While the 2014-15 season for the Colorado Rapids has been frustrating in terms of scoring goals, defensively the Rapids have been rock solid, allowing only 12 goals through 14 games so far. This gives the Rapids one of the strongest defensive lines in MLS. Now, that defensive line, and in particular the center back position, will be getting another boost with Joseph Greenspan joining the ranks.

Greenspan, 22, a Naval Academy graduate was drafted in the second round of January’s 2015 MLS SuperDraft, and this week, the Naval Academy gave him an assignment in the Denver area and also granted him permission to train with the Rapids at Dick Sporting Goods Park.

Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni spoke with mlssoccer.com about the center back, saying, “It was a really good play to get a guy of his abilities in with this group. My thought was: If it was 2017, [Greenspan] would be the first pick in the first round.” This was the main reason the Rapids kept the faith with Greenspan and were willing to wait out the mandatory two-year period of military service by the rookie before he would make his debut.

With the Naval Academy making this decision, Greenspan will now attempt to play for the Rapids and fulfill his military duties. Additionally, the Rapids have been rewarded for their faith in sticking with Greenspan.

Greenspan discussed the Rapids drafting him, saying, “There were some teams that were interested but hesitant because of my Naval commitments. That’s exactly what I needed; a team that knew my attributes and had faith in me. The fact that we could make this work out for both parties, I couldn’t be happier about that.”

He went on to say, “I think it was just a change of heart that the Navy decided I could come out here and serve at a recruiting station and do some good there. That would allow me to play and fulfill my requirements with the Navy out here.”

The 6-foot-6 center back now joins a Rapids defensive line that includes other especially tall players in Bobby Burling (6’5”) and Axel Sjoberg (6’7”).

As a whole, the addition of Greenspan is only going to intensify competition for starts between the Rapids defenders. Already, Sjoberg, Burling and Drew Moor have started at least six games with Jordan Watts starting three. Along with the return of Shane O’Neill from the Toulon Tournament, where he was voted the third best player of the tournament, starting positions at center back will be a hotly contested battle.

Greenspan, in Navy fashion, is up for the challenge, “The best player is going to play but I’m here to play soccer,” He said. “I’ll work my butt off to earn a spot and grab some playing time.”

Be on the lookout for Greenspan to potentially make his debut on June 16th when the Rapids play the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the fourth round of the US Open Cup.

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