Denver-born and Colorado-raised, Aaron King started his soccer career at South High School and Smoky Hill High School, and now he’s back home playing striker for Switchbacks FC in Colorado Springs.
In between, King played at every level from college to PDL, USL Second Division, USL Pro, USSF Division 2, NASL, MLS, and a stint in Finland. King scored 44 goals and registered 15 assists for North Carolina State University (2002-2005). He played with the Boulder Rapids Reserves during the summer of 2004 and Raleigh CASL Elite in 2005.
In 2006, King had two teams after him. The Virginia Beach Mariners drafted him during the USL First Division College draft, and the Los Angeles Galaxy drafted him in the MLS SuperDraft. King chose the Galaxy, but they traded him to the Colorado Rapids before the start of the season. He scored two goals in 10 Rapids reserve games, but he didn’t get any first-team minutes and was waived in November.
“I was with the Rapids in 2006,” King recalled. “Tritt [head coach Steve Trittschuh] was the assistant coach, and Wolde [Harris] was still playing. Trey [Harrington] had just finished a couple years before with the Foxes.”
Today, Trittschuh, Harris, and Harrington (and commentator and former USAFA head coach Lou Sagastume) make up the newly formed Switchbacks coaching staff. The club did a dry run of game-day operations on March 14 with a 2-1 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
When King came on the second half of the UCCS game, he sparked the offense immediately. Down 1-0 at halftime, Trittschuh replaced all 11 players. A long combination play right after the break concluded with King’s shot bouncing wide off the right post. Like the tide coming in, the Switchbacks attacks increased in frequency and intensity and Kevin Durr scored the equalizer in the 47th minute. King scored the game-winner by timing his run to the far post to redirect a low cross from Saeed Robinson into the net.
As the new team comes together, King joins a veteran crew with former teammates.
“I played with Luke [Vercollone] when I played with Charleston in 2008, 2009,” King recalled. “Jordan Burt. I played with him just last year with Carolina. We’ve got a handful of younger guys. We have two full teams battling for spots. We’re getting sharper each week and trying to find cohesion. It’s a matter of grinding it out until we gel and find our form.”
The Switchbacks start their season on the road against the Austin Aztex in Texas on March 28 (7:00 p.m. kickoff). OKC Energy FC will come to Sand Creek Stadium for the Switchbacks’ first home game at 1:00.