Colorado Rapids

Q&A with Academy center back Carlos Estrada


Age: 14

Birthplace: Denver, Colorado

Position: Center back

When did you join the Rapids Academy?

I first joined the Rapids Academy as a U-13 player in 2020. I started out as a part time player with the club when I was playing with the U-12’s. I earned myself an offer with the Academy and joined the U-13 team.

Tell us a little bit about your soccer journey.

I started playing when I was five. My dad played growing up. He played all types of positions, but his favorite was goalkeeper. He loved playing and he was a dedicated player. When he told me I was going to play, I was happy about it. It seemed fun although it was hard in the beginning.

I first played competitively with my uncle’s team. We were a team made up of all of my cousins and we played in a small league. It was a pretty fun league and still had a good level of competition. After I left my uncle’s team, I joined CASA FC. I played there for a couple years and it ended well because the coach there really encouraged me to play more and be aggressive, which got me an opportunity with the Rapids.

Tell us a little about your personal journey outside of soccer.

At home, it is just my mom, my dad and my sister. When my family spends time together we like to do movie nights or have family over for steak dinners and to spend time together.

We have kind of moved around Denver and haven’t stayed in one place. When we moved around, my sister and I would go to the same school most of the time since it was easier for my parents to manage. My sister is 12. We get along pretty well. We don’t fight as much anymore. We are able to joke around and talk more now. She used to play soccer but now she plays volleyball.

What are you most looking forward to in the 2022-2023 MLS NEXT season?

I am looking forward to the Generation Adidas Cup. That would be my number one priority this year. It is a really good competition for all the teams to come together and compete and see who is the best of the best in the country. We get to play teams like LA Galaxy and LAFC, really good teams that we can really show who we are against.

The season so far has gone really great. We started off well but we suffered two losses, which was needed because after that we just kept winning and winning and keeping clean sheets. It is good to see the team improving with time. We get better each day.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023 on a personal level?

I really want to continue improving my technical work on the ball. I want to continue to help the team and be a leader on the field. I want the team to keep improving so we can show people who we are.

Who is your biggest inspiration on the pitch?

I would say Sergio Ramos. I really look up to him and I hope someday that I will be as good as him. His play style is just aggressive and he is a leader on the team. He gets things done and makes sure that nothing gets behind the goal. He always makes sure the striker knows he is there so the striker won’t be able to move around him.

Who is your biggest inspiration off of the pitch?

I would say my dad. Him playing as well, he knows what it takes to become a high level player on an Academy team. He knows the ups and downs and knows what goes on in life. He is a person I can really look up to and talk to when I am struggling in life. The biggest lesson my dad has taught me is to be humble. He always tells me to be humble and I follow his example.

What is your go to pre match/pre training meal?

I usually drink a protein milkshake. I usually put peanut butter, banana, chocolate, milk and stuff like that. It gives me lots of energy for the day and prepares me for a game.

What is your favorite cheat meal?

My go to cheat meal is an Egg McMuffin from McDonalds.

Give me three words to describe Carlos the soccer player.

Leader. Reliable. Kind-hearted.

Give me three words to describe Carlos the person.

Nice. Humble. Personable.

Do you have any game day/training routines or superstitions?

Before I get to the field, I like to listen to music. I like to listen to rap and sometimes oldies. I have different genres I listen to depending on my mood. I try to get my mindset ready for the game. Once I step on the field after we have done our huddle in the middle, I do my own prayer. The team usually huddles in the middle and prays together and then I do my own and I pray that the game goes well and no one gets injured.

What does your day look like on an off day?

I usually spend my days off recovering. I try to eat lots of protein and just relax by watching a show or a movie. I also like to play video games. My favorites are Call of Duty, Apex Legends and FIFA.

What is it like for your family to be a part of the Homestay Program?

We first got involved when one of the coaches came up to me and asked if my family would be willing to host an Academy player in our home. Once my family made the decision to move forward with the Homestay Program, we met up as a family and talked about how it was going to work. I like that we are able to provide an opportunity to a player that is not from here. It gives players more of an opportunity to go pro for either Rapids 2 or the first team.

What does wearing the Rapids Academy badge mean to you?

Earning the opportunity to wear the badge means a lot because it is a very hard thing to earn. Not everybody gets the opportunity to have this experience. I am super grateful to be a part of this club and represent the Rapids. My ultimate goal is to go pro with the first team or Rapids 2. If that doesn’t work out, I want to explore the option of college soccer and improve my play so I can be with the first team one day.

Do you have a badge in your personal life that represents who you are as a person? Ex: family crest, meaningful item/symbol.

I would say the thing that represents me the most is the Rapids badge. If I go out wearing it, it just shows and represents the person that I am. Even without the badge, I believe that I still represent the club and I try to be a humble and kind person to everyone. Being from Denver and wearing the badge is great. I get to carry out my career with my family by my side and it is a place where I can play and still be close to where I grew up.