Colorado Rapids Under-16s Advance to Development Academy Playoffs

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Thursday, June 6, 2013) – The Colorado Rapids Under-16 Team has finished the 2012-13 regular season and qualified for the Development Academy Playoffs, which will take place in Frisco, Tex. from June 25 to 28. With a record of 16-8-3 (W-L-T), the team ended in fifth place in the Frontier Division of the Central Conference, and currently occupies the third of 13 wild card spots in the playoffs. The Rapids U-18’s have also finished their regular season, and after finishing sixth in the nation last year, will participate in a showcase event in Frisco at the same time as the playoffs.

The draw for the Development Academy Playoffs, when the Rapids U-16’s will learn their postseason opponents, takes place on Monday, June 17, after all Development Academy clubs have finished regular season play. The Development Academy is a national league which features 80 of the top youth clubs in the United States.

The Rapids U-16’s finished their regular season on Saturday, June 1 with a 1-0 victory over in-state rivals Real Colorado on Field 19 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The game’s only goal came from James Smits-Kagoshima, and goalkeeper Hayden Davis kept the shutout for the Rapids. Over the course of the season, Jovanni Chavez and Edward Venta-Yepes paced the Rapids with nine goals each, with Hayden Heinrich just behind with seven. Quentin Pearson, who has experience with the United States Under -17 National Team, helped anchor the back line.

The Colorado Rapids Under-18 Team has also finished the regular season, and missed out on qualifying for the playoffs after finishing sixth in the country in the 2011-12 season. The U-18’s closed with a 1-1 draw with Real Colorado, getting a goal from Isaac Martinez, who finished the year tied with Ricardo Perez for second on the team with six goals, just behind Alex Toderica, who had seven. The Rapids U-18’s were shorthanded for many matches during the season, as several players spent time with the Rapids first team and Rapids Reserves in training and matches. Goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, who split time between the U-16’s and U-18’s and has recently been training with the first team, is one of many Rapids youth players departing for NCAA programs next fall.

The Rapids U-18’s will participate in a national showcase event at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Tex., at the same time as the U-16’s playoffs. Many Rapids youth team players have trained with the first team throughout the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013, and several could play in this Saturday’s Rapids Reserves match at the USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders in Pennsylvania.