Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids have acquired Atlanta Silverbacks defender Chris Klute on a one-year loan. The agreement marks an incredible ascension through the ranks in 2012 for the Grand Prairie, Texas native, who started the season as a member of the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
"We're very happy that Chris has been given this opportunity - he's a great player and a fantastic young man," said Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes. "It's always tough to lose a player of his caliber, but this is going to be a great experience for him and I can only see him making great strides in MLS."
The 6-foot-1 defender caught the eye of the Silverbacks coaching staff in the beginning of the summer, earning his first professional contract on June 21. He was the fourth Reserves player in the last two seasons that eventually signed with the Silverbacks first team.
Klute, a versatile defender that played both outside and in the middle for the Silverbacks, appeared in 12 games this season, starting 11 of them. He picked up his first career assist against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on June 27, feeding forward Matt Horth for a second-half goal.
“Chris is a good young player, and we’re excited to bring him into the group,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “He has a lot of potential and our staff is looking forward to seeing what he can contribute at this level.”
The 22-year-old defender played a major part in the team's defensive turnaround under interim head coach Eric Wynalda, and helped the back line record three shutouts in their last five games. The Silverbacks only conceded two goals during that five-game period.
Klute will not be in Atlanta for Saturday night's game against the Strikers and will depart for Colorado immediately to join his new teammates.