Monday, December 28, 2009

US Supporters World Cup Tickets Now Open to General Public


U.S. Soccer announced today that they have arranged to have their 2010 FIFA World Cup allocation of tickets for U.S. Men’s National Team fans available to the general American public.

All U.S. citizens or residents wishing to apply for tickets from the U.S. supporter allotment can submit pre-application data to U.S. Soccer until 12 p.m. ET on Jan. 11, 2010. By completing this process, fans notify U.S. Soccer of their interest in FIFA World Cup tickets and provide the information that U.S. Soccer will in turn submit to FIFA for the online ticket application.

After fans have submitted their personal data to U.S. Soccer, they will be provided instructions and a link to FIFA’s online ticket application process. The FIFA online form will be available for fans to complete until Jan. 13, 2010. Requests for tickets will be handled on an equal-chance basis rather than first-come, first-served.

Find the full story on US Soccer's website.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekend Soccer TV Spotlight


Happy Holidays Rapids Fans!

We hope you’re having a great break, but if you think you’re going to spend enough time with the family this week and need an escape from all the Holiday Cheer, here’s our Weekend Soccer Spotlight to guide your way this weekend to one of our Colorado Rapids Official Bar Partners. With some great locations around town, feel free to bring your house guests to a one of a kind pub to share a basket of Fish N’ Chips and to watch a game on Boxing Day.

Saturday (Boxing Day)
Birmingham City vs Chelsea (Live on ESPN2 @ 5:45am MT)

West Ham United vs Portsmouth (Live on Setanta Sports USA @ 6am MT)

Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur (Live on Fox Soccer Channel @ 6am MT)

Sunderland vs Everton (Live on Fox Soccer Channel @ 8am MT)

Manchester City vs Stoke City (Live on Setanta Sports USA @ 8am MT)

Liverpool vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Live on Fox Soccer Channel @ 10:30am MT)

Leicester City vs Sheffield United (Live on Setanta Sports USA @ 11am MT)

Saturday Delayed Games
Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur (Fox Sports en Espanol @ 12:30pm MT)
Burnley vs Bolton (Fox Soccer Channel @12:30pm MT)
Wigan Athletic vs Blackburn Rovers (Setanta Sports USA @ 1pm MT)
West Ham United vs Portsmouth (Setanta Sports USA @ 4:30pm MT)

Sunday
Sydney FC vs Adelaide United (Live on Fox Soccer Channel @ 1am MT)

Arsenal vs Aston Villa (Live on Setanta Sports USA @ 6:30am MT)

Hull City vs Manchester United (Live on Fox Soccer Channel @ 9am MT)

Sunday Delayed Games
Hull City vs Manchester United (Setanta Sports USA @ 8am MT)

Monday Games
Chelsea vs Fulham (Live on Setanta Sports USA @ 8am MT)

Monday Delayed Games
Birmingham City vs Chelsea (Setanta Sports USA @12am MT)
Everton vs Burnley (Setanta Sports USA @ 10am & 6:45pm MT)
Chelsea vs Fulham (Setanta Sports USA @ 11:45am & 5pm MT)
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gary Smith and Jeff Plush Save Season Ticket Holders From Fire


Well not exactly... Monday night a small party of lucky Rapids Season Ticket Holders had the opportunity to wine and dine with Head Coach Gary Smith and Managing Director Jeff Plush at the Denver Chop House. Just as dessert was being finished the group was rushed out of the restaurant because of a potential fire inside the building. Dozens of fire trucks lined the street outside of the Chop House as firemen attempted to put out the blaze. No one was hurt.

It was an exciting end to a fabulous night. The lucky attendees were winners of the Rapids Renewal prize of a VIP dinner with two of the most important men in the Rapids organization. How did these Season Ticket Holders win? They popped in the interactive disc from their 2010 Renewal Package and found that they were instant winners! Want to be eligible for great prizes like this and more? Colorado Rapids Season Ticket Holders click here to renew your 2010 Season Tickets and be automatically entered to win amazing prizes!

Maybe we'll see them in a firefighters calendar next year...



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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rapids Youth Teams Weekly Schedule


This week's training, meeting and match schedule for the Colorado Rapids youth teams, courtesy of the Rapids Academy:

December 14–18, 2009:

Monday: Rapids Youth Teams off

Tuesday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Wednesday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Thursday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Friday: Rapids Youth Teams Off - Rapids Academy Winter Break Starts

Saturday: Rapids Youth Teams Off

Sunday: Rapids Youth Teams Off

*all training sessions and matches take place at Dick's Sporting Goods Park unless otherwise noted.

Rapids Development Academy Evaluations
Rapids DA Players will be given information regarding their evaluation schedule

Rapids Academy Winter Break
Friday will mark the start of the Rapids Academy winter break. High school age teams will return to training on Tuesday, January 5th. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Hours
The Rapids Academy office will be closed from December 22nd through December 28th.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Lindsay's 2009 "Inside the Game" Experience


Rapids fans this season came to know Lindsay Carroll from her stint as a hostess of "Rapids Inside the Game, presented by Donna Baldwin Talent", the weekly Rapids-produced video segments that ran on the RapidsVision inside the stadium on gamedays.

Lindsay in her role as hostess this year got the opportunity to film video segments interviewing the Rapids players on location over the entire season and also the chance to emcee halftime events on the field at halftime of home games.

We got the chance to catch up with Lindsay and find out what she thought about her first year as a celebrity!

"When I am asked 'What is your favorite part of being an 'Inside the Game' hostess, I find it difficult to choose just one thing to describe how incredible this job has been.

Obviously it’s a lot of fun, but it also provides invaluable experience, especially for anyone looking for a career in Sports Management or Broadcast Journalism, and it gave me the opportunity to improve my modeling and acting skills for my resume as well!

Additionally, it affords me the unique opportunity to meet Rapids fans, players, and other fantastic people involved in the Rapids organization....plus I get to attend all of the Rapids' home games!

When I learned that Donna Baldwin, my modeling agency, had partnered with the Rapids to produce Inside the Game each week and were looking for hostesses, I jumped at the chance. The job seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new and see if sports entertainment would be something I might want to pursue as a career.

As an Inside the Game hostess (and a die-hard Rapids fan, which I was beforehand), my primary responsibilities are to formulate interview questions, memorize scripts for halftime shows at home games, and to conduct interviews for our “Inside the Game” video segments that are shown on the RapidsVision at home games and are now catalogued online at the Rapids YouTube page.

I had some previous experience acting and performing in front of a camera, but nothing could have prepared me for this experience. I find this work stimulating because it allows me to use both my creativity and communication skills at every event. Also, every video shoot around town and every Rapids home game is a fresh and unique experience; nothing is predictable.

I remember my first live gameday experience on the job like it was yesterday! I worked a halftime show during the Rapids' April 25 home game vs. the L.A. Galaxy. It was British Heritage Night and I was dressed in a British flag dress as Felicity Shagwell and was going to conduct a halftime trivia contest with a lucky fan. I was SO nervous and the stands were packed with A LOT of people! Although I had previously performed in front of large audiences, nothing compared to the number of people in the stands that night. About an hour before the game I was handed a trivia script to memorize, and that hour felt like 5 minutes!.

When the halftime show began, a Rapids co-worker (dressed as Austin Powers) drove us out to the field in a brand new Mini Cooper. When I tried to get out of the car I couldn’t find the door handle because I was so nervous and Austin ran out to the field without me! He had to rush back over to open my door once he realized I wasn’t next to him!

This is just one of the many memories I will take away from the 2009 season. It was definitely a shaky start to my hostess career, but things went well despite my nerves and I became more comfortable with each and every game thereafter.

Perhaps my favorite task this year was filming the player interviews around town. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to interview Omar Cummings and Kosuke Kimura as we took them to a sushi restaurant to go behind the scenes for the May 23 Rapids home game episode. We had a blast and actually learned how to make our own sushi rolls. Kosuke, of course, was a natural.

One of my favorite things to do during the season is award prizes to fans who correctly respond to questions during trivia games on the field at halftime. I have a soft spot for the fans...it’s hard to not wink or give away answers when they’re not quite sure of an answer!

I also enjoy my visits to the parking lot before kickoff to pick the contestants for halftime (yes, that actually happens, so get there early next season and maybe you can become a contestant yourself!).

I also love getting to know the players. They are very cordial and provide a lot of encouragement. I am always blown away by how friendly, approachable, and down to Earth the players are. The Rapids are truly a great group of guys.

At the Rapids World Cup of Wine charity event in July, I was blown away by how easy it was to talk to the players and how welcome they made fans feel as they walked around their home field. The festivities included a behind the scenes tour of the locker room, the boot room (where the guys hang all their cleats), weight room, training room, and the players’ lounge. This was just one of several interesting events I got to attend with our fans this past season.

My Inside the Game hostess duties also allowed my family and friends to come see me live from some of the best seats in the house at Rapids home games! How many times do you get to sit next to Chauncey Billups in field-side seats down on the Rapids' field?!?!

My Rapids gameday credential also grants me access to some of the coolest behind the scenes areas at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (except the locker rooms of course)! The Rapids' scoreboard control room for instance is an exciting place to visit because this is where the cameras, video production, scoreboard, graphics, music, and just about everything else involving the show on gameday are operated from. The Rapids staffers who work in the control room bring the entire Rapids experience together every game for the fans.....they rock!

Like any job, however, being an Inside the Game hostess has its fair share of challenges. Some of the things I've had to learn during the season included remembering to articulate and pronounce words slowly and clearly, blocking out any echos or background noise, holding the microphone closer to my mouth during interviews, wearing a wireless mic in my ear, facing forward toward the camera, and remembering not to add an 'um' or 'so' to the script when I am nervous!

These are all things that I’m certain I can improve with continued hard work and experience, though. Also, knowing that I wasn’t the only hostess going through this experience made things a bit easier. I had the privilege of working with two other amazing Inside the Game hostesses from Donna Baldwin throughout the season. I had a blast with Lauren Cisneros and Rachael Brink this season and look forward to making more lasting memories with them in 2010!

So all in all, it's been a fantastic experience this year! Thanks to the Rapids and especially Donna Baldwin Talent for giving me this opportunity, and thanks to all you fans for your past and future support of our Colorado Rapids!

I'm Lindsay Carroll, proud to be a Rapids Inside the Game hostess, and I look forward to seeing all you fans again in 2010!"

-Lindsay
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Virginia Take 2009 College Cup on PK's


Virginia topped Akron in penalty kicks to win the 2009 NCAA Men's College Cup over the weekend. For the match recap, click here.

The second-seeded Cavaliers (19-3-3) claimed their sixth College Cup championship, and first since they won four national titles in a row from 1991-94.

For those of you keeping score at home by following Paul Bravo's 2009 College Cup previews, although he missed on predicting the runners-up, Bravo did correctly predict Virginia would take the crown in his last blog entry before the weekend.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

The US World Cup Bid Presentation Video



The official video that was presented during the bid by the United States delegation in South Africa for America to host the 2018/22 World Cups. Thoughts?
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College Cup Preview #2


Hello everyone,

Here is part 2 of our College Cup preview with a finals prediction.

Semifinal # 2 Virginia (17-3-3) VS Wake Forest (17-3-3)

Wake Forest- Wake are making their fourth straight Final Four appearance since winning the National Championship in 2007. They are led by an experienced group of seniors littered throughout the lineup. Senior forward Zach Schilawski leads the Deacons in scoring with 14 goals, while senior midfielder Austin Da Luz leads the team in assists with 15. These two seniors are a couple of the best in the country at their positions and will make very solid pros. Senior GK Akira Fitzgerald is the backbone of the defense with a 0.66 GA average. The supporting cast is a combination of spectacular attacking options as well as players with significant experience and athleticism. Headlining the group is a pair of juniors that bring a wealth of experience in big games: defender Ike Opara (3g, 2a) returns from the U-20 World Cup and midfielder Corben Bone (2g, 13a) is amongst the best attacking prospects in the country. If that isn’t enough to contend with, they do have a super freshman forward Andy Lubahn (10g, 0a). Coach Vidovich has done an outstanding job with this group considering the loss of some great talent plus the absence of Opara in the middle of the season. This team has it all. It is built with great athleticism, experience and is really electric going forward.

Virginia- Virginia return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006, when they lost to UCLA in the semifinal. The only impact players from that group are senior midfielders Ross LaBauex (1g, 1a), Neil Barlow (5g, 6a) and Jonathan Villanueva (1g). The real impact players in this group are junior GK Diego Restrepo (0.29 GA average), sophomore midfielder Tony Tchani (7g, 4a) and super freshman forward Will Bates (12g, 1a). The others to watch out for are U-20 WC veteran Brian Ownby (2g,1a) and the electric Chris Agorsor (2g,2a). Coach Gelnovatch has done an outstanding job with this group. They have the ability to grind teams down defensively as well strike quickly and often. UVA currently have an 11 game shutout streak. There do not seem to be very many weaknesses to this team.

Outcome- This is a really tough one to call. Both teams match up really well with each other. They defend really well as units, have really good midfield play, and have individuals who can change the game at any moment. In the end this game will be decided by a couple of individual matchups. The first would be Tchani vs. Opara and the other will be the midfield battle of Da Luz/Bone vs. Barlow/LaBauex. The fact that Virginia have done it all year with great defending gives them the edge, but you can never underestimate what Wake bring to the table. In the end I do see Virginia advancing, but I do believe it will be a knockdown drag-out street fight.

Prediction: Virginia-1 Wake Forest-0

Championship Match Prediction: Virginia 2, UNC 0


Thanks and from the Rapids staff we hope everyone has a great Holiday!


Paul Bravo

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Coloradan Collegiate Players Invited to 2010 Combine


Major League Soccer today announced the initial list of 62 college seniors from 44 Division I schools who have been invited to participate in the 2010 adidas MLS Player Combine.

DU was the only Colorado school to have a player invited to participate: Ft. Collins native Kris Banghart, a 6'1, 188lb defender who played at Ft. Collins HS.

2 other Colorado natives are also represented in the draft:

San Diego State's Nick Cardenas, a 6'5, 205lb defender who played at Horizon HS
and
University of Portland's Collen Warner, a 5'10, 155lb midfielder who played at Denver East HS.

The annual MLS player combine will be held at Central Broward Regional Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Jan. 8-12, 2010.

All 16 MLS teams will be in attendance to scout talent at the 2010 adidas MLS Player Combine, which concludes two days before the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.

The initial player list was determined by a select panel of Division I college coaches representing all conferences who nominated and voted for players in conjunction with MLS coaches.

2010 ADIDAS MLS PLAYER COMBINE LIST BY SCHOOL

Boston University
Samuel Appiah

Brown University
Nick Elenz-Martin

Bucknell University
Conor O’Brien

California State University, Northridge
Chad Borak

College of William & Mary
Andrew Hoxie

Creighton University
Chris Schuler
Seth Sinovic

Dartmouth University
Craig Henderson

Depaul University
Steffen Vroom

Drake University
Julien Edwards

Elon University
Steven Kinney

Harvard University
Andre Akpan
Kwaku Nyamekye

Indiana University
Eric Alexander
Ofori Sarkodie

Lehigh University
Adam Welch

North Carolina State University
Olukorede Aiyegbusi
Ronnie Bouemboue

Old Dominion University
Nane Joseph

Penn State University
Jason Yeisley

Quinnipiac University
Frederick Hall

Saint Louis University
Tim Ream

San Diego State University
Nick Cardenas

St. John’s University
Nelson Becerra
Ben Clack

Stanford University
John Moore

Temple University
Joseph Noone

University of Alabama - Birmingham
Two-Boys Gumede

University of California - Berkeley
Tyler Barry

University of California - Irvine
Irving Garcia

University of California – Los Angeles
Kyle Nakazawa
Michael Stephens
Brian Perk
David Estrada

University of California – Santa Barbara
Martin Hadevag
David Walker

University of Connecticut
Kwame Watson-Siriboe
Toni Stahl
Mike Pezza

University of Dayton
Isaac Kissi

University of Denver
Kris Banghart

University of Hartford
Carlos Villa

University of Illinois – Chicago
Jovan Bubonja

University of Louisville
Othaniel Yanez
Fred Braun
Phil Edginton

University of Maryland
Drew Yates
Kevin Tangney

University of Michigan
Mauro Fuzetti

University of New Mexico
Justin Davis

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Zach Loyd
Brooks Haggerty

University of Notre Dame
Michael Thomas
Bright Dike
Justin Morrow

University of Portland
Collen Warner

University of San Diego
Ryan Peterman

University of San Francisco
Conor Chinn

University of Virginia
Ross LaBauex

Villanova University
Mike Seamon

Wake Forest University
Zack Schilawski
Austin da Luz
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Final Four Preview


Hello Rapids fans,

We wanted to give everyone a little preview of the upcoming NCAA Final Four. I will come back tomorrow with the second half of our preview.

Semifinal #1 Akron (23-0-0) VS UNC (16-2-3):

Akron- Coach Caleb Porter has done an outstanding job taking an Akron program built by Ken Lolla and advancing it to the next level. The current group is young, talented and enters into the Final Four undefeated and untied. Akron is lead offensively by a pair of sophomore forwards. Teal Bunbury leads the way with 17 goals in 23 games and Darlington Nagbe is not far behind 10 goals in 23 games. These two are supported by junior Anthony Apaipitakwong (8g, 5a) and redshirt sophomore Michael Nanchoff (5g, 11a). This is a very dynamic group with a great mix of creativity and goal scoring ability. Defensively the group is young and getting better. Kofi Sarkodie leads the group as a sophomore with 2 freshmen and another sophomore rounding out the back 4. Rounding out the defensive unit is freshmen GK David Meaves with his 0.31 GA average. Overall this is a very well balanced group with some depth on the bench that has the ability to step up at anytime. Coach Porter has been able to keep the group focused on the prize which is impressive in itself given the youth in the group.

North Carolina- UNC returns to the Final Four for the second straight year. The group is lead by a trio of seniors in GK Brooks Haggerty, defender Zack Loyd, defender Jordan Graye. All three are legitimate pro prospects. Offensively the group is led by sophomore forwards Billy Schuler (9g, 5a) and Alex Dixon (8g, 1a). To supply these guys is a very talented and creative midfield lead by former U-17 WC veteran, junior Michael Farfan (5g, 4a). The other prime timers are junior Cameron Brown (5g, 3a) and sophomore Kirk Urso (4g, 6a) who has been outstanding in the NCAA tournament. This group has a tremendous amount of big game experience including last year’s march to the championship game. Coach Bolowich is a master tactician with a National Championship to his name so he will certainly have this group ready to combat any team.

Outcome- It is easy to go with the glamorous pick in Akron, but I think there are too many things that point to UNC for this one. The ACC is the most difficult conference in the country with a high level of play in every game that prepares these teams so well for the NCAA tournament. UNC’s experience in the back and grit in the midfield should be able to handle the strengths that Akron possesses. The difference in the game will be whether or not Akron’s youth in the back can handle the multiple options that UNC has going forward. That could be too much for Akron to handle. In the end, UNC’s experience, athleticism and creativity is unlike anything that Akron has played against all year which will favor them. Prediction: UNC-2 Akron-1

Thanks,

Paul Bravo


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The Mile High Trophy Up for Grabs by Denver Dynamite this Saturday


Jonesing for some live Colorado soccer action this weekend?

There's another big trophy at stake for Colorado soccer fans to be able to witness this Saturday, as a match for ownership of the Mile High Trophy kicks off this Saturday at the Denver Bladium.

What's the Mile High Trophy you may ask? A rivalry between the PASL-Pro’s two closest teams geographically, the Denver Dynamite and Colorado Lightning.

A donation from a fan who wished to remain anonymous raised the stakes considerably in the rivalry. From then on the winner of each game between the two teams took home the Mile High Trophy - a historic trophy that dates back to 1920s India. The trophy was originally a prize in hotly contested games between Indian locals and British soldiers. The trophy is unmarked because the intention was always for it to change hands after each victory.

For more info on the trophy and this Saturday's match-up, visit the Dynamite's Facebook page.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rapids Youth Teams Weekly Schedule


This week's training, meeting and match schedule for the Colorado Rapids youth teams, courtesy of the Rapids Academy:

Dress warm for the frigid temperatures in Colorado this week!

Dec. 7-11, 2009

Monday: Development Academy Winter Showcase in Phoenix, AZ
Rapids U16s vs. De Anza Force, 11:00am, Reach 11 Soccer Complex, Field 5
Rapids U18s vs. De Anza Force, 11:00am Reach 11 Soccer Complex, Field 6

In Colorado:

Tuesday: Training, Rapids U15 Team, 6:00pm, Field 10

Wednesday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Thursday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Friday: Rapids Youth Teams Off

Saturday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Sunday: Training, U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

*all training times are at Dick's Sporting Goods Park unless otherwise noted.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Rapids Providing Holiday Gifts For Needy Kids

The Colorado Rapids have teamed up to help make it a very special holiday season for some needy kids this year.

This December, the Rapids are participating in "Project Present", a community outreach program that benefits underserved children in Commerce City.

This year, the Colorado Rapids are sponsoring students from Hanson Elementary in Commerce City that have been nominated to the program by their schools as not likely to receive any presents this holiday season. These special children in need will receive toys, clothes, and toiletries from the Rapids.

In this video, Marisa Colaiano, Rapids Community Relations Manager, explains the program and shows the items collected, wrapped, and ready for delivery!
video
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Michelle is Colorado's First Jabulani Owner

At the Rapids' VIP viewing party for the 2010 World Cup Draw, lucky guest Michelle took home the first-ever adidas Jabulani ball, the official match ball that will be used in South Africa 2010.

With her raffle prize, Michelle can now lay claim to the fact that she became the first person to own an adidas Jabulani ball in the state of Colorado.

“Jabulani” means “to celebrate” in the the Bantu language isiZulu (one of South Africa’s 11 official languages). Get some in-depth analysis and up-close views of the ball by clicking here.

Also in this video from the event, check out the Rapids' emcee as he correctly predicts Algeria as a US opponent in the draw.
video
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Friday, December 4, 2009

World Cup Draw Party Recap


This morning we hosted an exclusive VIP watch party for the 2010 World Cup Draw at Fado Irish Pub in LoDo. A packed house of invited guests enjoyed a full Irish breakfast courtesy of the Rapids, and watched the group draw for the World Cup unfold live on ESPN2!

The United States welcomed a kind draw, featuring a marquee match-up with England in their group opening game on June 12th. Beckham, Rooney, Terry and company will have all they can handle with the US come this summer. Slovenia and Algeria rounded out the group and will face the US on June 18th and June 23rd, respectively.

We had a special treat for the attendees thanks to our friends at adidas. We unveiled the new 2010 World Cup Official Match Ball at the event, and even raffled off two official balls for our guests to take home! Thanks to adidas for their support and congratulations to our winners!

In addition to the fabulous adidas soccer balls, we also raffled off an XBox 360 and three copies of the new FIFA Soccer 2010 video game, courtesy of Major League Soccer and XBox.

This summer the Colorado Rapids will be the source for all things World Cup, from viewing parties to giveaways to exclusive Rapids benefits! Please check all the latest Colorado Rapids and World Cup 2010 updates on our website, coloradorapids.com.

We hope to see you out this summer at all the Rapids Official World Cup Viewing Parties!!
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Exclusive: Rob Valentino Checks in From South Africa


Rapids defender Rob Valentino, who, along with Rapids midfielder Ciaran O'Brien, is in South Africa with the Generation adidas tour, took time out from his trip to update fans back in Colorado with a brief diary of their activities.

Here's his first entry, from this morning:

"Hey everybody, I am here in Cape Town, South Africa getting ready to watch the World Cup draw today.

The draw is expected to have 300 million people watching, it is gonna be a crazy feeling to be right there amongst it all. The town is buzzing with the excitement of the draw.

The soccer has been great so far, we have a good group of guys on the Generation adidas team and we have been enjoying the time both on and off the field. Although it is our offseason, we are all here to win and represent our teams and ourselves well.

The weather is very warm but it is a nice change because I just saw that it is 9 degrees in Denver! So far we have gotten to see a lot of things here in Cape Town and previously in Johannesburg.

In Jo'burg we went to Nelson Mandela's first house and toured that, which was amazing. We also went to the Apartheid Museum and that was a mind-blowing experience. We saw the size of the cell that Mandela was in. It was not much bigger than a bathroom stall.

On the last day in Jo'burg we went to a poorer area of town and put on a clinic. This was the most humbling experience of my life. After something like that you realize how blessed we are to have the things in our life. Not huge things, but little things like socks, shoes, t-shirts, food, water, a bed....I could go on forever. These people do not live with much; I was very happy that we got to give back like that.

We then went on to Cape Town. Yesterday we got to go on a safari and that was great...we saw elephants, zebras, lions, cheetahs and everything you can think of we saw. It was awesome.

Overall I am very thankful for this opportunity with Generation adidas. Not just the sights we've experienced, but getting the chance to play games and to be training right now is awesome. This has been a frustrating year for Colorado, and this trip will mark us putting that behind us and the beginning of many more good things to come going forward.

If you guys have any questions, feel free to post them here and ask me anything. I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday seasons with their loved ones!"

-Rob Valentino
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekend Soccer TV Spotlight


Happy Thanksgiving Rapids Fans!!

If anyone is looking for the perfect two hour getaway this weekend or if you want to explain the finer things in life to your Cousin Eddie, our Weekend Soccer TV Spotlight is here for you this Thanksgiving weekend! So, instead of going to the movies or going shopping, you could take your out-of-town guests to any one of the Colorado Rapids Official Bar Partners for all the great soccer action this weekend!

SATURDAY

Portsmouth v. Manchester United (LIVE on ESPN2 @ 8AM MT)

West Ham United v. Burnley (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 8AM MT)

Manchester City v. Hull City (LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 8AM MT)

Sporting Gijon v. Villarreal (LIVE on GolTV @ 10AM MT)

Carlisle United v. Norwich City - FA Cup (LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 10AM MT)

Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 10:30AM MT)

Genoa v. Sampdoria (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 12:45PM MT)

Lens v. Olympique Marseille (LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 1PM MT)

Cruz Azul v. Puebla (LIVE on Azteca America @ 4PM MT)

America v. Monterrey (LIVE on Telefutura @ 8PM MT)

SUNDAY

Everton v. Liverpool (LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 6:30AM MT)

Inter Milan v. Fiorentina (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 7AM MT)

Arsenal v. Chelsea (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 9AM MT)

CD Toluca v. San Luis (LIVE on Telemundo @ 11AM MT)

Please have a safe and happy holiday weekend!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rapids Youth Teams Weekly Schedule


This week's training, meeting and match schedule for the Colorado Rapids youth teams, courtesy of the Rapids Academy:

November 23 – November 29, 2009

Monday: Rapids Youth Teams Off

Tuesday: Training, Rapids Youth U13-U14 Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10 (U11 and U12 evaluations)
Training, Rapids Youth U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Wednesday: Teams Off

Thursday: Thanksgiving Holiday

Friday: Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament – Rapids Youth U13, U14, U15

Saturday: Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament – Rapids Youth U13, U14, U15

Sunday: Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament – Rapids Youth U13, U14, U15
Training, Rapids Youth U16 and U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

*all training times are at Dick's Sporting Goods Park unless otherwise noted.

UPCOMING TOURNAMENTS:

Nomads Tournament – Rapids U13, U14 & U15 teams
Schedules have been posted on the Tournament Website

Sport Source Showcase – Rapids U17 team
Schedule has been posted on the Tournament Website
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CONCACAF Throws Weight Behind US World Cup Bid


The executive board of CONCACAF yesterday voiced unanimous support for the United States' bid to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. Executive Committee member and U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati outlined the major aspects of the bid in a video and slide-show presentation to the panel.

CONCACAF President Jack Warner congratulated the United States on their bid.

"The United States can count on the full support of CONCACAF, including Chuck Blazer, Rafael Salgueiro and myself," Warner said.

The 24-member FIFA Executive Committee will decide the final list of venues for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup in December 2010, of which Denver is still very much in the running for.

Full Story

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Updates From the MLS Supporters Summit


Rapids Supporters Group leaders Patrick Quinn and Mark Bodmer represented the Colorado Rapids supporters' contingent at the 2009 MLS Supporters Summit this weekend in Seattle.

The Supporters Summit was held in conjunction with MLS Cup weekend's festivities, and the Centennial Firm and Class VI were there representing for Colorado.

Check out their updates from the weekend, including topics discussed in the supporters meetings, guest speakers, and even run-ins with other clubs' higher-ups on their official website.
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Rapids MLS Cup Viewing Party Recap


Two hundred Rapids fans joined the club's players and coaches at The Oak Tavern in LoDo for the Colorado Rapids' Official MLS Cup Final viewing party last night and were witness to a surprising result as Real Salt Lake hoisted their first MLS Cup.

Supporters and the Rapids team jammed the place to the gills, and props to The Oak Tavern staff for pitching in and getting all hands on deck to service the hungry and thirsty capacity crowd!

For those that couldn't make it to the party, you missed out! Fans were greeted with the chance to win everything from Rapids team autographed items to schwag like hats and t-shirts. There were also Official MLS Cup koozies for the lucky fans that were there early!

The Tavern also dedicated all of their 12 HD TV screens to the match and pumped it out on their sound system.

At halftime, the Rapids gave away all the door prizes, and the Rapids Supporters Clubs handed out their annual player awards. The Centennial Firm recognized Matt Pickens as their C-Firm Defensive Player of the Year, while Class VI selected Omar Cummings as their Class VI Player of the Year in the trophy presentation in front of the audience. The supporters groups were also on hand selling scarves and passing out membership info all night long.

As for the match itself, it was tough to stomach the result of the match. Real Salt Lake overcame an early deficit to tie it up and then win on penalties 5-4 and brought home the first major sports championship to Utah.

Despite the result of the match, a great time was had by all in attendance. Thanks to all the fans that made it out, we look forward to seeing you at all future Official Rapids Viewing Parties, where we will continue to give out great prizes and have awesome drink specials for fans to follow Rapids road matches and other big games.

Thanks again to The Oak Tavern for their hospitality; if you haven't swung by their new digs at 14th and Market in Lodo, definitely check them out, they're the newest soccer-friendly bar in D-town.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Soccer TV Spotlight


We're back with this weekend's TV soccer spotlight. With World Cup Qualification over (sorry Ireland), domestic leagues around the world resume play this weekend.

Here are a few highlighted matches on TV this weekend:

SATURDAY

Liverpool v. Manchester City (LIVE on ESPN2 @ 5:30AM MT) - If you can wake up for this match it should be worth it. Both clubs are in desperate need of 3 points as they try to keep pace with Chelsea and Manchester United. If Liverpool fall again, Rafa Benitez may not make it to Boxing Day...

Deportivo Coruna v. Atletico Madrid (LIVE on ESPN Deportes @ 10:00AM MT) - The early match from Spain features soaring Deportivo and struggling Atletico Madrid. Atletico's star player Sergio Aquero stayed with the club during the international break to help solve their struggles. Winning this weekend would be a great start towards turning around their disappointing campaign thus far.

Fiorentina v. Parma (LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 12:30PM MT) - This is the marquee match-up of the Italian fixtures this weekend. Both clubs have European aspirations, sitting at fourth and seventh in the Serie A respectively. Fiorentina finished fourth the last two seasons, while Parma was a surprise runner-up last year to Internazionale.

SUNDAY

2009 MLS Cup Final (LIVE on ESPN @ 6:30PM MT) - The 2009 MLS Cup features the Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake live from Seattle, WA. Both clubs are playing their best soccer of the season at the right time. LA took care of rivals Chivas in the opening round, then dispatched Houston in the Western Conference Final last week. Real Salt Lake beat the defending champs Columbus in the opening round and then took care of the Chicago Fire on penalties in Chicago to win the East. This has the makings of a great Final! Be sure to join the entire team for the Rapids Official Rapids MLS Cup Viewing Party at the Oak Tavern located at 14th and Market in Downtown Denver.

Be sure to check out Rapids Bar Partners for all your soccer viewing options this weekend! We look forward to seeing you out and about this weekend.
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Exploring the Geography of MLS MVP's


After the LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan was named 2009 MLS Most Valuable Player yesterday, we thought we'd explore the geographies behind where the players have come from who have won the title since the league's inception in 1996.

When analyzing the all-time winners of this award, some interesting geographical MLS MVP notes for your consideration:

-Donovan becomes only the 4th out of the 14 lifetime winners to have been born in the United States.

-Preki, the only player to have won the award twice, was born in Yugoslavia and later became a US citizen.

-Rank of countries producing total number of MVP Award winning players in descending order: USA (4), Argentina (2), Honduras (2), Brazil (1), Yugoslavia (1), Guatemala (1), Bolivia (1), Colombia (1)

-2 MVP's on the list have lived in Colorado, playing for the Rapids (Valderrama and Gomez)

-1999 and 2000 were the only years in MLS history when players won MVP awards in consecutive years from the same country of birth (USA)

-MLS MVP's have only been produced by less than half the continents on Earth. 3 continents have produced MVP's: North America, South America and Europe. There have yet to be MVPs hailing from Asia, Africa, Australasia or Antarctica (although we don't see that one happening any time soon).

-Total MLS MVP's produced by continent of birth in descending order: North America (7), South America (5), Europe (1)

-Only 1 country an MLS MVP was born in no longer exists: Preki's Yugoslavia, which was dissolved in 2003 as Serbia and Montenegro were forming.

Compiled here below are the all-time MLS MVP winners, with their year, club, and place of birth.

MLS MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS
(Year, Player, Club, Place of Birth)
2009: Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy - California, USA
2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Columbus Crew - La Plata, Argentina
2007: Luciano Emilio - D.C. United - Ilha Solteira, Brazil
2006: Christian Gomez - D.C. United - Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005: Taylor Twellman - New England Revolution - Minnesota, USA
2004: Amado Guevara - MetroStars - Tegucigalpa, Honduras
2003: Preki - Kansas City Wizards - Belgrade, Yugoslavia
2002: Carlos Ruiz - Los Angeles Galaxy - Guatemala City, Guatemala
2001: Alex Pineda Chacon - Miami Fusion - Santa Cruz, Honduras
2000: Tony Meola - Kansas City Wizards - New Jersey, USA
1999: Jason Kreis - Dallas Burn - Nebraska, USA
1998: Marco Etcheverry - D.C. United - Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
1997: Preki - Kansas City Wizards - Belgrade, Yugoslavia
1996: Carlos Valderrama - Tampa Bay Mutiny - Santa Marta, Colombia

What can be divined from these geographical tidbits? Anything? Or is it just food for thought with no real earth-shattering theses to be produced? Post your thoughts below.........
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

MLS Supporters Summit to Be Streamed Live Online Saturday


MLS announced that the league will stream online this Saturday the MLS Supporters Summit for the first time ever for club supporters around the league not in attendance to be able to tune in and watch the proceedings live this Saturday morning.

Commissioner Don Garber and Seattle owner Drew Carey will participate in the 11th annual Supporters Summit during MLS Cup weekend this Saturday, November 21. The live stream will begin at 8:00am MT this Saturday on the league website.

Attending the Supporters Summit in person on behalf of Colorado Rapids supporters will be representatives from the Class VI and Centennial Firm supporters groups. Rapids fans are encouraged to submit their questions or issues they would like the Rapids Supporters Delegation to address at the Summit ahead of time by clicking here.

At the Summit, Garber will deliver a special address and Carey will moderate a question and answer session. The summit will also include a formal discussion addressing the officiating and technical structure of MLS with top League stakeholders Joe Machnik and Alfonso Mondelo.

For more information on this year's MLS Supporters Summit weekend, click here.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rules Set for Philly Expansion Draft on Nov. 25


The Philadelphia Union will take another step toward building their club as the 2010 expansion side will participate in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 25.

Philadelphia will select the core of their inaugural squad in a 10-round draft next Wednesday. Teams can participate in a half-day trade window on Monday until Noon ET. All 15 MLS teams are required to submit their lists of protected players to the League by 3 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 23.

The League will distribute a list of the players available in the expansion draft to media that day. At the conclusion of the Expansion Draft, results will be posted on MLSnet.com and teams may resume trading.

Philadelphia Union may not claim more than one player from any given team in MLS; therefore five teams will not have a player taken in the expansion draft.

2009 MLS Expansion Draft Rules

Senior Roster
• Teams may protect 11 players between their Senior and their Developmental Roster.
• If the Player’s contract expires at the end of 2009, he will still be considered part of the Team’s Senior Roster.
• If a Team protects a player, it is not obligated to exercise the player’s option. It may renegotiate a new budget number for the player as in previous years.
• If a player retires, he will not be a part of the Senior Roster, but his Team will lose its right of first refusal to him should he ultimately decide to play.

Developmental Roster
• Players on a Team’s Developmental Roster, other than Generation adidas players who have not been graduated at the end of the 2009 season and Home Grown Players, will be part of the expansion draft.
• Generation adidas players (who have not been graduated at the end of the 2009 season) and Home Grown players are automatically protected (teams do not have to use a protected slot on them)If Philadelphia selects a Developmental Player it must offer him a Senior Roster position and he must be on Philadelphia’s Senior Roster as of Roster Compliance Date.

International Players
• Teams are restricted in the number of International player(s) that they may make available per the table set forth below.
• For purposes of this expansion process, for US-based teams, any non-domestic US player would count as an International and for Toronto FC, any non-domestic US player or non-domestic Canadian player would count as an International.

Designated Players
• Designated Players do not have to be protected unless the player has a no trade clause in which case he must be protected.

Maximum Player Loss
• Once a player has been claimed from a Team’s non-protected roster, that team is eliminated from the expansion draft and may not lose any further players.

Right to Renegotiate
• Philadelphia will have the right to renegotiate a drafted player’s salary (either up or down) without having to place such player on waivers or giving his previous Team a right of first refusal.

Priority
• On the first day of the Discovery/Allocation Period, Philadelphia will have priority over players who played professionally in the USL First or Second Division in 2009, subject to another MLS team’s right of first refusal.

Rounds
• The expansion draft will be 10 rounds.

INTERNATIONAL PLAYER PROTECTION REQUIREMENT TABLE:
• Teams may make available a number of international players equal to their total number of international players minus 3, provided that if a team has 3 or less international players it may make available not more than 1.
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TV Info for Today's Huge International Matches


Television broadcast information for today's huge slate of World Cup Qualifying playoff matches (all times are MT):

10:30am- Algeria vs. Egypt WCQ Playoff - live free video on FIFA website. (15,000 security members to be in attendance!)

11am- Ukraine vs. Greece WCQ Playoff (0-0 tie in first leg in Greece)- live on ESPN2

12:30pm- USA vs. Denmark (Friendly) - live on ESPN Classic, joined in progress on ESPN2 after Ukraine v. Greece

12:45pm- Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Portugal WCQ Playoff (1-0 Portugal win in first leg)- live on Setanta USA

1pm- France vs. Ireland WCQ Playoff (1-0 France win in first leg) -live on Setanta Pay-per-view ($20 cover charge at Fado Irish Pub in Lodo)

3pm- Slovenia vs. Russia WCQ Playoff (2-1 Russia win in first leg - tape delayed on Setanta USA

4pm- Uruguay vs. Costa Rica WCQ Playoff (1-0 Uruguay win in first leg) - not televised in the USA
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

US Soccer Unveils Details for World Cup Tickets


US Soccer today announced initial details for U.S. Men’s National Team fans to apply for tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Priority status for applying for tickets to the U.S. Men’s National Team matches in South Africa will be extended to members of the U.S. Soccer Supporters Club.....fans seeking priority status must join by Dec. 3, 2009, at 10am MT.

Beginning later this month, all registered U.S. Soccer SC members will be sent a request to submit pre-application data to U.S. Soccer. By completing this process, fans notify U.S. Soccer of their interest in FIFA World Cup tickets and provide the information that U.S. Soccer will in turn submit to FIFA for the online ticket application. A valid passport is required for each person who requests tickets.

U.S. Soccer fans’ FIFA World Cup Ticketing Timeline
Ongoing: Fans join the U.S. Soccer Supporters Club
Late November: USSSC members submit pre-application data to U.S. Soccer
Dec. 3: Deadline to join USSSC and receive priority World Cup ticketing status
Dec. 4: First-round opponents and venues determined via Final Draw
Dec. 6: FIFA ticket application begins for USSSC members
Jan. 13: Close of FIFA ticket application for USSSC members
Late January: FIFA contacts applicants to confirm whether or not application was successful, successful applicants are charged for tickets

For full details, visit US Soccer's website.
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Casey Reacts to Best XI Recognition

The announcement of the 2009 MLS Best XI reached Aarhus late last night, where three members of the U.S. squad that will face Denmark learned of their inclusion as part of the top class in the league this year.

Conor Casey, Jeff Cunningham and Stuart Holden have all had different experiences in the league, each contributing to their inclusion - and successes - with the national team.

Conor Casey - The striker earned his first nomination to the league Best XI in this third season in Colorado, finishing in second place in the MLS Golden Boot race after potting 16 goals. His form with the Rapids earned him time with the national team, and he made the most of the opportunity, scoring his first two international goals in helping the U.S. to an historic 3-2 qualifying victory in Honduras that clinched the USA's spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

"Obviously I'm very excited to be given this recognition. It is great to be included amongst such talented players," said Casey.

"We had a good year in Colorado, but it is certainly disappointing not to make the playoffs. I'm glad that I was able to make it through the season healthy and help contribute. Hopefully we'll be able to put together a complete season next year and make a push for the playoffs."
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USA at Denmark TV Update


For clarification for fans trying to tune in to watch Conor Casey and the rest of the USMNT as they take on Denmark tomorrow:

The game will air in its entirety on ESPN Classic, beginning at 12:25pm MT. ESPN2 will join the game in progress following the conclusion of the Ukraine-Greece WC Qualifying playoff game, which kicks off at 11am MT.

Assuming there is no overtime or delay in the Ukraine-Greece match, coverage of Denmark vs. USA should start on ESPN2 a half hour or so into the match, around 1pm MT.

Check out USSoccer.com's Game Notes for the match tomorrow.
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Don Garber's State of the League Address


Yesterday MLS Commissioner Don Garber delivered his annual State of the League Address to national members of the media via conference call.

Among the subjects Commissioner Garber touched on:

-revealing Rapids striker Conor Casey had been voted to the 2009 MLS Best XI

-the gains made this year by expansion club Seattle Sounders FC

-the importance of MLS clubs winning the Champions League

-the impact this year's rookie class had on the league

-expansion clubs for next year and the future

-the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the MLS Players Union.

Listen to Garber's entire speech online by clicking here.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Rapids Youth Teams Weekly Schedule


This week's training, meeting and match schedule for the Colorado Rapids youth teams, courtesy of the Rapids Academy:

November 16 – November 22, 2009

Monday: Rapids U10 Center of Excellence, 6:00pm, Field 10

Tuesday: Training, Rapids U11-U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Wednesday: Training, Rapids U12-U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Thursday: Training, Rapids U11-U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Friday: Teams Off

Saturday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Sunday: Training, Rapids U13 CYS Team, 10:00am, Field 8
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

*All practices and matches take place at Dick's Sporting Goods Park unless otherwise noted.

*Rapids U11 rescheduled match: we will provide information on the rescheduled game when it becomes available.

UPCOMING TOURNAMENTS:

Nomads Tournament – Rapids U13, U14 & U15 teams
Schedules have been posted on the Tournament Website

Sport Source Showcase – Rapids U17 team
Schedule has been posted on the Tournament Website
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Commissioner Garber to Unveil 2009 MLS Best XI at 1pm MT Today


In a little less than an hour, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber will give his annual State of the League address via media teleconference call, at 1pm MT.

During this address, Commissioner Garber will also announce the 2009 MLS Best XI, the League’s top 11 players as voted on by players, coaches and general managers, and members of the media.

What do you think? Will there be a Rapids player to make the list this season of the top 11 players in MLS in 2009? Post your opinions below.....
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Omar's South African Travel Tribulations


Rapids striker Omar Cummings had a scare at South African immigration over the weekend, reports the Jamaica Observer.

Cummings, in South Africa with the Jamaican National Team to face the World Cup hosts tomorrow, was detained by immigration officials for a ripped passport. Cummings had his passport damaged by a US official when starting his long trip to South Africa.

Concerns about Omar's return to the USA appear to have been sorted out, as after the entire ordeal, the Rapids' forward was issued new travelling papers.

Read the entire story here.
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Friday, November 13, 2009

ESPN Creates New "Soccer Power Index"


In case you've missed it, ESPN have commissioned Nate Silver to create a a brand new international soccer rankings system specifically designed to appeal to American fans.

How does it work? In ESPN's own words:

"The basic concept is that the SPI rating represents a team's overall skill level. The SPI ratings are intended to be forward-looking. They measure a team's relative likelihood of victory if a competitive match were to be held tomorrow. This concept may differ slightly from a retrospective or backward-looking ratings system. We aren't trying to reward or punish teams based on past results so much as we are trying to predict which teams will have the most success in the immediate future."

View the complicated system which give the rankings their score, as well as the current world rankings. (The US are ranked #14 in the world on the SPI).

What are your thoughts on the new ESPN SPI vs. the more traditional rankings, such as the FIFA system? Share your thoughts below.
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Paul Bravo Answers 6 Questions With Class VI


Class VI has posted their latest "6 Questions" interview....this week it's Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo who takes time off from his scouting trip to answer 6 questions from supporters.

Bravo talks to Craig de Aragon about several subjects that fans request answers on!

To listen to the entire interview on Class VI's website, click here.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekend Soccer TV Spotlight


This weekend's major soccer events on TV fall into three distinct categories: MLS Cup Playoffs, World Cup Qualifiers and International Friendlies. Depending on what your cup of tea (or pint) is, we have a cheat sheet for all the great action to come this weekend.

MLS CUP PLAYOFFS

LA Galaxy v. Houston Dynamo (Friday, LIVE on ESPN2 @ 9PM MT) - The Western Conference Final of the MLS Cup playoffs kicks off this (mostly) international weekend of great soccer coverage on TV. We encourage all fans to come down to any one of the Rapids Partner Bars for this great playoff contest to watch it live.

Real Salt Lake v. Chicago Fire (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 6PM MT) - The Eastern Conference Final features a Real Salt Lake side trying to make their first ever MLS Cup Final. Please join us in rooting for Chicago at any of the Rapids Partner Bars. You should know why...

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES

If you are looking to watch your respective national teams as they begin figuring out which players they will take to the World Cup this summer, then maybe these games are more your style:

USA v. Slovakia (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel and Galavision @ 8AM MT) - A solid test for the Red, White and Blue as they take on fellow World Cup 2010 participants Slovakia in a friendly. Bob Bradley has many questions about his squad due to the rash of injuries to key players as of late. Be sure to cheer on Colorado's own Conor Casey as he will be suiting up in Bratislava!

Brazil v. England (Saturday, LIVE on Fox Soccer Channel @ 10AM MT) - One of the marquee friendlies of the weekend features perennial World Cup favorites Brazil and the always hopeful Three Lions. England will be without David Beckham as he will be either celebrating a trip to his first MLS Cup Final or he will be already on his way to Milan. Either way he won't be playing against Brazil.

Italy v. Netherlands (Saturday, LIVE on GolTV @ 12:45PM MT) - Another excellent friendly with the reigning World Cup Champions, The Azzurri, taking on a highly talented Dutch team. You know that both sides will want to have a say in who lifts the World Cup this year and both sides have the talent to be there.

Spain v. Argentina (Saturday, LIVE on ESPN Deportes @ 2PM MT) - In the third of our marquee friendlies, we have reigning European Champions Spain facing the nearly-didn't-qualify Argentina side coached by legendary midfielder Diego Maradona. Everyone thinks Argentina was just "playing dead" in qualification, but they will want to prove themselves when they take on Spain this weekend.

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER PLAYOFFS

Now, for those of us that want some seriously intense soccer this weekend, there are a few massive WC Qualifier Playoffs going on as well.

Russia v. Slovenia (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 9AM MT) - Russia finished third in Euro 2008, but now they are struggling to qualify for their third World Cup. Slovenia are hoping to make their second World Cup, having qualified previously in 2002.

Greece v. Ukraine (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 11AM MT) - Greece are looking to book their second World Cup appearance, while Ukraine are hoping to reach their second World Cup. Both teams have done surprisingly well in the few major tournaments they have appeared in. Greece won the 2004 Euro Cup as massive long shots, while Ukraine made the quarterfinals of their only World Cup in 2006.

France v. Ireland (Saturday, LIVE on Setanta Sports @ 1PM MT)- If you want to know how important this is for the Irish, just check out this excerpt from the Fado Irish Pub website:
"It has been nearly 20 years since the glory days of Jack Charlton and Italia '90. The country went soccer mad for the World Cup in Italy. Now it is time for that passion to return to the spirits and voices of the Irish soccer fans. Be part of the come back at Fado this Saturday as the Boys In Green take on Les Bleus at the mighty Croke Park."
Fado is the spot for this one, and unless you're French, be sure to wear your green!


U-17 WORLD CUP


U-17 World Cup Final (Sunday, LIVE on ESPN2 and Galavision @ 11AM MT) - Watch the future stars of world football compete for the coveted U-17 World Cup Championship. Nigeria beat Spain 3-1, while Switzerland defeated Colombia 4-0 on Thursday to reach the Final. Host country Nigeria have won this competition a record three times (tied with Brazil) and look for their fourth title this weekend in Abuja, Nigeria.

If you are looking for a great place to watch any of these games live in a great atmosphere with other soccer fans, please check out the Rapids Partner Bars for your weekend soccer viewing party planning schedule!

Where/what matches will you be watching? Post your comments below........
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Rapids Youth Team Players Contribute to Boys High School Championships


The Colorado Rapids youth teams lent some star power to the Colorado boys high school state championships held the last 2 nights at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

All 6 of the Rapids Academy players who participated in the 2009 Boys Soccer High School Finals came home with a State Championship.

Here is some info on the Rapids youth team players who are all now state champs:

-In Tuesday's 3A final, freshman defender Austin Seifert started for Colorado Springs Christian in their win over Denver Christian. Austin plays for the Rapids U-17 team.

-In Wednesday's 4A final, junior midfielder Chris Gurule represented for Niwot in their 1-0 victory. Chris plays for the Rapids U-16 Development Academy team.

-Also in Wednesday's 4A final, freshman twins Alex and Ben Braman also starred for Niwot in their championship victory. The twins play for the Rapids U-15s, who finished 2nd in the US Club National Championships in July.

-In Wednesday's 5A final, sophomore Sam Deitz scored the first (and game-winning) goal in Ft. Collins' 3-0 victory over Lincoln. Deitz is a forward for the Rapids U-16 development academy.

-Also starring for Ft. Collins in the 5A final was senior goalkeeper Chris Couperus, who played the entire game and earned the shutout. Chris is the Rapids Development Academy U-18 goalkeeper.

-Also a member of that Ft. Collins championship team was freshman Jairo Cerna, who is also on the same Rapids U-15 team as the Braman twins.

Congratulations to all our Rapids youth team members for their victories and for going 6-0 in state high school championship matches this year!

For full details on the Rapids Academy, visit their website.
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HS Boys Finals: Niwot Take 4A, Ft. Collins Take 5A Crowns


In the second of 2 consecutive days of boys high school championship matches at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, last night Niwot defeated Rock Canyon 1-0 to take the boys 4A championship crown, and Fort Collins topped Abraham Lincoln 3-0 to win the 5A championship.

4A championship:
Rock Canyon 0 0 — 0
Niwot 0 1 — 1
Goals:
Niwot — Velez (Stecyk), 89'

5A championship:
Abraham Lincoln 0 0 — 0
Fort Collins 2 1 — 3
Goals:
Ft. Collins - Deitz (Gustafson) 2'
Ft. Collins - Seville (unassisted) 21'
Ft. Collins - Seville (unassisted) 61'

The Denver Post has the 4A match recap and the 5A match recap from last night.
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Burpo Makes Final 10 Cut For MLS Save of the Year; Vote Now!


Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Preston Burpo has made the cut to the final 10 plays still in contention to win the MLS Save of the Year.

Rapids fans have until next Tursday, Nov. 17 to cast their votes for Burpo to win the league honor for top save in the league this season.

Vote for Colorado's Preston Burpo to win the 2009 MLS Save of the Year online by clicking here!

Burpo is currrently in 3rd place in fan voting.......cast your votes now!

The voting breakdown is as follows:

1. Nov. 3 – Nov. 10 – Voting to select top 10 saves from original 40 nominees

2. Nov. 11 – Nov. 17 – Voting to select the 2009 Degree Men MLS Save of the Year from the top 10 nominees

The 2009 MLS Save of the Year will be announced on Nov. 18, 2009. This year marks the inaugural season for the Degree Men MLS Save of the Year Award.
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Conor Casey Checks in From Bratislava

Rapids striker Conor Casey, currently in Bratislava with US Men's National Team, took time out to catch up with US Soccer's Studio 90 about the full schedule of US games this season, qualifying for the World Cup, and what the future looks like for the USMNT.

The USA are set to battle Slovakia this Saturday, Nov. 14 (live at 8:00am MT on Fox Soccer Channel) in their friendly against the hosts, who just clinched their first World Cup berth since becoming an independent nation.



Check out more videos on US Soccer's Studio 90multimedia page.
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Co. Springs Christian Take 3A Boys HS Title


In the first of 2 consecutive days of boys high school championship matches at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, last night Colorado Springs Christian defeated Denver Christian 3-1 to take the Colorado High School Boys 3A state championship.

Goals —
CSC: Edmundson (Gills) 3'
CSC: Edmundson (free kick) 10'
CSC: Schuler (Prabhudas) 40'
DC: Montavon (Monsma)50'

In tonight's doubleheader on the stadium pitch, the state 4A and 5A champs will be crowned.

The Denver Post has the full match recap from last night.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rapids Youth Teams Schedule For This Week


This week's training, meeting and match schedule for the Colorado Rapids youth teams, courtesy of the Rapids Academy:

Rapids Academy Schedule: November 9-15, 2009
(all Rapids youth teams training and matches at Dick's Sporting Goods Park unless otherwise noted)

Monday: Rapids U10 Center of Excellence, 6:00pm, Field 10

Tuesday: Training, Rapids U11, U13, U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10
Match: Rapids U12 vs. Colorado Storm Black, 6:00pm, Sandstone Ranch Field #3

Wednesday: Training, Rapids U13-U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Thursday: Training, Rapids U11-U14 CYS Teams, 5:00pm, Fields 8 and 10
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 6:30pm, Fields 8 and 10

Friday: Rapids Youth Teams Day Off

Saturday: Match: Rapids U11 vs. Colorado Fusion Mundial, 12:00pm, Aurora Sports Park Field #5
Match: Rapids U14 vs. Real Colorado White, 11:00am, Field 8
Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

Sunday: Training, Rapids U15-U18 Teams, 1:00pm, Fields 8 and 10

For more info on the Rapids youth teams and the Rapids Academy, click here.
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Seven Rapids Alumni Players on Soccer Hall of Fame Ballot

The National Soccer Hall of Fame released its final ballot for the Class of 2010 and 7 fomer Colorado Rapids players are on the list of the 24 candidates.

Here is the full list of candidates (Rapids Alumni Players and the years they played for Colorado are highlighted in bold):

Mike Burns, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Raul Diaz Arce (2001), Thomas Dooley, John Doyle, Marco Etcheverry, Robin Fraser (2001-03), Chris Henderson (1996-98 & 2002-05), Eduardo Hurtado, Dominic Kinnear (1996), Roy Lassiter, Shannon MacMillan, Joe-Max Moore, Victor Nogueira, Peter Nowak, John O’Brien, Cindy Parlow, Preki Radosavljevic, Mike Sorber, Earnie Stewart, Steve Trittschuh (1996-98), Carlos Valderrama (2001-02), Tisha Venturini-Hoch, Peter Vermes (1997-99).

Appearing on the ballot for the first time are Chris Henderson, Eduardo Hurtado, and John O’Brien.

Those in the final year of eligibility on the Player Ballot are Thomas Dooley, John Doyle, Dominic Kinnear and Mike Sorber. If not elected, these players will be on the Veteran Player Preliminary Ballot in 2011.

Voters in the player election include selected members of the media, Hall of Famers, past and present U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team coaches, MLS and WPS coaches of four or more years tenure, and a select group of soccer administrators. The ballot deadline is November 19. The results will be announced in early 2010.

Voters will be able to select up to 10 candidates for entry, with all candidates that appear on 66.7 percent of ballots being inducted.

For full details, visit the National Soccer Hall of Fame website.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

High School Boys State Championship Matches Set for Tomorrow & Wednesday


The matchups are set for this week's High School Boys Soccer state championships taking place this Tuesday and Wednesday on the Rapids' stadium pitch at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

CHSAA will host the championship matches for 3A, 4A and 5A boys soccer in the Rapids' home stadium for the first time ever this year.

(Wednesday's event is a doubleheader).

Date, time, opponent:

Tuesday, November 10 – 7:00 p.m.
Colorado Springs Christian vs. Denver Christian (CSCS is home team)

Wednesday, November 11 – 5:00 p.m.
Niwot vs. Rock Canyon (Niwot is home team)

Wednesday, November 11 – 7:00 p.m.
Fort Collins vs. Abraham Lincoln (Fort Collins is home team)

For full details on the games, visit the Dick's Sporting Goods Park website.

Tickets are still on sale for both days' matches, are $10 for students and $12 for adults, and can be purchased in person at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park box office either day or online at TicketHorse.com.
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Omar Gets the Call

Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings has been called up by the Jamaican National Team for their international friendly against World Cup hosts South Africa in Bloemfontein on November 17.

Omar will join the team in Jamaica this weekend, ahead of a few days of training before traveling to South Africa for the match.

Roundtrip, he should travel over 19,000 miles for this one game.

The Bodles Crescent, Jamaica native has nine career caps with the Reggae Boyz after making his international debut in July of 2008.

Omar has scored two goals in international competition, including Jamaica'a only goal in a 1-0 win over El Salvador on July 10, 2009 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Paul Bravo's Off-Season Scouting Update


Hi everyone, just wanted to check in with everyone. Now that the Rapids’ season is over, we can turn our full attention toward concentrating 100% on our 2010 preparations.

As we do every season around this time, our technical staff is hard at work splitting up scouting responsibilities.

While we’ve been working on 2010 for a while now, suddenly there’s a lot of big events coming up in the next few weeks that the Rapids’ technical and coaching staff will be dividing up making appearances at. Some of the big collegiate events coming up this month that we have on our agenda include tournaments like:

-the Big 10 Quarterfinals from Nov. 11-13 in Bloomington, Indiana
-the ACC Play-in and Quarterfinals, Nov. 10—22 in Raleigh-Durham
-the Big East Semifinals Nov. 12 in Pittsburgh
-the Missouri Valley Semifinals Nov. 21 in Des Moines
-and closer to home, the Mountain Pacific Tournament Nov. 12-14 here in Denver.

The Rapids have a long history of aggressively scouting NCAA players and talent, and this year will be no exception. While other MLS clubs may be in attendance at some of these events as well, we are making a concerted effort to have the best and most comprehensive grasp of America’s college age players ahead of the Super Draft.

Also, we’ll be right here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for next week’s Colorado High School Boys 3A, 4A and 5A soccer championships to keep an eye on some of our homegrown local talent.

November’s a big month for our 2010 preparations; while the Rapids are still training out here every day at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the technical staff are trying to finish out our postseason training whilst also making our final preparations for 2010 Spring Training and covering all of our scouting initiatives.

It’s a lot to keep us all going, and we’re keeping very busy, but I wanted to take the time to let all the fans out there know how hard we are working toward strengthening our team and building toward a better 2010 season.

Thanks

-Paul Bravo
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