Elite Development Squads (EDS)

The Elite Development Squad (EDS) program began in the fall of 2021 as a concept to address a number of failings seen in the general youth soccer talent development space nationwide, as well as our own local challenges in supporting elite player growth. The EDS program brings together players from across our five regions that have the potential and desire to progress into our Elite (ECNL) teams. To give these players the best Elite-level experience possible, CRYSC provides a high-quality training and player development environment, guest playing opportunities in ECNL squads, showcase events, and arranges inter-Club scrimmages between EDS and ECNL teams. Elite Development Squads provide a unique opportunity, distinct from ECNL boys and girls programming, for CRYSC athletes to play in their home region while still getting the chance to push themselves in pursuit of the next level.

The EDS teams now officially represent Rapids Youth Soccer as part of the newly developed US Youth Soccer (USYS) platform ‘Elite 64’ (E64). The Elite 64 initiative will create eight leagues consisting of eight clubs across the country for 13U-19U boys and girls. 

We are also delighted that the newly announced Rapids Elite Performance Center at Regis University will be home to Rapids Elite Development Squad programming. EDS athletes will be able to make use of Regis’s premier facilities and resources, which you can read more about here.

The selection process for Elite Development Squads (EDS) is unique in that a pool of players for each age group is selected in August/September for 11U-14U boys (11U and 12U boys South EDS only)  and 11U-19U girls, while the high school boys pools are created in November/December. In addition to this, there is a constant ‘open door’ policy that calls upon the Directors of Coaching Club-wide (via Select coaches) to invite players they feel have developed to the standard required at EDS into a tryout process at any point during the season.

In order to create these pools, we ask the Directors of Coaching across the Club to work in close collaboration with the coaches at Select level teams to identify and nominate those who they feel have a skill set that would allow them to push towards the ECNL program as they grow. In order to ensure the purpose of the program, ‘Time and Space to Grow’ is achieved, the flexibility to bring players into the squads is maintained throughout the year as we understand that the biology, psychology, and general passion for a sport can change and evolve at any point, and we want to ensure that those players have the opportunity to be part of an Elite pathway when that happens.

Girls 11U-19U & Boys 11U-14U

  • August – Player ID Sessions
  • Early September – Team Formation / Invites
  • Mid-September to May (Mondays) – EDS Training @ Elite Performance Center (Regis University)
    • Girls 15U-19U finish in December

Boys 15U-19U

  • TBD – Player ID Sessions
  • January to May (Mondays) – EDS Training @ Elite Performance Center (Regis University)

Below is an outline of what EDS players and their families can expect as far as the number of travel events and costs:

  • Estimated Travel Games Per Year: 2  Games (Utah & Arizona)
  • Estimated Travel Events Per Year: 1 Event – Nationals
  • Expected Cost to Travel: Average is around $1,000 per game or event, but this may vary based on the location and length of the travel

We follow traditional team travel for our ECNL teams. This means teams will travel, stay and participate together for the entire event.  The entire event is classified as when the player arrives at the home airport to when the player returns to the baggage claim at the home airport. We feel group travel is important for many reasons.  Some of these benefits are (but not limited to):

  • Reduces costs for the majority of families not having to travel with their child
  • Deepens player relationships both on and off the field.
  • Efficiency of traveling with everyone together and being on the same schedule/itinerary.
  • Our teams represent the Club and State of Colorado on a national level and it teaches them the responsibility of representing more than just themselves.

It is not always easy to get flights and hotel arrangements for large groups and of course, it is always our goal to make these trips as cost-efficient as possible for all our families. When airfare is purchased, the cost of the tickets is averaged among all traveling teams so that teams are not penalized for having specific flight requirements. When purchasing a group ticket, we are ensuring that each player pays the same price, not that the first players to book pay the cheapest and the last players to book pay the most. Many times we have to purchase flights at different times because of the number of available seats.

Families may find a less expensive ticket when they are buying one or two tickets at a time or when choosing a different airline. We choose to fly on airlines that allow for the teams and coaches to check additional luggage/balls/cameras, etc. without incurring additional fees, airlines who don’t charge an additional fee for seat selection and airlines that allow for name changes close to departure dates at no extra charge. Our tickets also come with special assistance should a team get stranded and need assistance with flight cancellation, rebooking, hotel, etc.

Below is a list of the team fees players are responsible for:

  • Airfare, hotel, rental car(s), gas, meals/snacks, coach and chaperone(s) airfare, coach and chaperone(s) hotel, chaperone meals w/team, coach per diem and National Event registration fee (when applicable).
  • Airfare, hotel and per diem for the Boys Elite Program Director and the Elite Director of Goalkeeping when they travel.  This expense is equally shared by all teams who are traveling with them.

Families and players can review the full and updated travel policy in PlayMetrics soon.

Overview

The Elite Development Squad (EDS) program began in the fall of 2021 as a concept to address a number of failings seen in the general youth soccer talent development space nationwide, as well as our own local challenges in supporting elite player growth. The EDS program brings together players from across our five regions that have the potential and desire to progress into our Elite (ECNL) teams. To give these players the best Elite-level experience possible, CRYSC provides a high-quality training and player development environment, guest playing opportunities in ECNL squads, showcase events, and arranges inter-Club scrimmages between EDS and ECNL teams. Elite Development Squads provide a unique opportunity, distinct from ECNL boys and girls programming, for CRYSC athletes to play in their home region while still getting the chance to push themselves in pursuit of the next level.

The EDS teams now officially represent Rapids Youth Soccer as part of the newly developed US Youth Soccer (USYS) platform ‘Elite 64’ (E64). The Elite 64 initiative will create eight leagues consisting of eight clubs across the country for 13U-19U boys and girls. 

We are also delighted that the newly announced Rapids Elite Performance Center at Regis University will be home to Rapids Elite Development Squad programming. EDS athletes will be able to make use of Regis’s premier facilities and resources, which you can read more about here.

Selection Process

The selection process for Elite Development Squads (EDS) is unique in that a pool of players for each age group is selected in August/September for 11U-14U boys (11U and 12U boys South EDS only)  and 11U-19U girls, while the high school boys pools are created in November/December. In addition to this, there is a constant ‘open door’ policy that calls upon the Directors of Coaching Club-wide (via Select coaches) to invite players they feel have developed to the standard required at EDS into a tryout process at any point during the season.

In order to create these pools, we ask the Directors of Coaching across the Club to work in close collaboration with the coaches at Select level teams to identify and nominate those who they feel have a skill set that would allow them to push towards the ECNL program as they grow. In order to ensure the purpose of the program, ‘Time and Space to Grow’ is achieved, the flexibility to bring players into the squads is maintained throughout the year as we understand that the biology, psychology, and general passion for a sport can change and evolve at any point, and we want to ensure that those players have the opportunity to be part of an Elite pathway when that happens.

Dates & Deadlines

Girls 11U-19U & Boys 11U-14U

  • August – Player ID Sessions
  • Early September – Team Formation / Invites
  • Mid-September to May (Mondays) – EDS Training @ Elite Performance Center (Regis University)
    • Girls 15U-19U finish in December

Boys 15U-19U

  • TBD – Player ID Sessions
  • January to May (Mondays) – EDS Training @ Elite Performance Center (Regis University)
Travel Expectations/Costs

Below is an outline of what EDS players and their families can expect as far as the number of travel events and costs:

  • Estimated Travel Games Per Year: 2  Games (Utah & Arizona)
  • Estimated Travel Events Per Year: 1 Event – Nationals
  • Expected Cost to Travel: Average is around $1,000 per game or event, but this may vary based on the location and length of the travel
Travel Policy

We follow traditional team travel for our ECNL teams. This means teams will travel, stay and participate together for the entire event.  The entire event is classified as when the player arrives at the home airport to when the player returns to the baggage claim at the home airport. We feel group travel is important for many reasons.  Some of these benefits are (but not limited to):

  • Reduces costs for the majority of families not having to travel with their child
  • Deepens player relationships both on and off the field.
  • Efficiency of traveling with everyone together and being on the same schedule/itinerary.
  • Our teams represent the Club and State of Colorado on a national level and it teaches them the responsibility of representing more than just themselves.

It is not always easy to get flights and hotel arrangements for large groups and of course, it is always our goal to make these trips as cost-efficient as possible for all our families. When airfare is purchased, the cost of the tickets is averaged among all traveling teams so that teams are not penalized for having specific flight requirements. When purchasing a group ticket, we are ensuring that each player pays the same price, not that the first players to book pay the cheapest and the last players to book pay the most. Many times we have to purchase flights at different times because of the number of available seats.

Families may find a less expensive ticket when they are buying one or two tickets at a time or when choosing a different airline. We choose to fly on airlines that allow for the teams and coaches to check additional luggage/balls/cameras, etc. without incurring additional fees, airlines who don’t charge an additional fee for seat selection and airlines that allow for name changes close to departure dates at no extra charge. Our tickets also come with special assistance should a team get stranded and need assistance with flight cancellation, rebooking, hotel, etc.

Below is a list of the team fees players are responsible for:

  • Airfare, hotel, rental car(s), gas, meals/snacks, coach and chaperone(s) airfare, coach and chaperone(s) hotel, chaperone meals w/team, coach per diem and National Event registration fee (when applicable).
  • Airfare, hotel and per diem for the Boys Elite Program Director and the Elite Director of Goalkeeping when they travel.  This expense is equally shared by all teams who are traveling with them.

Families and players can review the full and updated travel policy in PlayMetrics soon.

The Need for Elite Development Squads

EDS was developed with a philosophy of allowing players time and space to grow. Opportunity and age should not be a barrier to player development; they should be key pillars in how we consider ‘potential’ talent being developed. Ensuring that our players have access to these opportunities, at a time in their lives that suits their physical, emotional, and personal development within the game is an underpinning philosophy of this project.

With the club already having ECNL for the Boys and Girls, we wanted to provide a program to allow players to play in their home Region, while still getting the chance to push themselves in pursuit of the next level. This led to the creation of our Elite Development Squad pools. The EDS Pools (12-22 players for our 11U-12U Ages, 16-24 players for our 13U-19U ages) are then narrowed down to a ‘travel roster’, which participates in one event each season, allowing the team to compete against the Region’s best players.

  • EDS travel roster players participate in each USYS E64 fixture (unlimited rosters), allowing the team to compete against strong clubs in the Mountain Region and National Showcases.
  • Elite Development Squads train weekly from August through March, giving the players a regular training environment and supplementing what they get from their own ‘full-time’ team.

EDS Registration Fees

$425 | $600 13U-14U | 15U-19U
  • August – November & January – June
  • Training 1x Per Week
  • Indoor Winter Training Space at Regis University
  • Outdoor Winter Training (Weather Permitting)
  • Game Fee is $25 / Game (Home and Away)

Rapids Youth Soccer =

Developing Talent Solution

The EDS Program provides a solution to the current problems found in the elite development pathway. By providing another level of elite programming we give players more time and space to grow while providing exposure to elite environments.

CRYSC Player Pathway

The inclusion Elite Development Squads in the player pathway will provide support for emerging talent and players not quite ready to sustain involvement in the ECNL program. Throughout a player’s involvement with EDS, they will have multiple opportunities to scrimmage and play competitively against high-level teams, including Rapids ECNL teams. The Director of the EDS program is in constant dialogue with the Directors of the Elite boys and girls ECNL teams with a view to understanding the opportunities to expose EDS players to the ECNL environment and give them a pathway to make a move to the next level. Additionally, if an ECNL player is not appropriately placed or doesn’t feel comfortable in the Elite program, then there is a level very close by that they can continue to grow and develop with high-quality players.

The EDS project is focused on providing players with an opportunity for extra development in a positive environment that we believe will stand them in good stead wherever their playing future lies.

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Destinations
Front Range In House
9v9
11v11
4v4/5v5/7v7
Soccer Start
Recreation
WPSL RAPIDS
COLLEGE
Champions League
Centennial League
Select Soccer
Competitive
RAPIDS TRAINING CENTERS
Player ID Position Spcific
Player I.D
Futsal
United Futsal
ELITE DEVELOPMENT SQUADS
ECNL
Youth Club Elite
COLORADO RAPIDS
Colorado Switchbacks
Academy
Futures
Colorado Rapids
PLAYER MOVEMENT

EDS Staff Contacts

NameTITLEPHONEEMAIL
Donald GilliesElite Technical Director303.399.5858 ext. 160[email protected]
Eryn RubinElite Regional Manager303.399.5858 ext. 127[email protected]
Jair Vasquez13U-19U EDS Director303.918.9218[email protected]
Matt Saul11U/12U EDS Director303.399.5858 ext. 209[email protected]thsoccer.org
Diego CerroDirector of Recruitment & Development[email protected]
Christie HurtElite Futsal & EDS Administrator303.399.5858 ext. 107[email protected]
Jen MetzElite Programming Administrator303.399.5858 ext. 117[email protected]