WESTFIELD, NJ – After joining the Colorado Rapids earlier this month, Westfield native Joseph Greenspan made his Major League Soccer debut at center back Tuesday night, scoring the second goal of the game and helping his team top the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the US Open Cup match.
“It went really well. We got a 4-1 win,” Greenspan said of the game. “I had a lot of fun making my professional debut.”
Claudio Lopez, director of soccer for the team, applauded his performance on Tuesday.
“[Greenspan] was one of the best players on the field tonight,” Lopez said on mlssoccer.com.
Greenspan, 22, is a 2015 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was selected by the Rapids during the SuperDraft in January but fully joined the team June 5 after receiving clearance from the Navy and a Denver-area post.
In May, he received his active duty commission and was stationed at the Naval recruiting depot in Denver where he will work as a recruiter and play for the Rapids in his free time.
Greenspan said that he is still “working out the kinks” in his schedule to balance work and soccer but appreciates that the Navy has “been gracious enough” to station him in Denver.
Managing both jobs sounds daunting, but Greenspan believes that the academy trained him for it well.
“I’ll definitely be busy, but at the Naval Academy they kept us busy so I’ll be prepared,” he said.
So far, Greenspan loves his new home in Denver, particularly the surrounding mountains and rivers that afford plenty of opportunities for skiing, hiking and water sports.
“I got drafted by the best team in terms of location,” he said.
Greenspan grew up with three siblings on Linden Avenue in Westfield. He recalled beginning to play organized soccer around the age of 6. As a student at Westfield High School, soccer was his main sport but he also participated in basketball, tennis and swimming. At the USNA, he was a standout on the soccer field.
“Greenspan is one of the most decorated players in the history of Navy men’s soccer, earning All-American honors as both a junior and senior and leading 'The Mids' to the school’s first NCAA tournament win in 42 years in 2013,” according to the Colorado Rapids team website, where you can find a video interview with Greenspan.
He still keeps in touch with teachers from Westfield schools and former Westfield High School soccer coach George Kapner.
Greenspan will travel with the Rapids to Florida next week to take on the Orlando City Soccer Club. It is unlikely, however, that he will be back in the area to play soccer this season.
“All the East coast games have already been played,” Greenspan said.