How are the Rapids Development Academy teams different?
The Rapids possesses the ultimate end product, the MLS professional team. Our Academy teams play in the highest level of youth soccer competition, US Soccer’s Development Academy, as well as in MLS specific youth events. Deserving Academy players train with our professionals on a regular basis and participate in reserve games with the team. All training and games take place at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, where players have access to top facilities both on and off the field. Our staff has created an environment that we believe allows each player to reach his potential.
How many players are selected to the program?
For 2015-16 we will form a pool of approximately 54 players that will be assigned to the U14, U16 and U18 Development Academy teams as full-time players. There is no minimum or maximum number of players that will be selected in each birth year.
What ages are eligible to be selected?
The age groups are defined by birth years. Players are eligible for the teams as follows:
U18 - Born on or after January 1, 1997
U16 – Born on or after January 1, 1999
U14 – Born on or after January 1, 2001
There is no minimum age for inclusion, although age groups are usually looked at in 2 year blocks.
How are players selected for the Rapids Academy teams?
Evaluating players for the teams is a year-long process. Our current players are evaluated and placed on a team appropriate to their development. We also scout league games, host local and regional evaluation sessions, watch high school games and bring players in to train with our current teams in search of the top players for our teams. The process concludes with a final tryout in July. Initial rosters for our Development Academy teams will be set by the 1st of August, and players will also be offered spots with our Rapids Youth Soccer Club teams at that time.
When and where do the teams train?
Full-time training for the Development Academy will begin on Mid-August. Our teams train Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. There will be training and/or games played on Saturdays and Sundays each week.
We have access to two artificial fields at DSG Park which serve as our winter training home; therefore we train outside year round.
What is the schedule like?
Development Academy players commit to an 11 month schedule. During that period players will train and compete exclusively in Development Academy, MLS and events involving the Colorado Rapids. The training segments will be as follows (subject to adjustment):
Fall Segment August 10 – December 12
Winter Break December 13 - January 19
Spring/Summer Segment January 19- end of July
The teams will compete in a conference with Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo and other clubs from the Dallas, Houston and Austin areas.
***Please note that per Development Academy rules, full-time players may not participate in high school soccer or other outside soccer activities during the season.
What costs are associated with the program?
Players do not pay to participate in the Colorado Rapids Development Academy. All coaching, facilities, registration, travel, meals and most equipment is provided for the players who participate in the Rapids Development Academy. Players must provide their own transportation to practice. Players are expected to purchase a season ticket at a discounted rate (approximately $300)
Do you help with the college search process?
The majority of our players will go on to play college soccer at a school and a level that suits their academic and athletic talents.
We feel it is important to start the college search process early and with all the information you need to find the right college fit. The Sport Source provides educational sessions for our players beginning with the U15 teams. These sessions are age group/grade level specific and are made available to all of our high school age groups. In addition, our staff is in constant communication with college coaches.
Our staff is also in constant contact with college coaches. We are in the unique position of not only sending players off to college, but we are also monitoring players for summer training programs and the MLS SuperDraft. The relationships built with college coaches through this process ultimately benefit all of the players in our program.
The Rapids are involved in the Development Academy, how will the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club teams that compete in CSA associate with the Development Academy teams?
The high school teams will at times train with their DA counterparts. Every effort will be made to ensure the sessions will be held at the same times and locations and there will ample opportunities for the groups to work together. High School players will also be able to earn the opportunity to be named as developmental players for the Academy teams while still playing in the state league and still eligible for high school soccer.
I have an interest in participating, how can I get evaluated for the teams or get more information on the program?
Interested players contact the Academy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-727-3755.