Youth

Youth Development Staff

Brian Crookham

Senior Director of Soccer Development

Brian Crookham joined the Rapids staff full-time in May of 2007. As Snr. 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.


Mitch Murray

Academy Technical Director

Mitch Murray joined the Rapids Academy as Technical Director in February of 2010. He has a long history of coaching soccer at the highest levels in America. His coaching licenses include German “A,” US Soccer “A” and Canadian Level IV.

Coming to the Rapids, Murray brings 21 years of Collegiate coaching experience, which includes 16 years at Santa Clara University and two years at San Diego State. During his tenure with Santa Clara University, Murray had a winning record of 143-58-17.

Between the years of 1996 and 1999, Murray served as the head coach for the U-18 National Team. During this time, he also was one of the scouts for the National Team.

Murray’s accolades include, 2 State Titles with Foothill Community College, 1 NCAA Division I National Championship with Santa Clara, 3 NCAA Division I Finals, 4 NCAA Division I final 4s, 1991 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year.


Steve Cooke

Alliance Technical Director

Steve Cooke joined the Colorado Rapids coaching staff full-time in February 2010. Prior to joining the Rapids, Cooke has enjoyed a twenty year full-time coaching career in England and in the United States.

A graduate of Carnegie College in Education, Cooke holds both the UEFA “A” Coaching License and the USSF “A” Coaching License.

Cooke came to the United States following a six year career with Sheffield Wednesday Football Club, then of the English Premier League, where he performed duties as Youth Team Coach and Center of Excellence Coach. Additionally, he worked for The Football Association as a tutor and assessor in their coaching education department.

Cooke made the move to Phoenix, Arizona where he spent eight years as the Assistant Director of Coaching at Sereno Soccer Club and a further two years at SC del Sol in the same role.

Steve Cooke's career then took him to Las Vegas, Nevada when he accepted a position as the Director of Coaching for Neusport Football Club. In addition, Steve was appointed as the Director of the boys Olympic Development Program and performed duties as a Coach Educator for the Nevada Youth Soccer Association.

A native of Sheffield, England, Steve resides in Denver, Colorado and has two children, Daniel and Gabrielle.


Gary Evans

Director of Coaching

Bio coming soon.


Chris Sharpe

Colorado Rapids Academy Goalkeeper Director

Club Playing History:
2008-Present Colorado Rapids MLS.
2007 Koge BoldKlub. Danish Div.1
2005-2007 Viborg FF. Danish Super Liga
2004-2005 Chesterfield FC. English League One
2003-2004 Parramatta Power. Australian National League
2002-2004 Northern Spirit. Australian Nation League
2000-2002 Southampton FC. English Premier League
1998-2000 Blackburn Rovers FC. English Premier League

National Team Honors:
2000-2001 Australian U/20
2003-2004 Australia U/23 Olympic Games Squad

In addition to his playing career with the Colorado Rapids, Chris is also the Director of Core Goalkeeper Academy in Colorado.

Chris was born in Sydney, Australia and currently lives in Denver. An avid golfer with his team mates, he also enjoys watching the Nuggets and Avalanche play.