(L-R: Judo Olympic team manager Chris Skelly, Marti Malloy, Kyle Vashkulat, Kayla Harrison, Travis Stevens, Judo Olympic Coach Jimmy Pedro)
The 2012 London Summer Olympics got underway this week with men and women's soccer. The 'official' Opening Ceremonies take place on Friday.
The athletes have been preparing for years, and we recently received word the the U.S. Judo team has been preparing for Gold, in Burgundy.
Colorado Rapids chiropracter Dr. Joseph Arvay and Maximize Living are also the chiropractors of the judo team (as well as many other teams). Dr. Avay shared these photos of the judo team donning our gear while they prepared for the Games in Colorado Springs.
Kayla Harrison (above left) is currently among the top five in the world at the 78-kilo division and consider a medal contender when she begins her first Olympics on August 2. Travis Stevens (above right), also ranked in the top 10, begins his quest on July 31 in the 81 kg division. Marti Malloy will compete at the 57 kg and Kyle Vashkula at 100 kg. The other team member not pictured is Nick Delpopolo, who will challenge at 73 kg.
From everyone at the Colorado Rapids, Good Luck in London!
(Below: Skelly, Dr. Arvay, Pedro)
They may have started off quietly, but the first function of the newly formed Sidekicks was a huge success.
The Sidekicks, launched last week by Brian Mullen's wife, Kersten, brings together the significant others of the Rapids players and coaching staff to provide unique opportunities to fans, as well as support the community through fundraising efforts.
To get started, the Sidekicks on Saturday gave 100 fans an opportunity to come to field level following the 3-0 win over Portland for a special autograph session. It should be noted that the players are also 100 % behind these efforts, with all of them coming out to meet the winning guests.
Keep ears and eyes open at future matches for other special opportunities. For the Portland game, the Sidekicks made in-game announcements explaining to fans how to get the autograph alley wristbands.
The last time Rapids supporters groups Pid Army and Class VI interacted with the traveling supporters of the Portland Timbers - the Timbers Army - in Colorado, each were celebrating a 'first.'
It happened prior to the opening game of the 2011 season, when the Rapids fans were about to watch the MLS Cup winning side for the first time since the final, and the Timbers fans were about to watch their team make their MLS debut.
Now in their second season, we're not expecting the 500 or so Timbers fans that traveled last year, but the fans that are coming to Colorado will once again be hosted by the Pid Army and Class VI fans.
"As we had such a great time with them here and in Portland last year," said Pid Army chief Dave Cleland, "we will continue to prove that rival fans can get along great before and after the game but still be passionate about their respective teams inside the stadium."
The supporters of both teams will gather at the Celtic Tavern in downtown Denver Saturday and then take separate buses to Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the Rapids vs Timbers game (7 pm MT). The buses are expected to leave the bar at 4:30 pm, arriving at the stadium with plenty of time to tailgate.
Class VI and the Pid Army inform us that they will also be having their 3rd Annual Homebrew competition, cleverly called Pitch to Pint, during this tailgate. Fans of age will have a chance to sample Colorado-brewed beers and vote for a winner. All fans are welcome to join the 'No Fan Alone' tailgate, though $5 donations are happily appreciated to help pay for costs.
About 20-30 minutes after the game, the busses will return to the Celtic, where it's likely the festivities will continue. Often times, the Rapids Man of the Match also makes an appearance at this post-game party (as do some staff and other players).
Like soccer fans around the world, our offices have been buzzing in the mornings with the sounds of the EURO 2012 Championship on various TVs. Friday afternoon, shortly after England defeated Sweden 3-2, there was another round of excitement in the air when we learned that the Colorado Rapids were represented at that match.
Emily Kilcoyne, our Manager of Group Sales, received the photo above from Rapids season ticket holder Haim Lensky. From left to right: Mike, Vicky, and Haim hold up the Rapids' MLS Champion flag at Olympic Stadium in Kyiv (Ukraine), with the Sweden-England scarf above.
"It's been a great experience," Haim wrote via email. "We met people from all over Europe and we have loved being at every game screaming and cheering for the teams."
Haim is from Russia and won the ticket lottery last year to attend the tournament. The family is of course supporting Russia, but also England, Spain, and Ukraine. And if you're ready to be jealous, read on...
So far, they've attended the England-France (T 1-1), Netherlands-Germany (GER 2-1), and today's England-Sweden matches.
"The games have been crazy and the fans have definitely been dedicated to their respective teams" he wrote.
The Lensky's will also be attending: Sweden-France, and the Quarterfinal matches in Donetsk and Kiev, the Semifinal in Kiev, and the 2012 Final in Donetsk.
"We are definitely having fun," he concludes.
Glad to hear, and thanks for bringing a little bit of Colorado and the Rapids with you!
It's been a while since the last League match, that being the 3-2 home win over Montreal back on May 26. But the break is over, and the team began the week preparing for Saturday's match at Vancouver (5 pm MT, Altitude).
Tuesday's training ended with a crossing / finishing drill. We captured some of it on video and decided to compile the clips into a raw two-minute clip below.
Give yourself a couple of minutes and stand on the edge of the training field. Watch how guys like Omar, Conor, Jamie, and Brian look after their injuries. Listen to reactions, encouragement, and feedback from the players and coaches. Get a feel for how the players approach a drill, with attention and sharpness, and enjoyment. And check out some pretty sharp crosses, neat diving headers, one-time finishes, and quick reaction saves.
The 2012 European Championship starts on Friday and long-time MLS partner ESPN will broadcast all the matches through their various outlets. We've set up a EURO Predictor Challenge Bracket through ESPN.com so that fans, staff, and players can go head-to-head in a just-for-fun contest.
Drew Moor, Andre Akpan, Tony Cascio, and Chris Sharpe have signed up, as has some members of the staff.
All are invited to join our group. Here's how:
Click on this link: http://games.espn.go.com/euro-bracket-predictor/en/group?groupID=3845
Set up an account if you don't have one.
Join our team / private group: Rapids EURO Challenge
Pick which teams will finish first and second from each of the four groups, the winners of the Quarterfinals, the Semifinal winners, and who will win the Final.
You have until the Friday's first game between Poland and Greece to submit your picks!
(Note that all rules for participation are governed by ESPN.com).
It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the U.S. Men's National Team made that incredible run all the way to the Quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
On June 5, 2002, eight of us from the front office met at one's apartment in the middle of the night and watched our own Pablo Mastroeni start in the USMNT's 3-2 upset of a heavily favored Portugal side. Later games would fill up large establishments all over the country, including a huge showing at our viewing party in the Club Level of INVESCO Field at Mile High.
Prior to the 2010 World Cup, I sat down with Pablo and a few other former Rapids players to talk about their World Cup experiences. Watch below as Pablo talks about how he made the U.S. team and his memories of the 2002 World Cup. (Click here to watch on Youtube).
If you've been to a Rapids home game this year, you've likely looked up at the scoreboard and watched some of the videos the Game Entertainment crew produces. We'll be posting some of these on here throughout the summer - after they've aired in the stadium.
Here's the first video: "This or That with Marvell Wynne:" (WATCH ON YOUTUBE)
Long-time MLS journalist Steve Davis posted on the NBC Sports' ProSoccerTalk.com website that he was recently asked to nominate six players from each MLS team that should appear on 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star fan ballot. His deadline was May 29.
ColoradoRapids.com has since learned that MLS Communications was forming a panel consisting of two media members that cover each of the 19 teams, plus 50 or so national media members who don't cover specific teams, to submit 114 names for the upcoming ballot (6 players for each of the 19 teams).
The MLS All-Stars will take on UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea FC on July 25 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Penn.
In the last two seasons, both Jeff Larentowicz and Omar Cummings were selected from the Rapids to play against Manchester United, becoming the 16th and 17th Colorado players chosen for the mid-summer showcase.
So, we ask you: If MLS gave you the opportunity to nominate six Rapids players for the 2012 ballot, which six players would you nominate?
We finally got our hands on the video of the goal that was talked about often last week within the Rapids office. Youngster Ricardo Perez has played a handful of Reserve League games for the Rapids, but his first priority is helping the Rapids Development Academy's U-16s. Last week, he scored three goals in a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Thunder. Watch his second goal below (CLICK HERE TO WATCH ON YOUTUBE):