Editorial (May 28, 2017) – It’s been seven weeks since Kortne Ford made his MLS debut. It was a rough game for him and the Colorado Rapids at Sporting KC. The team’s been up and down since then. But the Rapids got back to their identity last night and Ford balled out.
Kortne Ford Settling In As A Pro: ‘That One Was For My Mom’
Ford joined the Rapids this year as a Homegrown player. Several pundits had him as one of the best center backs had he been available in the MLS SuperDraft. But his story and fight started way before joining the Rapids Academy.
Fighting With And For His Mother
Laurie Ford moved with her son to Greeley, CO in 2008 to leave a troubling family situation. Shortly after that, Laurie was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. She endured chemotherapy while driving her son back to practice with the Rapids Academy starting in 2012.
This brought to the two of them closer together. “She’s my inspiration and she always will be,” Ford said. Their collective perserverence came to fruition. Ford excelled in the Rapids organization and earned a scholarship to the University of Denver where he was a standout. Shortly after Ford started college, his mother entered remission.
Ford signed with the Rapids as a Homegrown in 2016. Just recently, his mother’s cancer reemerged as Stage 4 bone cancer. But the Fords are fighters and the Colorado Rapids community has rallied around them.
Getting A Winner For The Team And His Mom
This journey has turned into a rallying cry for Ford’s teammates and a focal point for him on of the field. Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni describes him as a fighter. He embodied #KeepFighting before the Rapids even joined twitter.
While his debut was rough, he’s progressed slowly. “He realizes that he’s got a way to go. He comes in every day and works really hard and asks a lot of questions. He has a lot of intention in his learning,” said Mastroeni. There’s no denying the kid has talent. He’s athletic for a center back and very good in the air. “Kortne is using those tools. It’s fun to watch him grow,” said Captain Tim Howard.
The effort has always been there and things came together perfectly for him and the Rapids on Saturday night. He had his best 90 minute performance as a professional. He scored a goal. The Rapids won 1-0 and looked the closer to last year’s team.
Mastroeni and everyone else had him as the Man of the Match: “Tonight was an exemplary performance of a young man who can go as far as he likes.” The goal was the icing on the cake and a storybook moment for him, the team, and his mother.
“I was happy I could put that one away. More importantly, that one was for my mom,” said Ford.
Getting Back To Who They Are
It’s fitting that Ford scored his first goal and the Rapids rediscovered their identity against Sporting KC. It was the team that ripped them apart after the Sam Cronin-Marc Burch trade. Unlike seven weeks ago, they went back to what they do well.
Ford said after the game: “We played to our strengths. We didn’t try to play something that we’re not good at. We were going to fight and battle. That’s the difference between then and my debut.”
They were a defensive tour-de-force. Kansas City had a bunch of chances, but nothing dangerous. They weren’t going to score and both teams knew it. The Rapids forced that on their opponent, dictating the pace of the game in spite of the possession stats. “The stats were wrong tonight. And the stats will lose to the human spirit everyday of the week,” said Mastroeni.
The Rapids were themselves. Kortne Ford was himself, as an athlete and a human being. If they keep it up, they’ll be just fine. If the Fords keep it up, they’ll be just fine. Both Laurie and Kortne.