Brian Crookham gives tips at 2011 Dare to Play Soccer camp

Global Down Syndrome campers to take part in COL-SJ match

For the past three weeks a group of aspiring soccer stars have been participating in the Global Down Syndromes Foundation's Dare to Play Soccer Camps. The camps concludes on Saturday, Oct. 6 when the participants get to join the fun at Dick's Sporting Goods Park for the Colorado Rapids match against the San Jose Earthquakes (7 pm MT, Buy Tickets).

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation launched the Dare to Play Soccer Camp for individuals with Down syndrome in September of 2011 to provide an opportunity for males and females age 8 and up to learn the basics, camaraderie and joy of soccer from college and professional soccer players. Each camper is paired with a Regis University or Colorado Rapids soccer player for one-on-one attention, assistance and fun.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2011 Dare to Play Soccer Camp at DSG Park

The Camp was inspired by the birth of Regis University Men’s soccer coach Tony McCall’s daughter, who happened to be born with Down syndrome. McCall reached out to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, citing Regis University’s charter of giving back to the community, to create opportunities for people with Down syndrome to play soccer.

The Dare to Play Soccer Camp has grown into a collaboration between McCall, Brian Crookham, Director of Operations for the Colorado Rapids Academy (pictured above), and Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation with valued support from adidas.

"It's important that we continue to provide opportunities for all kids who are interested in playing this sport," Crookham told "It's been a very rewarding venture for us over the past 18 months."

Campers who participate get athletic instruction and support, and each camper receives a full soccer uniform, soccer ball, training t-shirt and ticket to a Colorado Rapids game.

This year's clinic that ends the three-week camp will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7 at Regis University from 3:30-4:30 pm.

Afterwards, the campers will head to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to lead the starters of both the Rapids and Earthquakes onto the field and then show off their new soccer skills to Rapids fans during halftime.

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