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Keegan Rosenberry discusses his trade to Colorado and return to Philadelphia

Photo: Earl Gardner

Keegan Rosenberry will take the field at Talen Energy Stadium for the 41st time in his professional career. For the first time, though, it won’t be as a member of Philadelphia Union. The right back now dons the burgundy and blue of Colorado Rapids rather than the blue and gold of the Union.

“It will be weird,” Rosenberry told PSP. “Pulling up to the stadium. Everything before the game.”

But when the whistle blows, Rosenberry expects that weirdness will give way to the normalcy of being a MLS veteran.

Rosenberry was a surprise selection by the Union with the third pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, going earlier than expected in the first round. It meant the Georgetown graduate would play for his hometown club, after growing up in nearby Ronks, Pa.

Rosenberry was electric during his rookie campaign, securing an All-Star roster spot and finishing second in voting for the 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year. The “cherry on top” was an invitation to the U.S. national team’s camp in December of that year.

Despite playing every minute of every game that first season, Rosenberry struggled in 2017, starting just 11 matches. The roller coaster ride continued a year later, and he reclaimed his place in Union manager Jim Curtin’s starting lineup. Rosenberry featured in all but two games in 2018.

Then the unexpected happened.

Eight days after his 25th birthday, Rosenberrry was traded to the Rapids by Philadelphia’s new sporting director, Ernst Tanner, on Dec. 19. It caught the player by surprise.

“That was the tough part,” said Rosenberry. “It was difficult because my wife and I had our life set up here [Philadelphia].”

The transition was not easy. Rosenberry spent his first few months in Colorado without his wife and without a home. It’s a reminder of the upheaval that contrasts the glamour of professional sports. The place you call home can change in an instant, but Rosenberry was not blind to the profession he chose.

The defender carries no grudge or grievance into Wednesday’s midweek matchup between the Union and the Rapids. His focus is on extending Colorado’s two-game winning streak, the club’s only two wins of the year, but admits his return to Philadelphia is special.

It’s a business trip, as the Rapids have a quick turnaround ahead Saturday’s tilt with FC Cincinnati in Denver. Rosenberry’s reunion with friends and family will be limited to the stadium on the banks of the Delaware, but some of those friends are now opponents. One name stood out among those he’s most excited to see.

“Alejandro Bedoya,” said Rosenberry. “We spent a lot of time off the field together, with our wives and his kids.”

Rosenberry began to name the rest of his former teammates before realizing it’d be easier to just exclude the Union’s most recent additions.

As far as his new journey, that’s sorted itself out. Rosenberry signed an extension with the Rapids through the 2022 season.

His wife recently joined him in Colorado, and they now have a home of their own.

“There’s worse MLS cities to be traded to than Denver.”

One Comment

  1. pragmatist says:

    Everyone sees the glamour of being a pro athlete, but there are serious downsides, too.
    You might not have a solid home until you are almost 40…and that’s if you don’t move into coaching.
    None of us get booed by thousands of people when we make a mistake at our job, or have to read about how terrible we are on every form of media available.
    .
    Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have had those worries as a 25 year old, but to ignore them is a bit naive. (Might be too strong of a word – an apology in advance.)
    .
    It will be cool to have Keegan back in Talen for a night, though. Good luck, KR, in every game except this one! 😉

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