After three years with the Colorado Rapids, 21 year old Shane O'Neill is headed to Cyprus to play for Apollon Limassol FC. The Rapids announced the departure of their homegrown player August 6th and terms of the deal were not disclosed per MLS policy. Paul Bravo, the Rapids VP of Operations and Technical Director said in a statement announcing the sale, "This is a bittersweet announcement for us, although he is leaving us to fulfill his ambitions in Europe, he leaves an important legacy..."
Apollon Limassol FC began their 2015/16 campaign with a 2-1 win over Aris on Sunday. They were recently eliminated from Europa league play by Azerbaijan club, Gabala FC. O'Neill follows the path of fellow MLS alum, Doneil Henry, who transferred from Toronto FC to Apollon Limassol before being transferred again soon thereafter to West Ham United in the English Premier League.
O'Neill was part of the inaugural 2011 High School All-American game and was the MVP for the West in their 3-2 win over the East. Roughly seven months later the Colorado Rapids announced the signing of O'Neill as their second ever homegrown player. Since then he has played in 52 games for the Rapids during his tenure in Denver.
His breakout year came in 2013 when O'Neill played in 26 of the Rapids games and became a stalwart on the back line during their surprise run to the playoffs. In January of 2014 Jurgen Klinsmann called O'Neill into the USMNT January camp for his first experience with the senior U.S. Men's National team.
Below are Shane O'Neill's thoughts on the High School Soccer All-American game. Best of Luck in Cyprus Shane! Read the release from the Colorado Rapids here.
“The All American game was a fantastic experience for me and was a great opportunity for me to prove myself against some of the top players from around the country. It is a great chance for any player to get exposure in such a quality match. Because of the All-American game, top schools such as Indiana, Xavier, and Virginia were in touch with me after the game. However, I opted to sign a professional contract out of high school. Overall the experience I had at the All American game was great. It is run by good people and the quality of players is very high. Anyone given the chance to play in this game should absolutely take it as it can open up so many doors for you. The All American game did so much for me to help get me where I am today and for that i’m very grateful.”
— Shane O'Neill