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reprint of COLORADO RAPIDS NEWS RELEASE -- byline Brad Kenney


NEWS RELEASE



RAPIDS WIN LOTTERY AND EARN RIGHTS TO GREEK-AMERICAN KARTES

Rapids Also Waive Lee, Lukin, Trout, Carroll, And Parra

DENVER (Monday, March 26, 2001) - Colorado Rapids signed 19-year-old Greek-American player Gus Kartes to an MLS contract today. Kartes, whose true last name is Karterouliotis, is a native of Tarpon Springs, Fla. - about 45 minutes from Tampa Bay.

Kartes began his professional career at the age of 15, playing for Greek first division Olympiakos FC. His team played in the Greek championship and was a two-time league champion. Kartes' 11.1 speed in the 100 meters and 24-foot long jump also made him a nationally ranked track and field athlete. According to Rapids general manager Dan Counce, Kartes is a better player than any he saw in the draft. Rapids' head coach Tim Hankinson became familiar with Kartes as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Mutiny.

"At the time that I was director of player development at the league, we were starting the Project 40 program., Gus' name came up as a 16-year old living in Florida looking to go play in Europe and forgo college, and basically chase an opportunity," said Hankinson. He may have dual citizenship. He speaks fluent Greek; his whole family is Greek, but he's a Florida kid."

Kartes arrived back in the United States last year at a time when he could not get on a MLS roster. So, he trained with the Mutiny because he lived near Tampa Bay.

"The pedigree he picked up in Europe, learning about professionalism, is very much in place. So, as a young player, he has experiences that most young American don't have. The qualities he showed, playing with guys like Carlos Valderrama showed that he could compete in this league. He can score a goal. He can beat a player one-on-one, he's technically clean and knows what a good work ethic is.

The Rapids won the rights to Kartes in a league lottery that included a very interested Tampa Bay Mutiny. In order to play in the MLS, Kartes had to buy back his contract from Olympiakos FC.

The Rapids also waived five players to bring their roster down to the league mandated 18 players. Defender John Carroll and midfielders Ryan Lee, Eric Lukin, Ryan Trout and Carlos Parra.

"With the cutback to the 18-man roster, our hands are tied," said Hankinson. "It's difficult. All you can do is hope to stay in touch with those players."


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