2021-22 Academy Frequently Asked Questions
How are the Rapids Academy teams different?
The Rapids Academy provides the elite player with a pathway to MLS & professional soccer. Our Academy teams play in the highest level of youth soccer competition, MLS NEXT League & Cup competitions. Deserving Academy players train with our professionals at the 1st team & USL level on a regular basis and participate in training & games where permitted . All training and games take place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where players have access to top facilities both on and off the field. Our staff has created an environment that affords each player the support & programing to reach their potential.
How many players are selected to the program?
For 2021-22 we will form a pool of approximately 80 players that will be assigned to the U13, U14, U15, U17 & U19 Academy teams as full-time players. There is no minimum or maximum number of players that will be selected in each birth year.
What ages are eligible to be selected?
The age groups are defined by birth years. Players are eligible for the teams as follows:
- U19 – Born on or after January 1, 2003
- U17 – Born on or after January 1, 2005
- U15 – Born on or after January 1, 2007
- U14 – Born on or after January 1, 2008
- U13 – Born on or after January 1, 2009
Players should plan for being evaluated based on the year they were born, not the label on the age group. Due to the current limitations on MLS Academy activities due to COVID -19 virus, we are not setting specific dates for the ID sessions at this time. We will be providing information once specific times & dates are confirmed.
How are players selected for the Rapids Academy teams?
Evaluating players for the teams is a year-long process. Our current players are evaluated and placed on a team appropriate to their development. We also scout league games, host local and regional evaluation sessions, watch high school games and bring players in to train with our current teams in search of the top players for our teams. . Due to the current limitations on MLS Academy activities due to COVID -19 virus, we are not setting specific dates for the ID sessions at this time. We will be providing information once specific times & dates are confirmed.
When and where do the teams train?
Full-time training for the Rapids Academy will begin August 3. Our teams train Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. There will be training and/or games played on Saturdays and Sundays each week. We have two artificial fields at DSG Park which serve as our winter training home; therefore we train outside year round with our U13, U14, U15, U17 and U19 teams. We will hold a futsal training segment for our U13 teams.
What is the schedule like?
Academy players commit to 11 month schedule. During that period players will participate exclusively in Colorado Rapids training sessions & approved competition. The training segments will be as follows (subject to adjustment): U13, U14, U15, U17 and U19
- Fall Segment August 3 – December 12
- Winter Break December 13 - January 11
- Spring/Summer Segment January 11- July 3
The MLS NEXT conference alignments for 2021-2022 are still under review and will be announced later this spring. Teams U13 – U19 age groups will also have multiple showcase events. *Please note that per MLS NEXT rules, full-time players may not participate in high school/middle school soccer or other outside soccer activities during the season. The U13 roster will compete in scrimmage games against local competition & periodic tournament events.
What costs are associated with the program?
Players do not pay to participate in the Colorado Rapids Academy. All coaching, facilities, registration, travel, meals and most equipment is provided for the players who participate in the Rapids Academy. Players must provide their own transportation to practice. As part of the Academy program each player is asked to purchase a 1st team season ticket at a discounted rate (TBD). The attendance at 1st team games provides each player with the opportunity to observe & learn from MLS players & teams.
Do you help with the college search process?
While the mission of our Academy is to produce players for our first team the majority of our players will go on to play college soccer at a school and a level that suits their academic and athletic talents as part of their development pathway. We feel it is important to start the college search process early and with all the information you need to find the right college fit. The club provides educational sessions for our players beginning with the U15 teams. These sessions are age group/grade level specific and are made available to all of our high school age groups. In addition, our staff is in constant communication with college coaches. We are in the unique position of not only sending players off to college, but we are also monitoring players for summer training programs and the MLS SuperDraft. The relationships built with college coaches through this process ultimately benefit all of the players in our program.