After an exciting debut season, the Colorado Rapids Unified Soccer Team began training for the start of the second year last night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. A few players returned from last year's team and were met by new teammates as Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens and defender Chris Klute put the athletes through their first workout of the season.
The players also received their new uniforms which they'll debut on Sept. 14 when they host a Special Olympics team from Dallas.
CLICK HERE to check out the photos from the first day of training and come back for more updates before and after each match.
Some of the best appearances Colorado Rapids players make in the community are the ones where the kids become the stars, not the pros. A little while back Colorado Rapids midfielder Nick LaBrocca and Edson the Eagle attended a unique event where kids in wheel chairs got an opportunity to play soccer. Local station, 9News, was there to capture and share the story of how the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation started Power Soccer (video above).
According to 9News' report, "power soccer is played with a bumper on the front of the power wheelchair that is used to move the soccer ball. The soccer ball is slightly larger than a standard ball."
"The sport has done so much in my life and become such a key part of my life, and I've seen how it touched so many other people's lives," J.C. Russo, a member of the Team USA power soccer team, told 9News.
Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation (CASF) provides financial support, coaching and mentoring so athletes with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in organized team sports programs. More info here.
We've done our share in documenting Shane O'Neill's quick rise from high school basketball star to Colorado Rapids starting defender to the U.S. Under-20 World Cup team. What we haven't touched on much is that Shane is part of a larger sports family.
Local CBS 4 sports reporter Vic Lombardi met up with Shane and his parents and five siblings a couple of weeks ago.
In a related note, Burgundy Wave editor Chris White wrote in a column about the fear of Shane one day chosing to play for Ireland instead of the U.S. Men's National Team. Check out the video feature above and you can hear why Shane's birth country is still such a big part of his every day life.
An hour-long documentary by Soura Films, 2013.
In the middle of the Egyptian revolution and in a region where American policies are not welcomed, Bob Bradley takes the job of the Manager of the Egyptian National Soccer Team. The film follows the rebuilding of Egypt towards democracy alongside Bradley's rebuilding of the team and taking Egypt to the World Cup, Brazil 2014.
The unprecedented access and the behind the scenes of Bob and Lindsay Bradley, their personal ups and downs in Egypt, the heated political situation in Egypt, and the unique coverage of the Egyptian team's camps and games, all of this make this film a must see.
A little while ago ESPN's Outside the Lines did a long piece on former MLS and U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley and what he's been presented with in trying to lead Egypt to the World Cup. Now comes this 14 minute trailer of a film giving us more exclusive access to the American's task overseas.
Not sure more needs to be writter. I'm looking forward to watching this.
Over the past years I've written about Colorado Rapids fans proudly showing the colors in fun places outside of Colorado. From the multiple supporters' road trips, to a fan in burgundy at a Champions League game in Barcelona, to the family at the 2012 European Championships, and the father-son duo that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, it's always neat to see fans telling the world which team they support.
"Our scarves (and spirit) made it to the farthest SW point in Africa. Oh, and the locals *loved* the Rapids jerseys. There's a bartender at Serondella Game Lodge near Kruger who is sporting a Rapids Jersey right now..."
Check out the photos and give them some likes!
Colorado Rapids goalkeeper has been itching to get back on the practice field since breaking his arm in March. However this week he was happy to miss the first few days of training and rehab.
On Monday, June 3, Matt's wife, Loubna, gave birth to the couple's first son, Sofyan. Mom, Sofyan, and his 17-month-old sister Kameliah are all doing well!
Matt, who was back at the complex on Thursday, told me that his broken bones are now fully healed and doctors told him it's possible he could be cleared to resume full training in a couple of week after building up more arm strength.
Congrats to Matt and his family!
Here's a segment from a recent Rapids Report on Pickens' recovery:
We've told you before about the three fans that come to just about every Colorado Rapids training. Allan, Mark, and Joan were obviously at the Rapids match against FC Dallas on Saturday. They, like I'm sure many Rapids fans, also felt that the FC Dallas players..um..maybe milked some of their falls in the match last weekend at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
So today they brought out this red flag with a white diagonal sash to training. As they explained to Oscar Pareja afterwards, much to Oscar's enjoyment, the flag is a Diving Flag which is used on boats to indicate that a diver is in the water. They brought it to present a bit of humor to the group following the recent draw.
The game saw 27 fouls, 14 called on Colorado and 13 on Dallas. But it appeared that, often, the Dallas players took much longer to get up from fouls (and sometimes were on the ground without a call). Well, clearly these fans didn't think there was contact on many of the plays.
BREAKING: It may be difficult for Colorado Rapids fans (and perhaps some staff or players) to believe, but we have good reason to believe that the coin used by U.S. Soccer to determine the home team is not double-sided.
Earlier this week U.S. Soccer announced that the Rapids - should they win their Third Round U.S. Open Cup match at Orlando City on May 28 - would face the winner of the Sporting KC vs Des Moines Menace match in the Fourth Round on June 12. Of course, if Sporting KC defeats Des Moines, Colorado would travel to KC - marking the Rapids' 12th consecutive road match in the Open Cup for Colorado.
U.S. Soccer - which is based in Chicago - invited Chicago-Fire.com editor Jeff Crandall to attend the flip for both the Third and Fourth Rounds, and gave Crandall the opportunity to report what he observed. Crandall was admittedly skeptical of the process, but he provides a thorough description of both draws (READ HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE THIRD ROUND DRAW).
After going into greater detail for the bigger Third Round draw, Crandall today shares details of the much smaller Fourth Round draw, stating it was "a bit more straight forward and regional compared to last week’s. In fact, the fourth round draw didn’t utilize envelopes or slips of paper, just as much geographic sense as possible and the bicentennial silver dollar."
What we know is that U.S. Soccer Competition Secretary Paul Marstaller overseas the draw. He placed the Fourth Round matchups into geographical pairing. From the Rapids-Orlando and Sporting KC-Des Moines pairing, all but Des Moines applied to host the fourth round game. In other words, the flip was won by the Sporting KC-Des Moines pairing - so the Rapids didn't win the flip with Des Moines,but rather would host the game by default since the Menace didn't apply. READ THE DETAILS HERE
On Saturday I wrote how Colorado Rapids rookie Dillon Powers was hoping to get from San Jose to Indiana in time to make it to his graduation ceremony at Notre Dame on Sunday morning. It was a trip that afforded no room for error or delays. Powers was held out of the match at San Jose - which probably helped him the pursuit. He didn't need to clean up and was able to get a ride to San Francisco Airport in time.
From his twitter handle we knew he made it to Chicago on time, but we didn't know if he made it to the Commencement in time
Touchdown in Chicago. The race to South Bend is on. #Graduation
— Dillon Powers (@powerhour5) May 19, 2013
Well, on Monday he tweeted that he had made it. Here's Dillon in cap and gown in front of touchdown Jesus.
— Dillon Powers (@powerhour5) May 20, 2013
Take a look at the photo above of a youngster in Haiti and see if you notice anything familiar.
Most see a kid or young man about to kick a soccer ball - looks like a corner kick. What you might not notice is that it's an adidas MLS match ball. And his cleats? They used to be worn by a Colorado Rapids player.
Here's how this came about.
The team's chaplain, Rev. Brad Kenney - who, by the way, used to be part of the Rapids Media Relations department back in the day - is part of the CrossTraining ministry. One of the functions of the ministry is to put organizations in touch with others that may be able to provide assistance through what they call the Timothy Project.
A couple of months ago Brad was contacted by a local church that was going to Haiti to work with children. So Brad casually mentioned it to a few of the Rapids players in their weekly chats. The players got together to donate some well-conditioned gear which included cleats, pinnies, shin guards, and soccer balls from previous seasons. Brad said that Stew Ceus, who has played for the Haiti national team (his parents are Haitian), also donated personal items.
Thought it was neat seeing these items put to use - and positively affecting a group so far from here. Here's more on the Timothy Project - Haiti for those interested.