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Colorado Rapids new head coach Anthony ...
AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post
Colorado Rapids new head coach Anthony Hudson poses for a portrait on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Hudson formerly coached the New Zealand national team.
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COMMERCE CITY — Articulate, forceful, businesslike and clearly confident, Anthony Hudson made his public debut Thursday as the eighth head coach in Colorado Rapids history.

More than once,  Hudson said he’s ready “to put my stamp” on a soccer club that needs to be retooled. Colorado finished next-to-last in the Western Conference last season (9-19-6, 32 points) and tied for the fewest goals scored in Major League Soccer (31).

“I don’t want to come across as sounding arrogant … but I have a very clear idea of how I want to play and I know what I have to offer in terms of a coach and I know what I can do,” Hudson said during a packed press conference at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “I know what I want in terms of how we want to play. And I have certain standards and expectations that I’m very clear about as well.”

Hudson, 36, is the youngest coach in Rapids history. He did not spell out, specifically, what kind of style the Rapids will play, but his recent past provides a strong blueprint. Under his tutelage, the New Zealand national team played an attacking, intense style of soccer.

That means Hudson will attempt to transform the Rapids from the defensive-minded club they were under former coach Pablo Mastroeni, who was fired on Aug. 15. Assistant Steve Cooke served as interim coach after Mastroeni’s departure.

“Anthony has shown a really strong desire and a great commitment to be part of our future,” sporting director and interim general manager Padraig Smith said. “We are very, very excited to have one of the top and up-and-coming coaches in World Football join us here with the Rapids.”

Hudson resigned as manager of New Zealand last week after it fell just short of qualifying for the World Cup following a 2-0 loss to Peru in Lima. The All Whites were 9-11-7 under Hudson during his three-year tenure.

One of Hudson’s first orders of business was to make sure the Rapids are in tip-top shape.

“During this transition period, we really don’t have the luxury of a honeymoon period, given the fact that we really have a four-week preseason,” Hudson said. “So the thing for me now is to focus on the process of making sure the players come in as fit as possible.”

The Rapids will begin their training camp in Denver on Jan. 22. The team will then head to Casa Grande, Ariz., for their deeper, immersive camp beginning Jan. 24.

“This is exciting for the club,” Tim Howard, the Rapids’ goalkeeper and team captain said. “We’re trying to build something special here in Colorado and the manager is a big piece of that puzzle. Anthony’s passing and track record at the international stage speaks for itself.

“And I know that as a group, we trust his vision for the future. I look forward to welcoming Anthony to the Rapids family. Exciting times are ahead.”

Hudson, the son of former English midfielder Alan Hudson, was born in Seattle and began his coaching career in the U.S. as a player and assistant coach for the third-division Wilmington Hammerheads in 2008.

A two-year stint at third-tier Real Maryland came next, followed by overseas jobs with Tottenham Hotspur’s reserves, fourth-division Newport County in Wales and Bahrain’s under-23 and senior national teams.

Hudson is the fourth recent coaching hire in MLS, following the Montreal Impact‘s Remi Garde, New England Revolution‘s Brad Friedel and San Jose Earthquakes‘ Mikael Stahre.

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