Academy player could be turning pro

U-18 forward Davy Armstrong is contemplating offer to join professional side

Commerce City, Colo. – Davy Armstrong was three years old during the Colorado Rapids inaugural season in Major League Soccer in 1996. He doesn’t remember his first Rapids game – because he was so young when his family first brought him to a game at the old Mile High Stadium.

This week, the 18-year-old former Rapids Academy player is having a week that he’ll likely remember for the rest of his life.

Armstrong is contemplating an offer from the Rapids to join the professional team – straight out of high school. His other option – attend the University of Washington to play college soccer.

Should he choose the Rapids, he would become the first player in club history to have developed from the Rapids Academy and be promoted to the professional ranks.

“First and foremost, he stood out in his own age-group in the (Rapids) Academy,” said Rapids head coach Gary Smith. “That led to a period with the first team, which is obviously a big step up. (We wanted) to see how he coped, A., with the environment, and B, with the pressure of being around bigger, stronger, more talented and more experienced players. The lad has come through with flying colors.”

Although Armstrong has been part of the Rapids youth system since 2007, and he’s been training with the Rapids first-team all summer, he didn’t realize that the Rapids coaches have had their eyes on him for some time, and were taking the opportunity to evaluate him in the professional environment.

“I always had that thought in the back of my mind, that if I performed well, maybe they’d see something in me,” said Armstrong. “So I just trained as hard as I could every day to try to get better and better, and hopefully I’d improve some. And then I got the call that they wanted to have a serious meeting with me. I had no idea until I got that call, and I was like ‘wow, I could be going pro right out of high school.’”

Davy was playing for the Rapids adidas Alliance partner, Colorado Fusion, when he was called in to join the Rapids youth team that was participating in the first-ever SUM U-17 Cup in 2007.

The club’s coaching staff knew what a special player they were getting when he joined the Development Academy U-18 team during his senior year of high school, and quickly classified him as a ‘homegrown’ player – an initiative established by Major League Soccer to allow clubs to develop their own youth players without exposing them to the MLS SuperDraft.

In 2008, he earned All-American honors at Rangeview High School in Aurora and was named the Colorado State Player of the Year.  He won the State Cup with Fusion in 2006 and finished his high school career with more than 50 goals.

“He has a huge amount of ability, and some very, very nice physical qualities,” added Smith. “Mentally, for a young guy, he has settled in, he has shown what he is about, and at this point, I think he has convinced everybody that he is good enough to be part of this professional group.”

While with the Rapids U-18 team at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase in Arizona last year, Davy was identified by a scout from the University of Washington. He was approached some time afterwards and offered a scholarship.

Last week, Davy and his family were sorting out the details for his trip to Washington this upcoming weekend. Now, the close-knit family has a decision in front of them that they will decide together, although it seems that Davy is already leaning one way.

“My drive was always to make it and to go pro, and it’s right here in my hand, pretty much,” said Armstrong.