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18 June 11:09 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

By Connor, Cal, and Hank

We started out at about 3:00 pm on the bus that was going to take us to the game. It was fun to look at all of the neat things on the streets of Costa Rica that you wouldn ́t be able to see in America like the food stands and all of the people out and about.

Once we arrived at the fields, we headed into our own locker room which was really cool! We got changed into our warm up stuff, used the bathrooms, and then headed out for our warm up which was SUPPOSED to be on the field. The problem was though that some other little teams thought it was their day to practice on the field and so we decided to take the high road and let them have the field for a while. Once they had finally finished we went into the locker rooms and got dressed for the game.

Once the whistle blew the team we were playing, Belen, came out hot and we came out flat after not having our usual warm up. Belen got a quick goal in about the 10th minute to take the lead 1-0. The game dragged on for a long time in the first half with Belen controlling the game before Belen had a chance to really hit us with a dagger. They had a penalty kick. The tallest kid on the team who looked like his number 24 was actually his age came up and put the penalty where no professional could even save it. 2-0 was the score heading into halftime.

With a brief talk about defensive pressure, and substitutions with fresh legs, we were able to control the game in the second half, which was a total change from the way the first half went. In the 50th minute we had won a free kick from about 25 yards out and had Marco Rios ready to take it, and take it he did. He put the ball in the left side netting.

Our break-through had come and now we were fired up and on the scoreboard. 10 minutes later Marco Rios received a bouncing pass from the same left wing and took a quick turn shot from 17 yards out and put it in the same corner he had earlier. Now we had the momentum. We were dominating play, but one fast break for Belen off of a turnover and they put the ball in our corner of the net off of their break away. 3-2 was the final score and Belen had beaten us.

Even though it was an extremely tough loss for us, we never stay down long and there is absolutely no way that this is going to hold us back from reaching our full potential on this incredible trip.

18 June 10:00 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

Cade, Triston, and Marko

On Monday morning we had woken up at 7:30 am to go eat breakfast. The bad part was that everyone was pretty tired; Tibbs even had bags under his eyes. When we arrived at breakfast there was a bowl of fruit waiting for us. And ten minutes later pancakes were in front us. Everyone was so excited that we had pancakes.

Paul had quoted, “this is the business.”

When we had finished up breakfast, we had a meeting at the pool. The meeting was about our trip so far. It was fun for us to hear each other’s thoughts. After that, we all headed to our hotel rooms to get ready to go for a walk around the hotel's courtyard. It was beautiful. We saw lizards and a bunch of amazing plants and flowers. Furthermore, that was Monday Morning.

Next - Monday’s lunch was one of the best we had. Our lunch was fried chicken with a side of fries, and let me tell you, it was really good after having a bunch of crazy things to eat and try. We also had desert! The desert didn’t exactly hit the spot. It was like cake/jello, it was weird but fun to play with. We still appreciated their effort, Cade remarked.

Finally it was the game. We arrived two hours early for warm-ups but another group of kids were taking the field for their practice! We only warmed up for 30 minutes. The outcome was 3-2 Belen.

When we got back to the hotel it was 8:45. For diner we had Heart of Palm( literally) and a side of salad. It was delicious.

17 June 10:00 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

By Marco Rios, Dani Haddad, and Hayden

We had breakfast at 7:30, then got our gear and went to practice. Hank didn’t go to practice because he wasn’t feeling good.

After practice Gustavo took us around and showed us the Costa Rica national stadium with his wife.

Then we had a snack at the hotel, while we were eating coach Brian came. We went to the pool and we did races in the pool. After all that we all rested and then went to dinner.

Right after dinner we had a meeting with Brian, Gary, and Drew. The meeting was at the pool and we talked about many things like what’s different and what we liked about it. Finally we went to our rooms and rested. While we were resting there was a power outage and it was completely dark. But then the lights turned back on. Eventually we fell asleep and woke up ready for tomorrows game.

Sunday after practice
Max and Vincent

Today after practice, we went to go see the Costa Rican National soccer stadium in the city. When at the field, our host Gustavo tried to get us a tour of the stadium, but the guards did not let us in, so instead we went around the stadium.

We saw pro baseball games, animals, and people playing soccer. Baseball in Costa Rica isn’t popular and while we were there, we started to watch a professional game. Even though it was a championship game, you could watch for free and there were about 15 people in the crowd. It felt like watching a little league game.

In Costa Rica, there is about 90,000 different species of animals, but we only saw three. We saw ducks that didn’t look like ducks. They were black with a red face and looked more like chickens than ducks. We also saw horses that you can ride for about $2 U.S. There were kids riding horses at the age around 7, riding horses with no adult supervision right by the edge of the lake. The last animal we saw was dogs. We saw a vicious Labrador puppy, a British mop dog that was black and white, and a small beagle puppy. We also saw dogs at the practice fields. There was a dog barking at us loud and spinning all at once. Dogs in Costa Rica are scary.

While we were walking around, all we saw was soccer. There was street soccer, pick-up games, and adult leagues. Even though the fields weren’t the best, they just wanted to go out and play.

When we were walking, there were people staring at us and whispering to each other. Some people would even approach us and ask for autographs. While we were at the airport, there was a man who helped us with our luggage trying to make a few dollars. Costa Ricans are friendly and look up to us. They’re different than Americans. They´re different in a good way. After dinner, while we were writing this paper, the whole town´s power went out for about 10 seconds. It was even scarier than the dogs.

16 June 10:00 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

By Win, Juan and Paul

In the morning we had interesting oatmeal and eggs. We also killed a huge spider with a remote. Then we met at the elevator so we could get on the bus to go to our game. We saw a crazy dog that marked and spun in circles. Finally we got back after an exhausting game. Then we had our best meal, it was a mushroom marinated steak and some potatoes.

Then we went to German´s presentation of biodiversity and soccer in Costa Rica. Then we found out that he was a goalkeeper. He takes all kinds of pictures in Costa Rica´s tropical rain forest. We had so much fun learning about the wide variety of wildlife and soccer.

Later that day we went to our own rooms and we went on the balcony and we were talking with our teammates from the other rooms. We were out there for a little while and then we went inside to go to sleep and wake up the next morning.

By Thibbs Jake and Toby

We woke up at 7 for a 10 o'clock game time. When we arrived, the whole team, and their parents were staring at us. Before the game, the starters from both teams as well as the referees, walked onto the field to shake hands. We didn’t get the kick-off, but Hank got to defend the goal he wanted.

With the extremely hot humidity making us all sweat like we never have before, about halfway through the first half, Marco sent a left-footed cross into the box for Paul to head in. Then the half ended.

We kicked off for the second half. One of Saprissas forwards took the ball down the right side and crossed it. We made a mistake in the defense which led to a goal for the other team. We kicked off again. A little while after that, one of their forwards dribbled down the left side. Then he took a left-footed shot and placed it in the back right corner. 2-1 them.

From this point we were getting frustrated, but with 4 minutes to go, Juan took a shot from outside the box and it hit the crossbar and went in. We got even and gained momentum for the rest of the game. At the end of the game we had a cool down which involved stretching and light jogging.

15 June 10:00 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

By Cal, Connor, and Hank

We woke up in our dark room to the sound of Cal´s phone alarm and headed downstairs to the restaurant for breakfast. We had delicious pancakes and fruit with orange juice to drink. We then got our soccer stuff and headed out on the long bus ride to the fields.

On the bus ride we were able to get a glimpse of Costa Rica´s culture. There were farmers markets and joggers around every turn and there were so many plants and animals that we couldn´t figure out what to look at.

After we finally arrived at the fields the 'keepers went off to their training and the players went to do theirs. German was the goalkeeper coach and Gustavo was the players' coach.

Everyone was surprised by the humidity and it was taking its toll on everyone there because it was so much hotter than in Colorado. After the practice was over everyone was burning hot so we went to the pool for a cool down swim. Then we took the bus ride back to Bougainvillea.

We were able to take a quick break in our hotel rooms before heading down to the restaurant for a wonderful lunch of fresh fish and juca. We came back from lunch with our taste buds still tingling from the deliciousness of the meal and we figured out a way to talk to each other without getting in trouble by talking over our balconies.

After the long break in our rooms we went to eat. We had a barbeque with hamburgers, fries, and tea to drink. After the meal was over no one wanted to leave so the team sat and enjoyed the classical music being played and had some quality conversation before meeting the coach of Saprissa.

We then had a meeting in room 219 where Win, Juan, and Paul were staying. Everyone got there early and used the meeting as an excuse to party before the meeting. After Gary came in things settled down and he talked to us about how to be a professional when you´re on the road.

After the speech was over we all knew where we had to be the next day and we all dozed off immediately after our heads hit the pillow. We're so excited for this opportunity and can´t wait to see what kind of fun and activities await us during this trip. We love Costa Rica!

14 June 10:00 am

(A selection of Colorado Rapids U-13s is in Costa Rica participating in the Saprissa Cup. The kids, ranging from 10-13 years-old, provide updates from their trip).

By Marko, Triston and Cade

On Thursday morning we woke up bright ‘n early. Cars were arriving at DIA with moms and dad with coffees in hand. Excitement was in the air along with the emotions of saying goodbye. We were going to Costa Rica!!! WOOOOP WOOOP!

Then there was Security. It was a long walk past Caribou coffee at the start of our adventure. As we were making our first costumes check there was a problem. We got hung up by the security guard for a strange reason and it was all Jake's fault. He had unknowingly brought a filled up water bottle! The old security then said his sorries and we were off once again.

We had just arrived in Houston. We were in a rush to get to our plane but, when we got to the plane we were early. So, our coach “Gary Evans” said to go eat lunch. All of us then headed to lunch in our groups. The Houston airport was very different from DIA - it looked a lot like a mall. After lunch we headed into the plane to Coast Rica. WE WERE OFF!!!

When we arrived in Costa Rica it was awesome, the humidity was unbearable. Also the scenery was very lush and colorful. We knew right away that America was very blessed. BY CADE!!!

First was immigration forms and check in. Many of the officers speaked Español so, it was very difficult to finish it. Also when we left the airport, everybody stared at us, it was so scary. The bus ride to the hotel Bougainvillea showed how simple these people are living in this region that is foreign to us.

As we arrived at the hotel, it was beautiful. Everybody greeted us with respect and kindness and were very excited to have us. The pool in a dark clear blue and is so dazzling. Additionally the campus has so many plants and animals to look at and enjoy.

This is such a good experience.

10 June 4:18 pm

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.

 

10 June 11:22 am

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.

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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.

07 June 10:54 am

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.

This week I saw the photos that Rapids season ticket holders Patricia and Chris Billinger posted on the Rapids' Facebook page.

Here's what Patricia wrote with her photos from Cape Town, South Africa:

"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!

PHOTO 1        PHOTO 2

And, don't forget to share a photo of your untouchable Rapids moment for a chance to go on a #RapidsRoadTrip to see the team in Seattle in July. ENTER ON FACEBOOK. (More details if needed).

06 June 1:11 pm

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: