Five Rapids Academy players had the opportunity to impress at the national level as they took part in the U.S. U-14 Talent ID Central/South Regional Mini-Camp hosted at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, on March 9-13.
Rapids U-14 Academy players Diego Ambriz, Alex Hernandez, Kellen Lowery, Noe Sarmiento and Kamal Sawadogo were called into the five-day camp, which aids U.S. Soccer in the identification of prospects for future national team call ups.
“We were very excited to have five players invited to attend the U.S. Soccer U-14 Talent ID event for the south and central region,” said Chris Cartlidge, Rapids Academy Technical Director. “It is fantastic for the players to receive this exposure and experience. An invitation to the camp is a preliminary step on the pathway to a U.S. Youth National Team roster spot. This experience provided these young players with an opportunity to compete against some of the top talents from across the region. The players invited have all been key members of this year's U-14 roster and have earned the opportunity to train and compete on this stage.”
As a part of the club’s U-14 team, Ambriz, Hernandez, Lowery, Sarmiento and Sawadogo have all been key influences in the team’s 10-1-1 record during the current MLS NEXT season. As it stands, the Rapids sit at the top of the U-14 Frontier Division as the only team with a single loss so far this season.
Ambriz, U-14 goalkeeper, joined the organization as a product of the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club. The young goalkeeper has been an integral part of the U-14 squad, making 13 appearances and recording six clean sheets in the 2022-23 season.
Hernandez joined the club in 2022 from local youth side CASA. Since then, he has appeared in nine matches as a midfielder and has bagged two goals for the Rapids Academy team.
Also a former player for the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club, Lowery plays in the full back position for the Rapids Academy. He has continued his growth throughout the season making 13 appearances in the current MLS NEXT season.
Center forward Sarmiento has been a force to be reckoned with as one of the leading goalscorers for the U-14s. The Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club product has scored seven times in his nine matches on the pitch.
Sawadogo, U-14 centerback, came to the club in 2022 after spending his youth career with the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club. He has played in 13 matches this season and has added one goal.
The five U-14 players joined the club in 2022 after participating in the Rapids Futures Program as U-13 players. The Futures Program provides supplemental training and competition for the top players in the state at the U-11, U-12 and U-13 age divisions.
To learn more about the Rapids Academy, visit www.coloradorapids.com/academy/.