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07 May 2:23 pm

I am new to the soccer world. This is my first season with the Rapids and I showed up in Colorado with minimal knowledge of the sport. I credit a friend in Houston for introducing me to English Premier League soccer and carving a space in my heart for Everton (I have an unnatural attachment to underdogs) - but a lot of this MLS experience is completely new to me.

One of the most intriguing elements of a soccer game is Man of the Match. Following each home game, the Rapids Man of the Match visits the Summit Club Powered by 2lemetry where he answers questions regarding the match and greets fans. He then heads to Eighteen76 (formerly known as the Cantina) to sign autographs and chat with fans. As a fan, it’s a great opportunity to meet one of your favorite players. Everyone, including me, wants to know how the decision is made.

Here's what I found out: Each game, a small panel of Rapids staff votes on Man of the Match. The decision takes into account much more than goal scoring or saves, in the case of the keepers. The panel looks at a player’s overall impact on the match. In that sense, it has been described as a very subjective decision. There’s no formula, no science. It’s all art, and as such, it is always open to debate.

The Man of the Match in the win over Toronto was goalkeeper Clint Irwin (see above). Let me know who you would have picked as Man of the Match on Saturday in the comments below or on twitter @TamaraCG.

01 May 5:22 pm

It was a story that went viral early in the week, and then spread like wildfire through twitter on Wednesday. You'll quickly realize why when you watch the video above (warning, might need tissues), but I wanted to give another shout out to the Portland Timbers and their fans for this amazing show of compassion towards a young fan. If you're hearing/seeing this for the first time, here's how Portland described the day though a press release:

In front of more than 3,000 Portland Timbers faithful – converted for a day to support a special wish made possible by the club, the Timbers Army and Make-A-Wish® Oregon – eight-year-old Atticus Lane-Dupre netted four goals, including the game-winner in the waning moments of the match, to power The Green Machine to a 10-9 victory over the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field Wednesday afternoon in Portland, Ore.

The Timbers teamed up with Make-A-Wish® Oregon to grant the wish to Atticus, who learned he had cancer last fall and missed his last soccer game of the season with his teammates on The Green Machine. Guided to victory by Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, The Green Machine faced a formidable Timbers side that included a Starting IV.

When Atticus had the chance to make a wish, he chose to scrimmage the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field, home of the Timbers. Prior to Wednesday’s game, Atticus was outfitted with his own locker next to Timbers captain Will Johnson, while he and his family were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Timbers locker room and workout facilities.

After the game Atticus exchanged jerseys with Johnson, and then, in keeping with Timber's tradition, he held up a slice off the victory log for his four goals.

CHECK OUT THE PHOTO GALLERY HERE

29 April 1:30 pm

As the Colorado weather jumps rapidly from winter to summer, back to winter for two days, then summer again, spring for three days and so forth, so do Coloradans in enjoying all of the outdoor activities that one of the sunshiniest states has to offer.

This past weekend, members of the Rapids front office kicked off another busy summer tradition of races and relays with the Cherry Creek Sneak, where the organization was a sponsor with activation in the finish line village. The staff participants in the 5k consisted of Marketing Director, Wayne Brant, Premium Sales and Service Manager, Kenzie Crow, Group Ticket Sales Manager Emily Kilcoyne, and myself representing Media Relations.

As the last place finisher of the group, I’m going to exercise my author's discretion and omit the individual times - if only for self-preservation. But for the competitive sake of the others who participated, the finishing order went as follows:

  1. Crow
  2. Brant
  3. Kilcoyne
  4. Sweeney

Shortly after crossing the finish line, Crow then split from the group to run another 5k with friends at the Graffiti Run. The event, a colorful tromp around Elitch Gardens, boasts a less competitive nature and a more festive one to get people outdoors and active.

With the first weekend of races gone, the upcoming schedule of ONECLUB participation includes the Bolder Boulder, the Tough Mudder, the Lookout Mountain Triathlon, the Evergreen Triathlon, and the Crescent Moon Triathlon. Rapids fans at each event should keep an eye out for friendly Rapids staff and in some cases our tent and inflatable soccer field.

#Coloradoforlife

25 April 11:16 am

It’s been a few days since this article came out, but I’ve read it a couple times and think it’s worth giving a longer look. Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com (@thegoalkeeper on Twitter) goes in-depth on the new agreement between NBC and the English Premier League, and what it means for both MLS and American soccer as a whole. I think it’s a fascinating take, and gives an accurate, in-depth look at some of the challenges that all of us who work in MLS face when we think about how to grow our league.

The popularity of the Premier League is daunting, but like Tannenwald, I care far more about MLS. It’s my job (and everyone else’s here in our company and across the league) to get more people to feel that way as well.

The NBC/EPL deal raises a lot of questions, the primary one being whether or not it’s good for MLS. What do you think? Does having NBC invest so much in English soccer help or hurt MLS? What should MLS do to raise ratings? What should MLS do once its TV deals expire after 2014? Let us know in the comments, or find me directly on Twitter: @Lindholm.

23 April 3:39 pm

Rivalries in sports are fierce. Fans and teams from Boston and New York are pitted against one another across all major league sports (Revolution-Red Bulls, Celtics-Knicks, Bruins-Rangers and of course, Yankees-Red Sox). The teams don’t like each other; the fans don’t like each other; the rest of the country has an opinion on all of it.

But, in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the rivalry dissolved, revealing a deep amount of respect between the two cities. Fans laid down their differences, and the New England Revolution supporters and New York Red Bulls supporters marched together.

Yankees-Red Sox is one of the most heated rivalries in all of sports. It makes for exciting baseball when the two storied franchises meet. But when faced with adversity, the teams laid down their differences and the Yankees stood in support of the Red Sox.

New York isn’t the only city that stood up for Boston. Outpourings of support came from all over the United States, including Chicago.

A number of teams played Sweet Caroline as a tribute to Boston, wore black armbands, held moments of silence and showed their support in creative ways, including a touching tifo from FC Dallas fans.

Local teams stood behind the city in a number of ways.

The entire world of sports turned its heart to Boston, from runners of the London Marathon to athletic gear rivals who stood as one in support of victims of the tragedy.

Author Golden, in Memoirs of a Geisha, said “Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” With that in mind, the show of strength and togetherness is nothing less than inspiring.

22 April 5:17 pm

Until a few weeks ago I had never heard of the group, Rabbit, nor of their song, "In My Blue Jeans." But now I can't get the song out of my head.

I first heard the song in video called Soccer Walking New York, then in Soccer Walking Philadelphia, and Soccer Walking Chicago, and, you can see where I'm going...all across America!

Former MLS player Jared Montz runs his own soccer drills website called OnlineSoccerAcademy.com. Jared is using his site to promote Soccer Walking America - a 45 day, 15 city video series tour he created to raise awareness of the fight against malaria and encourage soccer players worldwide to juggle to save lives in the OSA World Juggle-a-thon for Nothing But Nets on April 25, 2013; World Malaria Day.

Jared came to Colorado to shoot his video on April 8-9. He was able to get a lot of footage before one of our now weekly snow storms, and then went to the Sports Dome to get Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Tony Cascio, and Edson Buddle to join in. Jared also juggles with Academy midfielder Bryan Windsor and his brother and dad.

You can participate, too. Join the "Juggle to Get Better, Juggle to Save Lives" World Juggle-a-thon for Nothing But Nets on April 25th at 6pm from anywhere in the world.

Click here to become a Juggler and Fundraise

Or Click here to make a One Time Donation

Then go watch the rest of the videos from each of the other MLS markets on the OnlineSoccerAcedmy YouTube page and get that song stuck in your head, too. Hey, oh, oh!

22 April 4:20 pm

‘The law is an ass’ – a phrase made popular by a character in a Charles Dickens novel.

These words came to me on Sunday night on hearing of the disgraceful antics of Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez.

He’s facing the wrath of the English FA after TV cameras appeared to show him biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Biting!!!!

And he seemingly has a taste for this kind of thing, having been banned for seven games following a similar offence whilst with Dutch club Ajax in 2010.

But what about the law of the land? The soccer field is a place of work. Players and officials have stressed this to me in the past when fans hurl abuse: “The field is our office and there needs to be a level of respect. You wouldn’t accept it in your office. Fans often over-step the mark.”

By the same token, if I bit someone in my ‘place of work’, punched them or butted them, then I imagine my future employment would be under threat and the police would be involved.

Rarely does this happen in sport. Somehow sport seeks to separate itself from everyday life, when it suits. Apparently, Ivanovic did not want to press charges – once bitten, twice shy.

Liverpool need to check the small print on Suarez’s contract, or at least allow him a bigger pre-match meal.

04 March 11:00 am

The new Colorado Rapids jerseys created quite a buzz around the soccer community last week. But we were the only ones to unveil new looks - a bunch of MLS teams also presented new jerseys as part of Major League Soccer's first Jersey Week. And it didn't stop there.

On Friday, the US Soccer Federation, which turns 100 years old in 2013, unveiled its new centennial kits for both men and women's national teams. Fans in Colorado will get to see first these in person when the men come here for the March 22 World Cup Qualifier against Costa Rica.

From US Soccer's announcement:

Known originally as the United States of America Foot Ball Association, the organization was officially formed on April 5, 1913. Three years later, the team played its first game against Sweden in Stockholm, winning 3-2, and the new kit is inspired by the uniform worn by those pioneers 100 years ago.

A standout feature of the new kit is the crest. The enlarged crest pays homage to the original kit, and is interwoven to maximize the top’s luxurious feel. The crest's 13 stars and 13 stripes replicate the motif of the 1913 kit and symbolize the first American flag of the original 13 colonies.

 

22 February 10:13 am

Edson Buddle has only been with the Rapids a few weeks. But as a MLS and U.S. national team veteran, he's known some of his new teammates for some time, including Marvell Wynne. That has made the transition to the Rapids that much easier, as evidenced by the fact that Marvell trusted Edson to give him a new haircut.

On the right is what Marvell looked like at the start of preseason camp. On the left, a few weeks in when he saved his head before the group went to Vegas.

Apparently, he wasn't done with his new look. Here's the image Edson tweeted on Thursday:

21 February 4:36 pm

Obviously, Colorado is no stranger to snow, although it's been a bit sparce in the Denver metro area the past couple years. On Feb. 20-21, 2013 Commerce City received it's first decent snowfall since last October. So when I got to the stadium on Thursday I couldn't pass up the chance to take new photos of the new adidas Prime match ball on the field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.