Mike da Fonte is second to the right in the front row. To his immediate left are Irvin Herrera (Cosmos/El Salvador national team) and then Danny Diprima (Harrisburg City Islanders). Kyle Murphy (USL team Rio) is to his left. Photo courtesy of Mount Saint Vincent College head coach Jonathan Langer)

Ossining, N.Y. native and defender Mike da Fonte, a former member of Red Bulls II, has joined the Colorado Rapids after spending the 2016 United Soccer League season with Sacramento Republic FC.

Da Fonte was transferred to the Major League Soccer club for an undisclosed amount of money.

He played for JBS FC, a local soccer club that is now defunct, for 10 years.

“Mike impressed in our preseason meeting with Sacramento last year and we continued to track his progress. He provides competition and increased depth to our already strong defensive core,” Rapids sporting director Pádraig Smith said in a statement. “He is a player who we think has the necessary tools to be successful at the next level.”

Last season the 26-year-old da Fonte scored four goals in 19 appearances. In 2015, da Fonte served as captain of Red Bulls II, leading the team in minutes played (2,003) and games started (23).

“We are pleased to have Mike join our club for the next two seasons,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said in a press release. “He is a very athletic central defender with experience in Europe and with two prominent USL sides. We look forward to welcoming Mike to the Rapids.”

The 6-foot, 170-lb. da Fonte played for Cedar Stars Academy in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and with the Westchester Flames in the Premier Development League.

He also spent two years playing in the Terceira Divisão Portuguesa (Portuguese Third Division), making 23 appearances with S.C. Espinho (2012-13). A year later, da Fonte joined Pedras Salgadas and saw action in 23 matches.

“Every day is like a fight in this competition,” da Fonte told the Colorado Rapids website. “Every single day, doesn’t matter if it’s a short practice or anything, every day you ought to be out there and try to win your spot. I think I’m just really competitive, like everyday no matter what happens I’m out there trying to win, always.

“I’m excited to be here, I want to learn from the veterans and stuff, from Pablo … just get my foothold in the MLS. I just want to work hard, help the team out as much as possible and hopefully win the championship.”

Sacramento officials wished da Fonte well.

“Based on our club values, we have always supported our players and do our best to provide them opportunities to play at a higher level,” Republic FC director of football Graham Smith said in a statement. “In this case, Mike da Fonte has been presented with an opportunity to play with an MLS club and we are excited for the opportunity this presents to him and his future by playing with coach Mastroeni.

“Mike has developed tremendously in this past year under the guidance of Paul [Buckle] and his staff, and that development is seen in the offer to him from Colorado. But, this is an opportunity that also benefits Republic FC by receiving value back that we can use to invest in our roster and continue the development of talent going into the 2017 season.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.