AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron freshman Dillon Serna has agreed to terms on a Homegrown contract with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and will forgo his final three years of eligibility at UA to turn professional.
Serna is the fifth Akron player to sign a Homegrown contract this winter, following DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew), Scott Caldwell (New England Revolution) and Chad Barson (Crew). In the past five years, 19 Akron players have been draft by or signed a professional contract with an MLS team.
Serna is just the second Zips player to turn professional following their freshman season. Perry Kitchen, who was drafted by D.C. United as a Generation adidas player, was the first to do so after UA's national championship year in 2010.
"We're thrilled that Dillon will be joining our first team, having proven in our youth system, the NCAA, and with the U.S. National Teams that he is ready for this step," said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. "His dedication and hard work, as well as the effort of all the Rapids coaches who have spent time with him over the last several years, have paid off with this well-deserved opportunity."
Serna, who is the third player to sign a Homegrown contract with the Rapids in the franchise's history, earned Freshman All-American status from Soccer America, Top Drawer Soccer (TDS) and College Soccer News (CSN) in 2012 after tallying two goals and eight assists in 22 matches. As the Mid-American Conference Co-Newcomer of the Year, the native of Brighton, Colo., filled a number of roles with the Zips, earning starts at left back, attacking mid and striker.
His assist total was second-highest on the team with five of his helpers leading to game-winning goals. Serna was the No. 2 rated freshman in the country, according to TDS, and an All-MAC First Team honoree last fall.
"Dillon was under-the-radar when he first joined the Rapids Academy, but he took full advantage of the chance and immediately impressed coaches across the country," said Rapids Academy Director Brian Crookham. "He has continued his high level of play ever since, and ended up being our most accomplished youth player to date. We're all excited to see his development moving forward."
Originally joining the Rapids Academy in 2009, Serna made his debut for the club in the 2009 Generation adidas Cup (then called the SUM Cup) at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, attracting the attention of U.S. National Team scouts at the same tournament in 2010. He played for the Rapids U-16's before joining the U.S. U-17 National Team in residency in Bradenton, Fla. under then head coach Wilmer Cabrera, eventually being named to the squad for the 2011 CONCACAF U-17 Championship and the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico. In July 2012, he joined the U.S. U-20 National Team for the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland, playing in all three of the team's matches in the tournament.
In his last season with the Rapids U-18 Team in 2011-12, Serna led the squad with 12 goals as the team finished sixth in the country out of the 78 teams in the national Development Academy league. Throughout 2012, Serna also trained with the Rapids first team under Oscar Pareja, and played in seven of the team's 10 official Reserve League matches, starting three games.
Courtesy of Akron Sports Information Department