COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Colorado Rapids Academy players Cristopher Madera and Miguel Alvarado were called into the U.S. U-15 International Training Camp & Tournament that took place from April 21 to May 1 in San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain, under head coach Tom Heinermann. The pair competed in three international matches that saw the U.S. take on Spain, England and Japan’s U-15 sides in preparation for the 2023 Concacaf Boys’ U-15 Championship.
“It was great to see Miguel and Cris selected to join the U.S. U-15 Men’s Youth National Team for training camp,” said Chris Cartlidge, Rapids Academy Technical Director. “They have both excelled in the MLS NEXT and Generation adidas Cup competitions this season. The opportunity to travel to Spain and compete against other top youth national teams was an incredible opportunity for both players to add more quality experiences to their resume.”
“Both players had very positive experiences at the last national team camp they participated in,” Cartlidge continued. “The Rapids Academy is very proud of Miguel and Cris. They are excellent role models for their teammates and young Rapids talent. The recognition was a well-deserved reward for their hard work, talent and dedication.”
The tournament kicked off on April 26 with the U.S. facing off against England in a game that saw the two teams end regulation in a 2-2 draw. The two sides went on to compete in a penalty kick shootout where the U.S. was able to beat England to take home their lone victory of the tournament. The following matches against Spain and Japan ended in a 0-3 loss and a 3-5 loss, respectively.
The 20-player, U-15 national team roster was represented by eight MLS Academy sides. Among the players competing in the tournament, Alvarado made his presence known and took home the honor of the Player of the Tournament for his consistent performances across all three competitions.
Both Madera and Alvarado were called into the U-15 Men’s Youth National Team Camp in March 2023 in Carson, California. Madera also joined the U-15 Men’s Youth National Team for an ID Camp in August 2022.
Madera started his time with the Colorado Rapids Academy as a U-12 player, transferring from local youth side FC Colorado. The 15-year-old midfielder has played for the Academy’s U-12, U-13 and U-14 teams and notably earned a Frontier Conference title with a 19-1-4 record during the U-14s’ 2021-22 season. Across the U-14 season, Madera played in 22 games and added three goals during the team’s regular season. He also played with the Rapids U-15 Academy team at the 2022 MLS NEXT FLEX event and 2022 MLS NEXT Cup. The Colorado native currently occupies a spot on the U-15 Academy team and has made 20 appearances and scored one goal during the current 2022-23 season.
Alvarado joined the Rapids Academy at the U-12 level from local affiliate Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club. The 15-year-old wingback was a key contributor during the 2021-22 season, making 20 appearances for the U-14 team, helping them to a Frontier Conference title with a 19-1-4 record. In the same season, he also spent time with the U-15 Academy side competing in the 2022 MLS NEXT FLEX event, 2022 MLS NEXT Cup and 2022 Generation adidas Cup. In the current 2022-23 MLS NEXT season, Alvarado has played in 13 matches and continues to bring a leadership presence to the U-15 team.
Most recently, Madera and Alvarado led the U-15s to a 1-1-4 record during the 2023 Generation adidas Cup where the team claimed a penalty shootout win over international side Club Bolívar. Madera put away the game-winning penalty kick for the Rapids Academy in their Apple TV featured event. The Rapids’ lone win of the tournament saw them best another international side, Club América, in a 1-0 victory.