Rapids assistant coach and former England international Steve Guppy watched from the sidelines as 57 invited soccer players were put through the various tests that opened the club's tryouts on Friday afternoon on Field 10 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
As he moved from field to field watching the small sided games, he recalled how he got his break. As a 19 year old, Guppy was playing park soccer with his friends in Southhampton, England when a scout from Coventry City spotted him. The rest is history, as Guppy not only starred professionally in England and Scotland, but also played for the England National Team.
Select players from Colorado and around the country - and some even as far as England and Ivory Coast - have been invited to tryout for the chance to impress the Rapids technical staff this weekend.
The players were selected from the hundreds of applications received, as well as some that were recommended from contacts around the country.
Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo, and Academy directors Brian Crookham, Brett Jacob, Mitch Murray, and Steve Cooke are being assisted by fitness coach John Ireland and goalkeeper Chris Sharpe in running the drills - all with clipboards in hand to make notes for every player on every exercise.
On Friday, the players were first put through various speed, agility, and endurance tests, including the dreaded 'beep test,' which saw one player reach level 20, but most others tap out much earlier. The group was then split into six teams to play mini games.
Saturday, the staff will put the players through possession, defending, and crossing / finishing drills in the morning before observing them in full-sided games from 2-4 pm. The tryouts finish on Sunday with full-sided games from 10 am to noon.