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Blog

08 July 12:23 pm

A lot has happened since I last post, so let's catch up.

After Saturday water fights / scrimmage / practice, we had some down time before heading to Century Link Field to watch our Rapids take on the Seattle Sounders, so we did a Duck tTour together with the Washington Special Olympians, checking out the sites of Seattle.

Here's the surprise we held from telling the players: just a few minutes before we left the hotel, we told them they'd be getting the first-class treatment at the game by sitting in a private suite. To say they were excited is an understatement - they were screaming with joy from the hotel lobby and until they entered the suite!

We watched the game and afterwards brought everyone down to the field, where the players received words of encouragement from Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid (right). Seattle's Roger Levesque gave each player a gift bag and Marvell Wynne also came back out to greet them (below).

That's Conor Coleman raising his hand in the photo on the right. He and Sigi were on a first name basis after all his questions, the last being: "Did you like coaching or playing better?" Sigi told him playing was his #1, and coaching #2.

From then, it was time to go back to the hotel to rest for Sunday's match.

07 July 4:25 pm

So, now to a few notes about this morning's practice, which took place at Seattle Washington University's Championship field from about 11 to 12:30 or so. Just before practice, our Olympians met the Special Olympics Washington team for the first time, then practices along side them.

You see that guy in the photo to the right, that's Ibsen Ayala (FULL BIO). He was getting a little help with his shoes from the coaching staff. Though that smile has me believing he thinks he's some kind of superstar receiving superstar treatment, just leaning back while two coaching work on both shoes. I think I even saw a little wink after I took the photo.

Once ready and stretched the team played shark and did other drills for about an hour. And while soccer was the main focus, Conor Coleman - he of the great one-liner to Conor Casey - couldn't get his mind off last night's dessert. He apparently loved the Godiva cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, because he couldn't stop talking about.

And what would a training session along side your opponent be without a little friction. Well, it wasn't really like that, but the two teams got into a little friendly water fight during one of the breaks. No clear winners, just a lot of water!

The final 30 minutes of practice was a 5-v-5 scrimmage, which ended in a 3-3 tie, setting up a good showdown tomorrow. Rapids 'keeper Dominic Sisneros (FULL BIO) took his instructions from coach Philip Knight (FULL BIO) well, because he played fantastic (below). 

At the end of practice, the teams huddle up and congratulated each other, yelling out a "Unified" on 3!

 

07 July 4:03 pm

First things first, I think this deserves it's own post. Just before practice started this morning in Seattle, the coaching staff named Mackenzie Beauvais-Nikl the Special Olympics Colorado team captain.

The 17-year-old is a goalie on this team, but it's clear her talents are many. Just last spring Mackenzie scored over 10 goals while also stopping every goal but one as goal keeper. And get this, Mackenzie is also involved in 6 other Special Olympic Colorado Sports including: tennis, track, basketball, softball, snowboarding and cycling.

Check out her full bio here!

06 July 11:29 pm

It's neat how the Olympians recognize the Rapids players, and vice versa. Rapids All-time leading scorer Conor Casey and five-time MLS Cup champion Brian Mullan conducted a clinic for these athletes back in Colorado a few weeks ago, so they're still fresh in each other's memories. The Olympians all remember Conor and Brian giving them their Rapids gear!

Tony Cascio and Matt Pickens took the Olympians on a shopping spree at Dick's Sporting Goods in Belmar one night to buy whatever else they needed for the trip.

And if there was any doubt that these athletes are also big fans of the Rapids, Conor Coleman (pictured above with Casey; FULL BIO) made it clear when he provided the quote of the night - possibly the year - when he told Casey to: "Beat the Sounders to a pulp!"

Wayne Brant is the Colorado Rapids Marketing Manager, who is traveling with the Special Olympics Colorado athletes on the trip to Seattle.

06 July 11:09 pm

(Above: Luis Zapata (left) and Wells Thompson (center) shake hands and accept the Special t-shirts upon arrival in Seattle)

Not long after we arrived in Seattle, we headed out for a team meal at Cheesecake Factory. It took some of the athletes a little time to relax and feel comfortable, after all, this is one of the first times many of them have been away from the comforts of family and home. But as we've all experience, sports has a way of making us comfortable when we can share our passion with others that feel the same way.

After dinner, we brought the Olympians to the Rapids team hotel to greet the team as they arrived. (The Rapids team trained in Colorado this morning and came to Seattle on a later flight than we did).

And this is when the Olympian really began to feel at ease. As the Rapids players got off the bus and walked into the hotel, the Olympians greeted them with "Let's go Rapids" chants and presented each player with Special Olympics Colorado grey and orange t-shirt. The back had a string of positive one word messages, such as "RESPECT, STRENGTH, PASSION, DETERMINATION, FRIENDSHIP, etc."

They then gave head coach Oscar Pareja a Colorado Rapids flag that all the Olympians signed as a gesture of good luck from another member of our One Club. Omar Cummings was then requested to join them in a team photo (below). 

On a more humorous note, we told the Olympians that it was Rapids traveling PR rep Rachel Sweeney's birthday. So when they saw, they united to sing her Happy Birthday.

Wayne Brant is the Colorado Rapids Marketing Manager, who is traveling with the Special Olympics Colorado athletes on the trip to Seattle.

06 July 4:05 pm

The first big weekend is finally here! The Special Olympics Colorado athletes arrived in Seattle, Washington on Friday afternoon ahead of the first of a two-game series against the athletes from Special Olympics Washington.

The group, decked out in the custom apparel the Rapids' first team travels with - complete with Colorado Rapids polos and jackets and adidas travel bags - arrived in Seattle shortly before 2 pm local time. Staying in downtown, they'll have dinner this evening at Cheesecake Factory before settling in.

Training on Saturday will take place at Seattle University from 11-12:30 pm. The group will then attend the Rapids vs Seattle Sounders match at CenturyLInk Field in the evening.

The Olympians will square off Sunday at the Starfire Complex at 12 pm PT.

06 July 11:09 am

For all the success Brian Mullan has achieved in Major League Soccer, he's never sought - nor liked - the spotlight. And fortunately for him, he's always had teammates that garnered a lot of attention, be it Cobi Jones in LA, Landon Donovan in San Jose, or Dwayne De Rosario in Houston.

However Altitude TV was able to sit down with Mullan for this exclusive feature. As you can see, family is THE most important thing for the Littleton native, and Highland Ranch resident:

03 July 4:02 pm

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.

02 July 1:23 pm

At the 17th Annual 4thFest this Wednesday, fans will have the opportunity to show off their National and Rapids pride.

Altitude Authentics has created a limited edition USA-Rapids themed scarf as the Merchandise of the Match. At each Rapids home game this season, Altitude Authentics features a Merch of the Match, which is a single merchandise item at a discounted price for one day only. This patriotic scarf will be available at all Altitude Authentics retail locations at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday for only $20 (regular price $25).

Supplies are limited, so don't wait. Pick up your red, white and blue Rapids scarf and hold it high as the team takes the field on Wednesday. 

29 June 3:00 pm

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.

SIGN UP FOR FREE BUS RIDE FROM THE CELTIC TAVERN

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).

TICKETS WITH PID ARMY / CLASS VI