Rapids Development Academy Teams to be fully funded by club

Development Academy program to include U-14 Team in addition to U-16 and U-18 sides in 2013-14

Rapids Academy midfielder Ricardo Perez against Houston

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy Nigel Brooks / Houston Dynamo

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Tuesday, February 5, 2013) – The Colorado Rapids announced on Tuesday that the club’s top competitive youth teams, which participate in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, will be fully funded by the club starting in the 2013-14 season. The Rapids’ program will also expand to include a Development Academy team at the U-14 level in addition to the existing U-16 and U-18 sides, with all administrative, coaching, facilities, equipment, travel and other costs covered by the club.

Tryouts for the Rapids Development Academy Teams will take place in May and July, with more information available by visiting www.ColoradoRapids.com/youth or contacting the Rapids youth staff at rapidsacademy@dsgpark.com.

“This is a major step for our Academy, and further demonstrates the commitment from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to developing talent here in Colorado,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “The top quality coaching and facilities that these young players will have at their disposal will help them develop as players ready for the college game and professional ranks, and provide us with Homegrown Players that can be the future of our club.”

“We are proud to offer the opportunity to play on one of the country’s top youth teams to these players and their families,” said Rapids Academy Director Brian Crookham. “This allows us to include any player in our most competitive teams without concern for their ability to pay, and we’re excited at the potential this move has to improve our Development Academy Teams on and off the field.”

The Colorado Rapids U-16 and U-18 Teams have been playing in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy since its founding as the top tier of competitive youth soccer in America in 2007, and the national league will expand to include U-14 Teams in the 2013-14 season for the first time.

Three Colorado Rapids youth players have been signed to the first team as Homegrown Players in Davy Armstrong, Shane O’Neill and Dillon Serna, and most players who come through the ranks go on to play competitive soccer in college. Several other players in the Rapids’ system have trained with the first team in the last several years, and in the 2011-12 season, the Rapids U-18 Team finished sixth in the country among the 78 participating soccer clubs in the Development Academy.

About the U.S. Soccer Development Academy

The U.S Soccer Development Academy is a nationwide youth development initiative, organized by the U.S. Soccer Federation, featuring 80 of the top youth teams in the country competing in a league system at the U-18 and U-16 levels, and expanding to include the U-14 age group in 2013-14. The 80 youth programs, including one U.S. Youth National Team in each age group, are divided into 10 geographically based divisions, each of which will send a single qualifier to the national finals after the regular season concludes in late June. For more information on the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy, please visit www.ussoccer.com.