fit and go from there,” he said. “It’s a bit complicated, but it’s going to be worked out through one way or the other.”
In the meantime, Greenspan has one more semester before he graduates. He's taking 17 credits this spring and is working out how to get to Colorado for some time to get with the team.
“This is a dream come true for me,” he said.