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Rapids Acquire First Cuban Player in MLS History, Rey Ángel Martinez

June 11, 2004 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Colorado Rapids News Release

DENVER, CO (06-11-04)- The Colorado Rapids announced today the acquisition of Cuban forward Rey Ángel Martinez from the Chicago Fire. Martinez, who was discovered by the Fire, signed a multiyear contract with Major League Soccer before being traded to Colorado in exchange for a 2005 Conditional draft pick. Martinez, who is categorized as a Transitional International and will not count toward the team's three senior international roster spots, becomes the first Cuban player to sign with a MLS club.

The 24 year old made headlines back in February 2002 when he and teammate Alberto Delgado defected from the Cuban National Team during the team's stay in Los Angeles for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The skillful forward won one Cuban National championship with club Ciudad de la Habana in 1998, netting seven goals for the amateur side. He also led his team to two championship games (1999-2000, 2001-2002), playing a major role in the forward line.

Martinez has vast experience on the international level, having defended the Cuban colors for both the full National Team and the Under-23 National side in tournaments such as the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Copa Caribe and Pan American Games.

Martinez, who has been practicing with the Rapids since April 8th, is expected to make his MLS debut this Saturday, when the Rapids visit D.C. United at RFK Stadium in a match that will be televised nationwide on Fox Sports World and Fox Sports World en Español at 5:30 p.m. (MT).

In other roster moves, the Rapids also announced the waiving of forward David Castellanos. Castellanos played a total of three games with the Black and Blue since signing with the club on March 30th.

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