COMMERCE CITY CO (Exclusive to ColoradoRapids.com) - The Colorado Rapids Youth Academy U-16 and U-18 teams have just concluded their inaugural year this past Sunday.
The 2007 season the inaugural year for the Rapids' youth teams ended with fitness testing and an inter-squad scrimmage on the fields complex at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park where they have been conducting training sessions three times per week for the last few months.
"It has been an exciting year on the youth development front in 2007 for the Rapids organization said Rapids Youth Academy Director of Coaching Brian Crookham.
"The Rapids club has made a commitment to the youth development system this year and feels that the Rapids Academy is an investment in not only the product that the Rapids' first team puts on the field but in Colorado soccer as a whole. 2007 was just the beginning of something that we feel will change the dynamics of youth soccer in this region."
The Rapids Academy teams were formed for the first time in June of this year creating a second tier of the Academy on top of the already-successful Academy Camps program which is run by Rapids Assistant Coach and Director of Player Development John Murphy.
Highlights from the 2007 Rapids Youth Teams season include:
-The Rapids won the Rocky Mountain Division of the Super Y League and advance to the North American Finals in the Under-17 Division.
-Rapids Youth team member and University of Portland recruit Ryan Kawulok was named to the Super Y League North American Finals All-Tournament Team and invited to the SYL National ODP Camp.
-The Rapids Academy hosted the inaugural MLS/SUM U-17 Cup in July at Dick's Sporting Goods Park and youth teams from all the MLS clubs were invited to participate in this tournament which was part of the festivities surrounding the 2007 MLS All-Star Game.
-The Rapids Academy was selected as an inaugural member of US Soccer’s Development Academy and will compete with 62 of the top clubs in the country as well as the United States U-17 Men’s National Team.
-Brett Jacobs former Director of Coaching for Michigan Youth Soccer and youth coach at England’s Wimbledon Football Club was hired as the Rapids Academy's Assistant Director of Coaching and U-16 Development Academy Coach.
"As exciting as this year has been we are really looking forward to 2008 when we will unveil expanded programming and continue to work towards a fully-integrated youth development structure for the Colorado Rapids concluded Crookham.
The Rapids Academy is leading the way amongst MLS clubs in youth development; stay tuned to ColoradoRapids.com in the coming months for the latest news from the youth teams of the Rapids Academy!