The Colorado Rapids Academy was well prepared to evolve & adapt to the challenges of 2020. The public health guidelines changed the way the players & staff went about their business on a daily basis. It was a challenging year with restrictions on schooling, competition and training limiting the Academy staff & players regular way of work.

The Academy had already identified a need to evolve programming to address some of the academic needs of its players. In July of 2020 the Colorado Rapids announced the launch of an online school program sponsored by the Audi Goals Drive Progress Program.

The Colorado Rapids Academy partnered with Connections Academy (Insert Hyperlink) to provide a comprehensive online education platform for a select group of Academy players. These players are supported by the Colorado Rapids Academy Academic Advisor who oversees player compliance with assigned tasks and tracking of player grades.

The Colorado Rapids has a clearly stated intent to provide opportunities for talented young players to prove themselves at the 1st team level. The pathway for the Rapids player to the first team roster have become increasingly clear. The online school program has for some time been identified as a critical tool to support our best young players. The online school provides the player and the club with:

  1. The flexibility to bring Academy players into first team training or USL training without negatively impacting the players academic school schedule and their academic progress.
  2. Increased contact time on and off the field with senior Academy players and the player pool closest to first team. This increased contact time affords the Academy Staff with the opportunity to focus on each players Individual Development Plan designed to address the players greatest areas of strength & challenge.
  3. Increased access to training facilities & support staff – Performance & Medical staff are afforded additional time to address each player’s physical development and to manage the training load experienced by each player.
  4. The video, & data analysis department has increased opportunity to provide the player with valuable feedback on their training and competition performances.
  5. Increased opportunity for strength & conditioning development
  6. Increased opportunity to impact the players holistic development. Increased interactions provide opportunities for staff & team mates to develop one another’s interpersonal skills, nutritional habits, lifestyle choices & mental/emotional balance.
  7. Increased ability to impact & influence on Academic progress. The student to advisor ratio is far superior to what the student would experience in almost any other academic setting.

By the numbers since July 2020:

  • 30+ Training Sessions
  • 40% Increase in Training Contact Time
  • 12 Connections Academy Students


"The rollout of the fall 2020 Rapids Academy Online School Program has been marked by impressive achievements from the student-athletes participating in the newly designed and comprehensive player development platform. From the academic perspective, the players demonstrated tremendous perseverance, growth, and academic gains in a challenging learning environment. As the program structures on field training sessions within their school hours, the players consistently brought forth a high degree of energy, excitement, and a level of professionalism within their individual and collective team development. It certainly has been a challenging fall season and semester due to many health restrictions. However, I believe the Rapids Academy Online School Program is well-positioned to continually grow and offer the players academic rigor and top level coaching for their development as they pursue their ambitions within the game."

Daniel Nestor 

Rapids Academy - Academic Advisor 

"Every day training gives us reminders as to why we train. Some of the very best players in our academy are participating in this program and yet there is no exercise that is too simple. It is about how you train. There are many different techniques players use in the game daily. Where all are important, different positions dictate certain techniques be mastered. To do this players need to train. Intentionally. This program provides encouragement, direction, and opportunity to do just that. Our players are better because of this additional commitment and as such, so is our academy."

Erik Bushey

Audi Online School Lead Coach & U17 Head Coach