To Our Rapids Youth Soccer Family,
As we round the corner on a long and tumultuous year, my heart goes out to everyone that has experienced loss, pain, and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a stressful time that we still don’t know the full impact of, yet I’m filled with hope heading into 2021. Not just because of the potential normalcy that a vaccine may bring, but because of the strength I have seen in our soccer community, my coworkers at Rapids Youth Soccer, our healthcare and essential workers, educators, students, parents, and so many others. Strength in the face of adversity – strength that brings true change. And though we’re all probably sick of being in a constant state of change, I am excited by the idea that 2021 can be filled with new and unexpected opportunities waiting to be seized by those looking for them.
After the spring soccer season was cancelled state-wide, I came across a case study that helped me re-frame the way I approached the rest of the year. The study was on the aftermath of the London Tube Strikes and the ripple effects that unexpected changes can cause. It starts with the question “To what extent do people get stuck behaving in ways that aren’t in their best interests and at what cost?”. The study then goes on to detail how commuters were forced to change their habits for weeks due to the strikes and when they could finally return to “normal” many of them didn’t, as they found a more efficient way to get to work. “This suggests that a fraction of commuters had failed to find their optimal journey before the strike.” 5% of those observed never went back to their old routes and ultimately improved their daily lives. That 5% inspired me to look for the opportunities in unexpected situations instead of the limitations.
At CRYSC, these opportunities have materialized as a push for higher-level digital education for our athletes, live streams allowing anyone with an internet connection to tune into CRYSC games, virtual coaching education interviews with guests from overseas, better structure for athletes wanting to improve at home, and creative ways to keep our community connected, like breaking a social distancing friendly Guinness World Record. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff/coaches and the Rapids Youth Soccer community for saying “yes” to these new experiences.
In 2020 we have grown together in unexpected, but often wonderful ways and I sincerely thank you for being a part of it. How many 5% opportunities are still waiting to be explored in 2021? I can’t wait to find out together and push on as #OneClubOneCommunity.
Aaron Nagel, CRYSC Executive Director
In 2020, the CRYSC spring season was cancelled, but that didn’t stop our Rapids Youth Soccer community from coming together online to create some incredible, social distancing friendly content. Click the drop downs below to see some of our favorite pics, videos, and projects from home in 2020!
“On behalf of the entire Rapids community, the Club would like to congratulate our players for officially taking the next step in their academic and athletic careers. We are so proud of these players – 89% of which have been with the Club for over three years, 82% for over four years, and 79% for over five. The hard work, dedication, and commitment that they have shown has been rewarded with the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level. Look forward to 2021, as we announce more CRYSC college commitments throughout the year!” – CRYSC College Placement Program Director, Anthony Presnell.
Meet the CRYSC Class of 2020 & 2021:
The CRYSC College Placement Program (CPP) is your Rapids resource for navigating the college selection process. If you have questions about the CRYSC college soccer, please contact Anthony Presnell or visit the College Soccer Page on the CRYSC website. For college recruitment tips, guides, and more, check out the 2020 blog articles published by Anthony below!
This fall, Rapids Youth Soccer streamed two complete ECNL Girls game days featuring 12 matches and 20+ hours of live footage from the fields! The live streaming experiment was a resounding success and thousands of supporters across the world, as well as college coaches from around the country, tuned in to watch. CRYSC members can look forward to streaming events during the 2021 spring season, as we work to grow our capabilities. Our goal is to offer quality streams and engaging content – including live scores, interviews with coaches, exclusive promotions, and more – so that you can catch every minute of every game, no matter where you are. Check out the replays from our ECNL Gamedays vs Real Colorado and Colorado Pride through the links below and see the new streaming service in action!
“We’ve been building up a stockpile of size one soccer balls with the intention of giving them back to the community to inspire the next generation of youth soccer players in Colorado,” said CRSYC Executive Director, Aaron Nagel. “The current situation with COVID-19 has significantly limited organized play opportunities for our youngest players, so there is no better time than now to give back to the players and families that have been impacted across the state.”
After seeing the impact that this project has had on the Colorado soccer community, athletes stuck at home, and families in need of new equipment, we intend to make a similar donation in 2021!
This fall season, CRYSC launched the RISE (Rapids Integrated System of Excellence) online education platform! RISE is an exciting new expansion to the CRYSC player, coach, referee, and member experience, uniquely designed by CRYSC technical staff to meet the digital needs of our community in 2020 and beyond! This one-of-a-kind youth soccer development platform provides an online space where coaches, players, and members can interact, creating a living and growing classroom. By connecting the CRYSC community online, RISE will open up new educational opportunities for players and coaches, offer a more rewarding CRYSC experience for members, and ultimately enhance the level and consistency of soccer being played across the Club.
Coach and Player Education Manager at Glasgow Rangers FC, Neil Mackintosh, presents how Rangers F.C. have changed how they approach both their player and coach development to better reflect a more holistic approach that empowers all involved. Neil touches on several important parts of development like planning, reflection, personal challenges, and much more.
Colorado Rapids Academy U-17 Head Coach, Erik Bushey, presents how to use tactical scenarios to improve the player’s decision making. Erik delves into the Pedagogy of Tactical Decision-Making Model which aims to replicate game situations for players to learn how to read game cues and execute successful actions.
Colorado Rapids & CRYSC Head Goalkeeping Coaches, Chris Sharpe & Jeff Oleck, deliver a live session where they present how to structure a team session with goalkeepers. They cover goalkeeper starting positions and key principles needed to effectively use goalkeepers.
Shelley joins CRYSC Technical Director, Donald Gillies, to share her own journey as a player and coach in the game. Donald and Shelley speak about the evolution of a “football philosophy”, what shapes a personal and professional approach, and the challenges along the way.
Angie Hind joins CRYSC Technical Director, Donald Gillies, to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on college recruitment and running a program. Resilience, planning and logistics, player personalities, and regulations are all touched upon in this webinar with one of the top college coaches in the US.
Anthony Presnell joins CRYSC Technical Director, Donald Gillies, for a brief overview of the College Placement Program and the ways in which young players can work to bring their skills to the attention of colleges across the country in 2020.
This fall, Rapids Youth Soccer and UCHealth teamed up to break the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most people in an online video chain passing a football (soccer ball)! With 1000+ participants, the efforts of our Rapids Youth Soccer community was truly one for the books and a brilliant reminder that even when we’re physically distanced, we are still together as #OneClubOneCommunity. 2020 has been a difficult year for many of our athletes, and we’re proud to have offered a safe and responsible outlet for families to connect with their CRYSC community. Enjoy the recap video provided by our partners at UCHealth! Click the links below to see the story running on the local news!
“UCHealth and CU Orthopedics are proud to partner with Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club and to help care for the club’s athletes. We’ll be available to help care for any injuries that might occur, but our most important mission is to work with the Club’s coaches and administration, providing the most advanced resources to athletes and their families to help prevent injuries from happening in the first place.” – Dr. Scott Laker, UCHealth and CU Sports Medicine Specialist
Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club is privileged to work with so many incredible athletes, students, teammates, and soccer fanatics every day. Our community brings us together just as much as the soccer, which is why we’re so excited to debut the UCHealth Player of the Month award, starting this January! In partnership with our friends at UCHealth + CU Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, this monthly award will tell your Rapids Youth Soccer story and help highlight the outstanding work of players all across the Front Range. From recreational to competitive, Soccer Start to ECNL, Fort Collins to Castle Rock – every CRYSC player is eligible to be nominated! Click here to view the nomination form and submit a Player of the Month candidate!
Find out more about the CRYSC Sports Medicine Program by visiting our website! For questions or concerns related to sports medicine, please reach out to the CRYSC Head Athletic Trainer, Julie Graves, at [email protected].
In 2020, CRYSC kicked off a brand new partnership with global futsal leader, United Futsal! This partnership will expand CRYSC futsal programming, provide new opportunities for youth athletes at the highest levels of the indoor game, and create eight new elite teams to compete in the 2021 Champions Cup Series. Our inaugural futsal season kicks off in 2021, so watch the CRYSC Futsal webpage and our social channels for more information!
This summer, CRYSC announced a brand new partnership with Teqball, bringing the sport and league to Colorado for the first time! Teqball is a football-based sport, played on a specially-curved table (the Teq table), which has been attracting a new generation of athletes and amateur enthusiasts (teqers) since it’s introduction in 2012. With a hugely ambitious team of owners and supporters, including players like David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Carlos Puyol, Carli Lloyd and more, CRYSC welcomes the opportunity to create an elite-level league team that can grow with the sport.
Watch our social pages and monthly newsletters in 2021 for more information on Teqball with CRYSC.
The University of Denver Center for Performance Excellence is a unique resource for Rapids athletes, families, and supporters looking to better understand the psychology of sports. Check out some of the awesome blog articles that they created for our athletes and families in 2020 by following the links below. Members can reach out to Dan Bell at DU CPEX at [email protected] for more information on scheduling a consultation. We’re excited to welcome former DU CPEX student Katie Pagel to our staff in 2021 to further advance CRYSC mental performance training!
The Players Podcast is dedicated to youth soccer players. Check out this brand new podcast that explores a wide range of topics surrounding youth soccer with some of the most interesting coaches and people in the game today. Hosted by friend of the Club, Peter Pak, The Players Podcast will help athletes in their journey through the game with education and entertainment, promoting a fun experience that keeps them playing forever. Look for new episodes throughout 2021 on the Player’s Podcast website, Instagram, and Twitter pages!
2020 was a year of unknowns, difficulties, but also new opportunities for Rapids Youth Soccer and our Colorado soccer community. We can’t thank you enough for the role you’ve played in shaping this Club and eagerly await kicking off a new season of tournaments and league-play together this spring!
Enjoy the holiday season and get excited for a new year of growth, learning, and, most importantly, having fun playing youth soccer with Rapids Youth Soccer Club!