About Elite Clubs National League (ECNL)

The ECNL was founded in 2009 as a challenge to the status quo of youth soccer, with a vision to be better. In its first years, the league supported only girls programming, but that changed in 2017, with the addition of a Boys ECNL program.

ECNL is the top level of competition and player development in the country. Each step was fueled by a shared commitment to elevating the youth soccer experience.

Today, the ECNL represents the epitome of excellence in youth soccer, for boys and girls, as the league and its clubs, players, coaches, and everyone involved seeks to constantly “Raise the Game” for the future.

Rapids Youth Soccer focuses on being one of the top elite programs in the country and supporting Colorado youth to reach the highest levels of the game. Our ECNL teams train and play at our Elite Performance Center at Regis University.

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Year-Round Calendar

With the addition of the Elite Performance Center @ Regis University, we are taking our programming another step further with wholistic development year-round, which includes:

  • A fully built out training schedule for the full year far in advance;
  • Classroom education sessions for players and coaches;
  • Integration of futsal training;
  • Position-specific training;
  • Individual player development plans;
  • Performance coaching; and
  • Video and data analysis

Elite Performance Center

The Rapids Youth Soccer Elite Performance Center @ Regis University will be located at Regis’s historic Northwest Denver campus. Through this partnership, CRYSC Elite programming will gain access to:

  • Match-fit natural grass field;
  • Two indoor futsal courts;
  • Classrooms with state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment;
  • Auditoriums for player, coach, and parent education and meetings;
  • Two offices on campus for Elite staff (Clarke Hall);
  • On-field concessions;
  • Locker rooms, when necessary;
  • Residential dorm housing; and
  • On-site food options.

Player Expectations

Joining an ECNL Team with the Rapids Youth Club is a commitment. It is a commitment of time, money, dedication and respect. We ask that all players who are invited to join an ECNL team follow the player expectations below:

  • Attend all team trainings, meetings, tournaments, and events
    as dictated by elite coaching staff
  • Commit to ECNL team from August through June of the following year, following a 10 month training and competition curriculum
  • Maintain financial responsibility and pay team fees
  • Allocate significant time and energy to the technical, tactical,
    mental, and physical growth as a player both in a structured
    training setting and independently
  • Represent Rapids Youth Soccer with respect and humility
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Additional Services

A personalized player development tool for each elite player that initiates ongoing communication between head coach and player based on the CRYSC Player Development Plan and pathway. Each Rapids elite player will now have transparent access to a personalized development plan, allowing them to better understand and take ownership of their own personal development with the support and guidance of our professional coaches.

This position is dedicated to providing support in the areas of athletic performance, injury prevention, rehabilitation from injury (return to play), as well off-season training/fitness programs for our elite players. Using sports data and testing through Loden Sports, this Director will also include baseline athletic performance standards into each player’s Individual Development Plan.

The Rapids Elite program will have a dedicated Video & Data Analyst in our program focused on providing support, analytics, and feedback to teams and individuals based on the CRYSC Player Development Plan and Rapids Actions. Each CRYSC ECNL (13U-19U) player will have full access to a personal/team HUDL account, as this will be another valuable tool used in our individual and team development plans.

The Colorado Rapids College Placement Program (CPP) assists all players and their families with the college athletics recruiting process. The program includes standardized test prep, admission and application information, communication development, and financial aid information. The College Placement Director’s role is to help parents and players navigate the college selection process through online resource guides, quarterly workshops, ACT/SAT test prep program, and assisting with Sports Recruits.

In coordination with our new Futsal Director and access to brand new futsal courts in the Berce facility, we will use Futsal as an additional development tool by integrating it into our weekly and off-season programming options.

Individual Player Development Plans

A personalized player development tool for each elite player that initiates ongoing communication between head coach and player based on the CRYSC Player Development Plan and pathway. Each Rapids elite player will now have transparent access to a personalized development plan, allowing them to better understand and take ownership of their own personal development with the support and guidance of our professional coaches.

Sports Performance Coach

This position is dedicated to providing support in the areas of athletic performance, injury prevention, rehabilitation from injury (return to play), as well off-season training/fitness programs for our elite players. Using sports data and testing through Loden Sports, this Director will also include baseline athletic performance standards into each player’s Individual Development Plan.

Video & Data Analyst

The Rapids Elite program will have a dedicated Video & Data Analyst in our program focused on providing support, analytics, and feedback to teams and individuals based on the CRYSC Player Development Plan and Rapids Actions. Each CRYSC ECNL (13U-19U) player will have full access to a personal/team HUDL account, as this will be another valuable tool used in our individual and team development plans.

College Placement

The Colorado Rapids College Placement Program (CPP) assists all players and their families with the college athletics recruiting process. The program includes standardized test prep, admission and application information, communication development, and financial aid information. The College Placement Director’s role is to help parents and players navigate the college selection process through online resource guides, quarterly workshops, ACT/SAT test prep program, and assisting with Sports Recruits.

Futsal Programming

In coordination with our new Futsal Director and access to brand new futsal courts in the Berce facility, we will use Futsal as an additional development tool by integrating it into our weekly and off-season programming options.

Rapids Youth Soccer =

Meet CRYSC’s Head Athletic Trainer Julie Graves

Julie Graves is Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club’s first, full-time Head Athletic Trainer. As a Colorado native, Julie has been around sports her entire life. She was a gymnast until ninth grade, and then pursued being a Student Athletic Trainer throughout high school until she graduated from D’Evelyn High School in Lakewood, CO. Julie attended and graduated college at Metropolitan State University of Denver with a Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training. She then moved to southern California to attend Azusa Pacific University for graduate school. As a graduate assistant, her main sports were men’s soccer, women’s water polo, and men and women’s tennis. Her favorite sport to work with was the men’s soccer team. After earning her Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies, she moved back to Colorado and was offered the Assistant Athletic Trainer position at Colorado Christian University. She worked with all 15 sports at CCU.

In March 2016, Julie was hired on with University of Colorado Health and CU Sports Medicine as the Head Athletic Trainer for Colorado Storm to build a Sports Medicine Program for the elite soccer club. Julie has now joined the CRYSC through the club merger with Storm. In her spare time, Julie loves exploring all the beautiful places Colorado has to offer and trying new Denver restaurants. She is also an avid Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies fan!

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University of Denver Center For Performance Excellence + CRYSC

Rapids Youth Soccer has partnered with the Center for Performance Excellence (CPEX) to provide opportunities for players with CRYSC to develop as individuals using soccer as a vehicle for personal development and growth. CPEX is a nonprofit consulting organization that provides sport and performance psychology and life skills coaching. Every day the mental performance consultants use performance as a vehicle for positive social change and to teach mental strategies to achieve personal excellence. CPEX consultants strive to help all their clients achieve performance excellence, which includes helping them work toward fulfillment, meaning, and satisfaction in life by increasing capability, developing consistency, and connecting to the joy of performing. CPEX consultants provide the opportunity to train the mind along with the body and to create valuable connections between thoughts and actions.

CPEX consultants are currently earning their Masters of Arts in Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology. Consultants receive a minimum of 250 hours of training prior to working with clients. Training involves rigorous, multi-layered supervision, hands-on instruction and education, and direct observation of working consultants in the field. All consultants are supervised by recognized experts and leaders in sport and performance psychology with over 45 years of professional practice.

Within CRYSC, CPEX provides group and team consultations to all Elite teams as well as workshops for athletes, parents, and coaches throughout every region. CPEX also offers individual sessions for CRYSC athletes at a discounted rate. For more information on the University of Denver’s Center For Performance Excellence visit their website here.

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CPEX Individual Sessions

CPEX also offers individual sessions for CRYSC athletes at a discounted rate. There is an introductory individual consult (approximately 25-30 minutes) for all CRYSC athletes at no cost. For individual session rates, see below. For more information contact [email protected].

1 Session

All sessions are 45 minutes
$45

3 Sessions

All sessions are 45 minutes
$120

5 Sessions

All sessions are 45 minutes
$175

ECNL Program Staff Members

Staff Member

Title

Contact

¿Habla
Español?

Tom poole

Tom Poole

Girls ECNL Director

[email protected]
719-357-8217

No

Tom Poole

Tom poole

Girls ECNL Director

Tom returns to the Colorado Rapids after guiding the 06G ECNL to back to back National Final Fours, including a National runner up finish in 2022. In his tenure with the Rapids, Tom has served in Director of Coaching & Manager of High Performance Roles and has coached extensively in the elite program, both on the boys and girls side. Tom completed his Masters Degree from Regis University where he also assisted with the Men's Soccer program. Tom has worked at the NCAA Division I level, Regional ODP level and currently holds his UEFA 'A' License as well as the United Soccer Coaches Advanced National, Premier, Director of Coaching & Sport Performance Diplomas. Back in 2019, Tom was selected to the United Soccer Coach 30-under-30 program which recognizes 30 leading coaches in the USA/Canada under the age of 30. Tom resides in Denver with his wife Jade and their two daughters, Zara and Leonie

Habla Español?: No

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Daniel Agnew

Elite Boys Director

[email protected]
719.401.0470

No

Daniel Agnew

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Elite Boys Director

Originally from Northern Ireland, Daniel's playing experience started with Ballymena United Football Club within the Northern Ireland Football League's (NIFL) professional development phase before moving to Ashford University, a nationally ranked men's soccer program in Iowa. Daniel has worked from grassroots to elite youth, holding numerous roles throughout his eight years with the Colorado Rapids, spanning four Regions of the Youth Club and the Major League Soccer (MLS) Academy. He plays an integral role in identifying and developing the best young players in the State of Colorado for a seamless transition to play at the next level, both regionally and on the national stage. A lifelong student and true soccer enthusiast, Daniel's dedication to education on and off the field is reflected in his master's degree and continued professional development across multiple governing bodies, including UEFA and USSF. He was selected in the 2023-24 class of the United Soccer Coaches 30-under-30 program, an education and mentorship opportunity designed to support up-and-coming members of the coaching profession who are 30 years of age or younger, leading the way in developing soccer players and enhancing the game.

Habla Español?: No

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Jen Metz

Elite Programming Administrator

[email protected]
719.357.9747

No

Jen  Metz

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Elite Programming Administrator

Jen is a Colorado native who grew up playing soccer. She graduated from Colorado State University with a BS in Business. She has worked in youth soccer for eight years and has been with CRYSC since 2019, primarily as an administrator. Since 2020 Jen has also served as the conference delegate for the Mountain Conference of the WPSL League, which the Colorado Rapids Women are part of. In 2021 the Colorado Rapids Women were crowned Mountain Conference champions and were also awarded with Franchise of the Year honors. She enjoys getting to work with such a great group of directors and coaches and for having the opportunity to create a positive experience for our members!

Habla Español?: No

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Sebastian Giraldo

Regional Technical Director - Elite

[email protected]
719.301.0742

Sebastian  Giraldo

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Regional Technical Director - Elite

Sebastian is originally from Pamplona, Colombia and has spent time with soccer clubs in Michigan, Texas, and Tennessee. He holds a Ph.D. in Elite Athlete Development from the University of Texas-Austin and a US Soccer A License. He also works with US Soccer Coach Education and is involved with several research initiatives examining elite youth soccer athletes and coach education. Sebastian comes to Rapids Youth Soccer from US Soccer where he operated as a Coach Education Instructor on USSF Licenses and Grassroots Courses across the country. Additionally, he brings a wealth of experience from club-level, where he has held multiple positions in education and coaching methodology at San Antonio City SC and South Texas FC. Sebastian’s high-quality coaching background includes time spent in the ECNL, GA, ODP, and as Head Coach of USL League Two club Corpus Christi FC. At CRYSC, he will be using his experience and understanding of the youth soccer landscape to enhance and support the development of Central staff, coaches, and players.

Habla Español?:

Jeff oleck 1

Jeff Oleck

Elite Regional Manager and Director of International Partnerships

[email protected]
303.834.7328

No

Jeff  Oleck

Jeff oleck 1

Elite Regional Manager and Director of International Partnerships

Jeff Oleck has been with Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club since 2016. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, the majority of his coaching development took place on the college side of the game at schools such as Northwestern University, Valparaiso University, and Wabash College. While involved in the college game, he also served youth programs as a coaching/goalkeeping director at Team Evanston, NWI United, Dynamo FC, and Indiana ODP. His passion for coaching comes from a desire to help each player find themselves, both on and off the field, and use soccer as a vehicle to enhance life experiences and personal growth. Oleck graduated from Valparaiso University in 2006 with a B.A. in Biology with a Business Administration minor. He also earned a M.S. in Sports Administration from Valparaiso University in 2011. He holds the USSF National “A” License and the USC Advanced National Goalkeeper Diploma.

Habla Español?: No