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Colorado Rapids midfielder Joshua Gatt taunts ...
David Zalubowski, The Associated Press
Colorado Rapids midfielder Joshua Gatt taunts visiting fans after scoring a goal against Real Salt Lake early in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Commerce City, Colo.

The Colorado Rapids on Monday announced they are picking up contract options of three players while parting ways with eight others ahead of the 2018 season.

Colorado picked up the contract options of defender Eric Miller, defender/midfielder Jared Watts and midfielder Sam Hamilton.

The Rapids declined to pick up options on six players: goalkeeper John Berner, defenders Dennis Castillo and Mekeil Williams, midfielders Joshua Gatt and Mohammed Saeid and forward Alan Gordon.

Saeid and Gatt were acquired in a blockbuster trade that sent captain Sam Cronin and defender Marc Burch to Minnesota in March.

“I think Josh did very well for us in limited game time, I would say,” Rapids sporting director and interim general manager Padraig Smith told The Denver Post earlier this month. “He started a few games, he had a couple of niggling injuries that kept him out. But obviously we were happy with some of his performances and certainly happy with his intensity and his urgency, but I think again it’s a combination of these things. It’s not just any one of these factors.”

Additionally, defender Bobby Burling‘s contract expired. The Monument native played three seasons in Colorado, appearing in 50 games (46 starts) and scoring three goals.

“Bobby’s obviously been here for a number of years and proved to be a valuable leader in our clubhouse,” Smith said. “I think he’s been quite unfortunate with injuries the last couple of years and hasn’t played as much as he would’ve liked or we would’ve liked.”

The Rapids also decided not to exercise an option to buy the contract of midfielder Luis Gil, who was on loan.

Colorado signed new contracts with homegrown midfielder Dillon Serna and striker Caleb Calvert, the team said.

“If you look at what Dillon’s achieved over the years with the Rapids, being a homegrown player, he’s somebody we want to give every opportunity to for him to succeed,” Smith said earlier this month, adding that he felt Serna used 2017 to come back from a season-ending knee injury in 2016.

“I think it’s going to be important for Dillon to get minutes,” Smith said. “He needs to get minutes, whether that’s here, whether that’s on loan with Charlotte. We want to put him in a position to get back on the field, show everyone what he can do.”

With the signings of Serna and Calvert, the Rapids had 15 players under contract heading into the 2018 season. Adding Miller, Watts and Hamilton brings the roster to 18. However, defender Mike da Fonte is expected to spend the remainder of his contract on loan, Rapids spokesman Ryan Madden said.

Additionally, Smith said former interim head coach Steve Cooke will remain with the Rapids as an assistant coach. Smith added that Colorado’s new coach will be able to bring in an assistant of his choosing as well.

Colorado Rapids player status for 2017 roster:

Stefan Aigner – Under contract
Micheal Azira – Under contract
Dominique Badji – Under contract
John Berner – Option declined
Johan Blomberg – Under contract
Nana Boateng – Under contract
Bobby Burling – Out of contract
Caleb Calvert – Under contract
Dennis Castillo – Option declined
Mike da Fonte – Under contract
Kortne Ford – Under contract
Shkëlzen Gashi – Under contract
Joshua Gatt – Option declined
Luis Gil – Loan expired
Alan Gordon – Option declined
Marlon Hairston – Under contract
Sam Hamilton – Option exercised
Tim Howard – Under contract
Zac MacMath – Under contract
Eric Miller – Option exercised
Ricardo Perez – Under contract
Mohammed Saeid – Option declined
Dillon Serna – Under contract
Axel Sjöberg – Under contract
Jared Watts – Option exercised
Mekeil Williams – Option declined

Key 2018 offseason dates

Dec. 10 – Half-day trade window (7 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
Dec. 10 – Blackout period begins until conclusion of Expansion Draft
Dec. 12 – Expansion Draft (12 p.m.)
Dec. 12 – Free Agency begins (1 p.m.)
Dec. 13 – Waiver Draft (1:30 p.m.)
Dec. 15 – Re-Entry Draft Stage 1 (1 p.m.)
Dec. 21 – Re-Entry Draft Stage 2 (12 p.m.)

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