It is very rare in sports for an athlete to make an instant impact in their professional debut. This exceptional feat happened on Tuesday night when Colorado Rapids defender Joe Greenspan scored a header for the Rapids in a 4-1 victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Greenspan, a Naval Academy graduate has had an unexpectedly fast and furious journey to the Rapids. Chronicled last week, it is safe to say, at the beginning of June, Greenspan himself would never have imagined what has transpired recently.

With Pablo Mastroeni suspended, Claudio Lopez was acting head coach on Tuesday night and after the game talked about Greenspan’s performance,

“He was one of the best players for me tonight on the field. For his first game, he had no doubts about anything. He played one touch and he scored. He’s a great player. He needs time, experience and training with us a little more, but I think he is on the right path. We need to push him a little more so that he can play at this level and keep him there.”

Based on his quality play, Greenspan could continue to see playing time in the U.S. Open Cup and potentially MLS matches. For the Rapids, their defense continues to grow while being the strong point this season so far.

After the game, Greenspan discussed his first ever Rapids performance speaking to

Here’s some of what he had to say:

On his first career goal…

“A lot of people kept telling me that I was going to score today. Coach told me to use my body, and to be physical, (Dillon) Serna can get it to the goal. His services were very good tonight and I was able to knock one in.”

Any first game jitters?

“I was a little nervous for my first game; I didn’t want to mess up. I was more excited to get started. I want to come here and make a difference. I was really excited to get the nod from the coaching staff, and we had a good match. The bar is always being raised. Next game we have to step up even more. We’ve got to keep pursuing excellence, and tonight I thought we did a good job at that and Friday night we’ll do the same thing.”

On first impressions of the club…

“The guys have been very welcoming. The Navy has been awesome getting me stationed out here so that I can serve, and do this as well in my free time. Everything is going well and I am very excited for what’s to come.”

Greenspan seems to be a level-headed guy who is not taking anything for granted. Whatever is to come, the Rapids have a young defender in Greenspan who is going to add competition and depth to the team. There is work to be done, and Greenspan is excited for the challenges ahead. For the 6-foot-6 center back, the sky is the limit.

Sammy Mugharbil, a Mile High Sports intern and student at MSU-Denver, contributed to this report