Youth

Youth Development Staff

Brian Crookham

Senior Director of Soccer Development

Brian Crookham joined the Rapids staff full-time in May of 2007. As Sr. Director of Soccer Development, he is responsible for all of the club’s programming related to player development, including the Academy, the Colorado Rapids adidas Alliance and the Club’s USL Partnerships.

Under his guidance, the club's Youth Development System has evolved into a fully-integrated player development structure where players have the ability to enter the club as a young player and pursue their dream of one day playing for the Rapids First Team through the MLS Homegrown Player program.

Crookham began his career with the organization as the Director of Coaching for the Rapids Academy. During the 2008 and 2009 seasons Crookham also assisted head coaches Gary Smith and Fernando Clavijo with the First Team. He has also served as a color analyst for Rapids television broadcasts on Altitude Sports and Entertainment since 2004.

For the three years prior to coming to the Rapids full-time, Crookham was the Assistant Technical Director for Colorado Youth Soccer. There he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Olympic Development Program and worked in coaching education.

Prior to his stint at Colorado Youth Soccer, Crookham served as the Men’s Soccer Coach and Assistant Athletic Director at Metropolitan State College in Denver. During his nine-year tenure, the soccer team became nationally-recognized, going from a team that had never before been ranked to as high as number four in the NCAA Division II top 25.

In 2000 the program made its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Crookham coached three All-Americans, 11 All-Midwest Region players and the 2001 RMAC Player-of-the-Year. The program was also recognized nationally with Academic Honor Awards in each of the last three seasons he was there.

In his role as Assistant Athletic Director, he was responsible for managing the student-athlete eligibility, academic progress, and NCAA rules compliance for the school.

A USSF “A” Licensed coach, Crookham also served as a USYS Region IV staff coach and an instructor in both state and national coaching education programs for US Soccer.

A native of Jenks, Oklahoma, Brian currently resides in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with his wife Michelle and their three children, Connor, and twins Beth and Sean.


Jamie Smith

U16 Coach/Development Academy Program Manager

Jamie Smith officially joined the Youth Development Staff after retiring from playing in January 2014.  Smith oversees the daily operations of the Rapids Development Academy as well as coaching the U16 team.

Smith holds a USSF “A” license.

Signed by the Rapids on July 28, 2009, Smith played 62 times for the club, scoring 7 goals and registering 13 assists in his four years.  Notably Smith set up Conor Casey’s goal in the 2010 MLS Cup on the way to the club’s first Championship.

Smith began his playing career with Glasgow club Celtic where he was a crafted his trade at the club's prestigious youth academy prior to being offered professional contract at the age of 18. He was loaned out to Livingston and when he returned to Glasgow in 2004 he received an offer from Dutch side ADO Den Haag. He spent one season with the club playing in 30 matches. In the summer of 2005, signed with Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen FC. In August 2005, Smith struck a late winner as Aberdeen defeated rivals Rangers in a league match for the first time since April 1998, wowing the Aberdeen support in only his third competitive game for the club. In December 2007, Smith played a key role in Aberdeen's victory over Danish team FC Copenhagen in the UEFA Cup, scoring two goals in the 4-0 victory that saw Aberdeen through to the last 32 of the competition. From 2005-2009, he appeared in 81 games with 12 goals with Aberdeen.

Smith earned two caps on the Scotland National Team, earning his first appearance vs. Ireland on February 12, 2003.

Jamie and his wife, Laura, have three children and he enjoys spending time with family, reading, cooking and listening to music.


Information coming soon

U18 Coach/Alliance Technical Director


Gary Evans

U14 Coach/CRYSC Technical Advisor

Gary Evans joined the Rapids Youth Development Staff in June of 2012.  Evans brings a wealth of experience in coaching as well as professional playing experience.

Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Evans began his professional playing career with the Liverpool Football Club. He later came to the United States and played in the North American Soccer League (NASL) in Edmonton, the American Soccer League (ASL) for the California Sunshine and in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) in Cleveland.

Upon completing his professional playing career, Evans spent 15 years in Southern California and Oregon. In 1996, Evans moved to Colorado and took over the head coaching duties at Colorado Christian University (CCU). In 1997, he took over the women's program, and ran both programs at CCU through 2003.  Evans still serves as the men’s soccer coach at Colorado Christian University. 

From 2003-05, Evans was the director of coaching at the Storm Soccer Club in Denver. In 2006, he took over the director of coaching position with the Pride Soccer Club in Colorado Springs.

Evans earned his United States Soccer Federation (USSF) A License in 1994. He also earned both the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Director of Coaching Diploma and United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National Youth License in 2008.

Gary lives in Highlands Ranch with his wife of over 30 years, Christine. He has five children, Gary, Stephen, Allan, Alyssa, Maeghan and a daughter-in-law, Leslie.


Chris Sharpe

1st Team Assistant Coach/Goalkeeper Director

Chris Sharpe oversees all programming for goalkeepers at the club, from the 1st team through the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club.

Sharpe was named an Assistant Coach at the start of the 2014 season, joining Pablo Mastroeni’s technical staff after having served as a player and coach with the team since 2008. In his current capacity, Sharpe prepares the first team’s goalkeepers in technique, tactics and preparation, and assists the staff in scouting opponents, planning practices, and other first team duties.

The Australian native also serves as the Rapids Academy Director of Goalkeeping, working with Rapids youth players of all ages and ability levels. In addition to his coaching duties with the Rapids, Sharpe is also the Goalkeeper Coach for Colorado’s U.S. Soccer Training Center sessions, and is the Director of the Core Goalkeeper Academy.

Sharpe originally arrived in Colorado in 2008 as a player, forming a part of the Rapids squad while serving as an MLS League Pool Goalkeeper, meaning that all MLS clubs could call upon Sharpe if their goalkeepers were unavailable. In his five years in that MLS role, Sharpe spent nearly all his time in Colorado, but suited up as a reserve for eight other clubs across the league.

His previous professional playing experience included Danish clubs Koge BK (2007) and Viborg FF (2006-07), Chesterfield FC of England (2004-05), and Australian clubs Parramatta Power (2004) and Northern Spirit (2002-03). His youth career was spent with illustrious English clubs Southampton FC (2000-02) and Blackburn Rovers (1998-2000). He participated in camps with the Australian Under-23 National Team leading up to the 2004 Summer Olympics.