It was a good week to be a young soccer player around the Colorado Rapids.
On Saturday, 17-year-old Academy midfielder Ricardo Perez was awarded the 2012 Boys Youth All-American honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America at the NSCAA convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
"I was excited and honored to receive this recognition." Perez told ColoradoRapids.com. "I think that putting in the hours of training and concentration payed off in the end, and I'm very happy to represent the Rapids Academy, and Colorado, among a group that includes so many good youth players from all around the country. I want to continue working hard and keep learning to be the best soccer player I can be."
The midfielder from Fort Collins was one of 43 players in the United States - and the only Coloradan - to receive the accolade.
“Ricardo has been a top player in each level of our academy and it’s great to see him earn this honor,” said Rapids Academy Director and U-18 head coach Brian Crookham. “He has excelled in his time here and is being recognized for his hard work through first team opportunities and awards like this. We would all like to congratulate Ricardo for being named an All-American.”
Perez joined the Rapids Academy in 2008 at the U-14 level and played with the Rapids U-16 Team in each of his first four seasons at the club. He also moved up to play with the U-18’s the past two seasons and played in all the games at the 2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals, where the Rapids U-18s finished 6th in the nation.
In 2012 Perez trained with the Rapids first team regularly and made four appearances with the Rapids Reserves. He has verbally committed to play at Creighton University next fall.
The All-America honor for Perez capped off a positive three-day stretch that saw the Rapids sign 22-year-old Chilean winger Kevin Harbottle, draft college standouts Deshorn Brown (22), Dillon Powers (21), and Kory Kindle (22), and sign 18-year-old Dillon Serna as the club's third Homegrown player.
WATCH: Perez scores golazo in 2012 Academy season.