It's a day where dreams come to fruition countless hours of training and hard work finally pay off.
This past Wednesday was National Signing Day, where four men from the Colorado Rapids Development Academy and 25 women from the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club signed letters of intent to play soccer at colleges and universities around the country.
"The club and academy staff in particular are proud" Interim Academy Pro Director Erik Bushey said. "They are a fine representation of our academy, they are of quality character and are rich in work ethic. They are talented young men with bright futures. We are grateful for their commitment to our program and to the Colorado Rapids."
Peter May of the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club echoed those sentiments.
"In the first year of the merge and the youth club having elite levels as well as competitive teams, and you see an age group where we signed 25 players to Division I scholarships," May said. "This is a real testament of the work that happened this year as well as many years leading up to this point."
Defender Luke Hansen, who has been a member of the DA U-14s, U-16s and U-18s US national teams, chose to attended University of Vermont. Hansen has represented the red, white and blue on five different occasions and most recently was called up to the first ever US Soccer YNT Summit alongside 153 other players from all over the country.
"Luke joined Rapids Academy in the 2016-17 season," Bushey said. "He stepped in almost seamlessly and played a critical role in a top two finish in one of the most difficult divisions in the country. He has returned this year with the U-19s and again has been a mainstay at left back."
Midfielder Logan Hitzeman will be heading to University of South Carolina next fall. Hitzeman has trained with the first team on multiple occasions, and represented the Rapids on the U-14s, U15s, U-16/17s and U-18/19s squads. He was a key player in the U-17s team that reached the US Development Academy quarterfinals in 2016-17 and the playoffs in 2017-18. The 17-year-old midfielder is a key player in this year’s U-19 group that currently sits at the top of the academy conference standings.
"Over the course of four seasons, Logan has made a significant impact on the academy," U-15 coach Chris Cartlidge said. "Logan has been committed on a daily basis, developing his game, giving selflessly to his teammates and the club."
Midfielder Jayson Baca from Mountain Range High School signed with the University of Washington. In the academy, Baca helped the U-17s reach the US Development Academy quarterfinals in 2016-17 and the playoffs in 2017-18, scoring 16 goals in those two seasons.
"Jayson made a big commitment to leave his hometown of Albuquerque to join the Colorado Rapids Academy for the 2016-17 season," Cartlidge said. "We are very glad that he made that decision and we look forward to seeing his continued impact on the club with the U-19s and the University of Washington."
Defender Paul Elliot, who has been with the Colorado Rapids organization since he was 10-years-old with Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club and joined the academy in 2014, chose to attend Brown University next fall. Elliott was also a part of the U-17 team that reached the US Development Academy quarterfinals in 2016-17 and the playoffs in 2017-18. He now is a key player on the U-19 squad and looks to make an impact with the Bears next year.
Colorado Rapids Development Academy
|Luke Hansen||Denver Online High School||University of Vermont|
|Logan Hitzeman||Mountain Range High School||University of South Carolina|
|Jayson Baca||Mountain Range High School||University of Washington|
|Paul Elliott||East High School||Brown University|
Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club
|Abby Gearhart||Bucknell University|
|Catherine Bakken||Air Force Academy|
|Coriana Dyke||Penn State University|
|Kacy Johnston||Gonzaga University|
|Kaitlyn Glover||University of Denver|
|Keelie Wortmann||University of Wyoming|
|Kendra Gipson||Colorado State University|
|Lauren Holleran||Iowa State University|
|Mackenzie Bryant||Columbia University|
|MacKenzie Egan||Boston College|
|Maria Allen||University of Wyoming|
|Mariana Annest||Northwestern University|
|Myah Isais||University of New Mexico|
|Rylie Haussler||University of Houston|
|Sarah Piper||Duke University|
|Shalom Prince||University of Oklahoma|
|Tessa Barton||University of Colorado|
|Audrey Weiss||Notre Dame|
|Tori Parker||University of Wyoming|
|Anna Hossfeld||University of South Dakota|
|Elle Gill||Miami University (Ohio)|
|Catie Groves||Richmond University|
|Lynette Hawkins||Western Illinois|
|Hannah Hagen||University of Wyoming|
|Kassie Rembisz||Texas A&Mst Corpus Christy|