Friday, February 27, 2009
The Rapids, who traveled to San Jose earlier in the day, could not overcome two first half goals by the home team as the Earthquakes claimed their fourth win of the 2009 preseason.
"Tonight was the most competitive game we have had to date," said head coach Gary Smith. "I thought San Jose looked sharp, but I think we compounded some of our own problems with poor quality and I think we looked tired. We looked like a team that is in the midst of a tough preseason."
"When you add that you are missing your three most senior players, it was a tough evening for the group. The positives were Colin created a couple one-on-ones with the ‘keeper that sadly he failed to convert, some good displays by some of the younger boys- Mike Holody and Ross Schunk, and I thought Wawa played good during his 70 minutes."
"The boys got some good minutes under their belts tonight; it is just a shame that we have not been able to convert one or two of the opportunities to make it look a little more respectable. But this is preseason and we are working towards the 21st."
Cam Weaver opened the scoring early with a goal in the 8th minute assisted from Ryan Johnson. San Jose would add one more during injury time as Jamil Roberts netted his first of the preseason 45 seconds before the first half whistle.
The Rapids return to Colorado Saturday morning before heading right back to California where they will face the Earthquakes Monday afternoon at Loyola Marymount University.
SJ- Weaver (Johnson) 8
SJ- Roberts (Alvarez) 47+
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens (Preston Burpo 46), Serge Wawa (Kosuke Kimura 69), Ugo Ihemelu (Stephen Keel 62), Greg Dalby, Terry Cooke (Jacob Peterson 46), Ivan Guerrero, Omar Cummings, Nick LaBrocca (Mehdi Ballouchy 46), Colin Clark (Jordan Harvey 63), Mike Holody, Ross Schunk (Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe 69)
San Jose Earthquakes: Joe Cannon, Eric Denton, Darren Huckerby, Simon Elliot, Arturo Alvarez (Shea Salinas 63), Ramiro Corrales, Cam Weaver (Pablo Campos 63), Jamil Roberts, Ryan Johnson (David Somma 72), Jason Hernandez (Alfonso Motagalvan 75), Kelly Gray
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The club was able to convince the magazine that Pablo would be the perfect choice for the cover over all other pro athletes in Denver, given his fine form from several weeks of preseason conditioning, coupled with the timeliness of the start of the Rapids' season.
(Actually it's owned by a Northern Irishman, so thus it's technically OK to host a UK-themed function there)!
Friday, February 20, 2009
The conditions were much different than their recent Florida experience, with high winds playing havoc throughout both sessions.
In the morning the team was split into two groups, later rotating, as one worked in a drill with Gary Smith on maintaining possession while the other worked with Steve Guppy on attacking the defense.
Today also marked the first appearance at the complex this season for both Rapids players Nico Colaluca and Ivan Guerrero.
Each of the Rapids' remaining SuperDraft picks are still looking impressive in camp and are pushing to secure their place on the final 24-man roster. The only trialist currently still with the club is Serge Pascal Wawa.
With the league’s March 2nd date for teams to become roster compliant looming, each day and each individual practice becomes more and more important for these players.
Mother Nature dictated how today’s second session was run, with no let-up in the high winds. The soccer balls never even left their bags in the afternoon as the team was put through a condensed training focused on fitness due to the weather conditions.
The players will have two practices again tomorrow before taking Sunday off then right back at it for four straight two-a-day sessions ahead of leaving for San Jose for their fourth preseason match--- this one against the Earthquakes a week from today.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
FC Dallas’ Kenny Cooper scored the game’s only goal in the 57th minute on a free kick from just outside the penalty area.
“I think today's competition was a step up for us," said head coach Gary Smith. "We mixed the team up again today. We have some trialists that we are looking at along with the draft picks. Dallas put a strong group out there. They started stronger than us, but I think they were looking to work on different things than we were. I thought we looked a little tired, but we have been training hard here. They had some good opportunities early, but Preston Burpo had a terrific first half. With a trialist and a draft pick up front we were a little lacking in the final third, but we managed to get to the half at 0-0.”
Smith added, “In the second half, we were a younger group but showed some more energy and a spark. We had our own chances and I thought we finished the game quite nicely. I think it was a pretty decent effort, but sadly we were on the wrong end of the score line.”
“Overall it has been a wonderful week of training here in Florida with a lot of hard work and good preparation. I thought the games were a good progression for us.”
The Rapids head back to Colorado tomorrow morning and have a scheduled day off before returning to two-a-day sessions on the training pitches of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Friday.
First half line-up: Preston Burpo, Ivan Guerrero, Cory Gibbs, Ugo Ihemelu, Serge Pascal Wawa (trialist), Pablo Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Terry Cooke, Mehdi Ballouchy, Ross Schunk, Edison Fonseca (trialist)
Second half line-up: Matt Pickens, Greg Dalby, Kwame Sarkodie, Stephen Keel, Jacob Peterson, Kosuke Kimura, Michael Holody, Jordan Harvey, Nick LaBrocca, Omar Cummings, Nicodemus Orok (trialist) (Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe)
Monday, February 16, 2009
Changes were needed in the team due to the loss of Geno Bigelow to National Team camp and Michael Gottlinger to a calf injury. The team spent a couple of hours relaxing at the hotel in the afternoon and then made the 30 minute trek to the national stadium.
The game began well with the Rapids saving thier best soccer for the final game. Then, just as happened the night before, they were victimized by a corner kick and the physical differences in the team. Moments later Alex Bramen equalized from Ricardo Perez's corner kick. In a strange sequence the team found itself down 2-1 but leveled quickly through a Travis Horner header from another Perez service .
Once again the Bermudans took the lead at 3-2 but Delfino Balderas capitalized on miscommunication between the goalkeeper and back four to tie the game. Horner then sealed the victory for the Rapids with a brilliant free kick in the closing moments.
The team returned Monday evening and will take a couple of days off before preparations begin for the league campain that begins March 7.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Colorado has yet to concede a goal in the preseason and have found the back of the net three times in each of the two contests against their two collegiate opponents.
Today's goal scorers were Colin Clark, Greg Dalby and Kwame Sarkodie.
The team will play their final match of their Florida trip on Tuesday, February 17 against fellow Western Conference rival FC Dallas at 1 pm MT at the Broward County Park Cricket Ground before returning to Colorado later in the week.
It has been a couple of days since the last post. John has disappeared to play some cards with some of the lads, so this will be a solo expedition.
We have been having two sessions per day (with the exception of Saturday, which we had the afternoon off). The sessions are short and sharp. Almost all are broken into two groups and the groups switch halfway. Saturdays morning session was a rotation of hard fitness, boxing (more on that later) and techniques. A very solid day of work.
We had a good training this morning with one group playing 7v7 and the other doing injury prevention stations. Then this afternoon we battled Jacksonville University. To be fair they brought a lot of energy to the table and put out a decent performance. We won 3-0 with goals from Colin, Greg Dalby and Kwame Sarkodie. Thus, another good training session that had us finishing on top.
John has now entered the room and is grabbing his wallet...never a good sign when you're playing cards.
As I mentioned above we have had a boxing coach with us during preseason. His name is Tony and he is a legend! Tony is not a very tall man but is full of energy and a heck of a boxer/trainer. He is from England (he reminded me of being straight out of the movie "Snatch"). Apparently a lot of the big time clubs in England are using boxing as supplemental training and fitness. The sessions usually have us with gloves on and doing different combos on others (we hit their gloves and not their face).
There is also a lot of core work, push ups and fitness for the body involved. As we have become more advance things would get a little more intense. For example, while we are in the plank positions (on your elbows and toes with a straight back) Tony will walk around and kick you in the core to make sure your keeping it tight! Also while we are working or throwing 100 straight punches he will yell "ONLY ONE SHOT AT THE TITLE" or "EYE OF THE TIGER" or "WORLD CHAMPIONS".
All of which the lads eat it up and bang out the exercise even harder. He is a great guy and everyone is a fan of Tony. I feel like after three weeks with him that I am ready to step in the ring. Manny Pacquiao does not have anything on me! Google him if you don't know who he is.
One cool thing we did as a team last was go to a boxing match put on by Don King. It was HBO fight night and we got tickets. It was awesome to see boxing in person. The highlight of the night was when a fill in boxer squared off against a 20 year old destroyer. Let me paint you a picture of the fill in: he was 39, looked like Mehdi's uncle (he had a fro like Mehdi), had no muscle definition and looked like he might have been picked out of the crowd. So as you can imagine he got beat. At one point he almost fell out of the ring. Needless to say he did not win the fight. All in all the event was great and we owe a big thanks to Tony and the staff for the tickets!
What else? Well, I can give you a look at what certain players like to do in their free time. For example, The German (Conor Casey) enjoys watching "House" with his headphones on. Burpo and Matt Pickens brew their own coffee and have deep talks while in their room alone. For myself, I have found a game on addictinggames.com called Age of War that is phenomenal. Jordan Harvey refuses to play. These kids from UCLA are always being very "California" and apparently video games are not "California." However, I have converted a good portion of the team to it. Then we have Nick who of course loves Facebook.
Well that is about all I got right now. Stephen is a little tired and needs to watch Chauncey dominate the All-Star game!
I will be back soon to deliver another super sweet post!
In the afternoon attention turned back to the task at hand, the first of Bermuda’s two U15 National Team’s. The game was marked by sloppy play on both sides early. Bermuda struck first off a corner kick. Their athleticism caused problems for most of the first half and it was only minutes before the halftime whistle that the young Rapids settled in. Just before the half Ricardo Perez curled a free kick into the box where Geno Bigelow glanced it passed the goalkeeper to tie the score.
The second half began better for the Rapids as they found more possession. Bigelow was fouled in the box and Perez finished the penalty with authority to give the visitors the lead for good. For a second straight night goalkeeper Brad Holub made two acrobatic saves to secure the lead. Following some decent buildup and with just moments remaining, Delfino Balderas put the game on ice with a clever finish over the top of the closing Bermudan goalkeeper.
It was a short night for Bigelow as he had to leave the island at dawn to travel in to the U15 National Team camp in Florida. The rest of the team will wrap up the trip by taking on the other half of Bermuda’s U15 split squad this evening.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Fortunately the game was less of an athletic contest and more about soccer. The teams were welomed by Bermuda legend and former West Ham player Clyde Best in the pregame ceremonies. With much anticipation and plenty of island publicity, the game kicked off in front of 500 fans in the National Stadium. The first half was even with very few chances and some good play from both sides. As the second half wore on, the French side started to take more of the possession and in the final 8 minutes goalkeeper Brad Holub had to make 3 spectacular saves to deny the games first goal. With a gale force wind at thier backs Sochaux finally broke the deadlock in the 4th of 7 minutes of stoppage time.
Although disappointed, the Rapids team will regroup for today's game against one of Bermuda's youth national teams.
We will update you again tomorrow...
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
“I think we saw an extremely professional performance today,” said head coach Gary Smith. “No one should say we shouldn’t have beaten this side, but their guys played well and I think their goalkeeper was the best player on the pitch. It is just another step in our preparation. The players played 45 each in real professional fashion.”
Smith went on to comment about training camp to this point, “I believe the players are in fantastic shape and have prepared themselves well to this point in camp. We trained for an hour and an half this morning at a very intense pace. The players have responded to the physical demands better than I have would have expected.”
The Rapids dominated play throughout the entire match limiting the Golden Panthers to few, if any, scoring opportunities.
Cory Gibbs led off the scoring with a header into the back of the net in the 5th minute assisted from trialist Manu Gomez.
Goals in the second half came from Mehdi Ballouchy’s brilliant free kick in the 47th minute and Omar Cummings from Colin Clark in the 75th minute.
The team will go back to two-a-day training sessions Friday and morning practices Saturday and Sunday ahead of their next match Sunday afternoon against Jacksonville University.
I will be (with the help of my trusty sidekick and roommate John Diraimondo) writing every couple of days to give everyone an update on our preseason training.
So let's get this party started! We arrived late Wednesday night after a nice flight through some tornadoes. The flight was nice and fine until the captain ordered the flight attendants to take their seat. It's never good when that happens.
So we are flying and its bumpy (nothing too crazy, but still my OJ was sloshing). Then our friend from Morocco, Mehdi, decided he would ignore the fasten seat belt sign and get up from his seat, to which the flight attendant spoke over the intercom, "the turbulence is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS and everyone needed to be in their seats."
At which point myself and our fearless captain Pablo turned and asked Mehdi what the frick he was doing? So now we are flying through extremely dangerous turbulence and I was grippin' and rippin' my chair. I was scared but was relieved to know that our assistant coach Steve Guppy was darn near terrified of what was going on. The following conversation took place between Steve and Johnny D:
Steve: "D what's going on outside?"
John: "Umm, it's hard to see because it's pitch black!"
Steve: ---White knuckle gripping his seat ---
John: "You really don't like flying do you?"
Steve: " No, I just hate turbulence"
John: " Umm I think it is kinda out of hands at this point"
But fear not. Our noble pilot got us through the storm and landed us safely in Miami.
Now onto the footy section. Yesterday the team had a light training in the morning to get the flight and travel out of the system.
Today the team broke into two groups. One group worked on pressing in a 7v7 session, while the other group worked on a 7v5 session. The groups were switched halfway.
After a nice meal we played our first game against FIU. The team was split in half with each playing 45 mins. We were victorious 3-0, with goals from Cory Gibbs, Mehdi and Omar Cummings. It was a good display and a good training session.
We have just finished dinner and now the guys are free to do what they wish. For myself I watch TV and surf the internet for the Chris Brown case.
Nick LaBrocca likes facebook...a lot. John loves TV. No seriously, he is a TV guide and if you speak during his shows (especially "Lost") he will threaten your life. Others such as Jake Peterson aka "Dante" and Colin Clark enjoy their XBox and taking the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl.
So that is about it for now. But I will be back later this week to give another update.
The Rapids are finalizing the details currently for "Rapids Week 2009", which will start on Sat. March 21 and feature a different event each day leading up to the Rapids v. Wizards match on March 28. Each daily event is designed to present an opportunity for different segments of the Rapids' fan base to interact with the team and players and generate excitement to a fever pitch leading up to First Kick.
Events in the works for this year include a youth soccer clinic with the team, a supporters club kickoff party, a Rapids pub crawl, a hospital visit, the club's annual free Burgundy & Blue Game (against an opponent this year!), a swank VIP event tentatively titled the "Burgundy Ball", and a few more scheduled events.
Look for an announcement soon at ColoradoRapids.com detailing the full week of events once all the details are finalized.....and in the meantime clear your calendar from March 21-28 this year.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The drive will be held in honor of Marcia Williams, wife of Real Salt Lake’s Andy Williams.
In May of 2008, Marcia found out that her blood counts were very low. On July 3, 2008, they received the terrible news that it was Leukemia. Marcia has AML6 and we now know that the only chance to survive is a bone marrow transplant.
The bone marrow donor drive will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight during the World Cup of Wine Tasting and Silent Auction event sponsored by the Colorado Rush Soccer Club, in the Pinehurst Country Club, at 6255 W Quincy Ave, Denver, Colo.
No special invitation or fee is needed to register as a bone marrow donor and registering to become a bone marrow donor is quick and easy.
It is crucial that we find that match to save Marcia’s life and we urge everyone to attend the event.
Live under a rock? Fado is located at the corner of 19th and Wynkoop in Lodo, between the Chop House and Coors Field, the stickball stadium.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
No longer with the club are Kevin Forrest, Brain Grazier, Henry Kalungi and Jordan Seabrook.
In additional roster news, much has been speculated on the situation involving Nico Colaluca. Over the past several weeks, Nico has spent time training with the New York Red Bulls. Due to the sensitivity of the situation, the Rapids are continuing to monitor Nico’s status.
While in Florida, the team will play three games, giving Gary Smith and his staff a first look at their 2009 squad in match-play.
On Thursday, February 12, the Rapids will take on Florida International University at 1pm MT. Colorado then face Jacksonville University on Sunday, February 15 at 1pm MT.
Both matches will take place on-site at the team’s hotel. The final match on the team’s trip will be on Tuesday, February 17 against FC Dallas at 1pm MT at the Broward County Park Cricket Ground.
The first team players had great things to say about the club's new kit design for 2009, both the new look and feel of the fabric. Check out defender Cory Gibbs giving you a sneak preview of a new special element added to the home jersey for this year (authentic jersey only, not replicas), pictured here for the first time ever.
Altitude Authentics reports they will start taking pre-orders for the new Rapids kit on March 1. Look for announcements soon on AltitudeAuthentics.com. The full kit designs will be unveiled at this time as well.
As for certain (ahem) other online stores promoting "buy your 2009 Rapids jersey now!", let's just say to fans "caveat emptor". The images they are depicting are NOT accurate representations of the '09 Rapids jerseys.
Friday, February 6, 2009
On Friday, February 27, the Rapids will travel to face the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium at 8:30 pm MT.
The team will return to Colorado the following day before heading out again on March 1 for Los Angeles. While in LA, the Rapids have two scheduled matches as they will once again take on the Earthquakes on Monday, March 2 and later battle the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, March 4.
The Rapids will also have several preseason matches during their time in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida from Feb 10-Feb 18 with announcements regarding those contests to come later.
Colorado concludes their preseason match schedule on Thursday, March 12 when they face Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field at 6pm MT.
Joining the Rapids as their new head athletic trainer is Jaime Rojas. Jaime returns to MLS having served in the same capacity with the Miami Fusion from 1998-2001. For the past seven years, Rojas has worked as the Director of ATI Physical Therapy in Chicago.
In addition, the team is happy to announce Charlie Wright as Vice President of Finance. In this role for both the Rapids and Dick's Sporting Goods Park, he is responsible for budgeting and financial reporting and compliance for all of the KSE entities operating in Commerce City.
Charlie’s expertise, combined with the addition of Technical Director Paul Bravo, gives a new foundation of support that the Rapids’ technical staff and organization has never seen before and puts the club in a solid position moving forward for many years.
Welcome Jaime and congratulations Charlie!
This is Geno’s first call up to the National Team, and it will prove to be a busy week for him, as the U14 Rapids Academy team is also playing in Bermuda at the Cylde Best Invitational from February 12-16th. The U14 Team will be competing against the U14 Bermudian National team and a youth side from the club Sochaux FC, which hails from France
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Curious why he left LA to come back to Colorado? Want to know his expectations for this season? And much more!
Click here to read the complete interview.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Not to be lost among all this hype is the fact that today also marks Signing Day for another group of high school "football" players.
In a ceremony held today at Dick’s Sporting Good Park, four of the Rapids Academy stars signed their college letters of intent in front of family and friends.
Metro State College
University of San Francisco
Eastern Illinois University
Under much warmer temperatures, the players took the turf fields again for five straight days of two-a-day sessions. Tuesday and Thursday are particularly longer, with an hour of fitness for the players before the first practice even gets underway.
Following today’s fitness work, the players spent a good portion of the morning playing in small sided games. Special attention was paid to formation and defensive shape as the new blood of the team desperately tries to learn Coach Smith’s system and blend with the veterans.
One thing that is noticeable already is the impressive size of many of the new players (with three of the team’s SuperDraft picks over 6-0, along with Ty Harden at 6-1) and the speed of some (Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe in particular). But matches are never won on paper, so as camp continues we’ll see how each of these guys hold up through the grind and if they can make their mark.
Shot of the day has to go to Cesar Zambrano, whose 25-yard blast from the right side ripped the net in the upper left corner.
The players were pleasantly surprised with a shortened recovery-type training this afternoon. It was entertaining at the opening of practicing though to watch as they worked on their footwork having to juggle with a tennis ball. Let’s just say there are reasons ‘keepers are ‘keepers.
There are a handful of trialists in camp as well, hailing from as far away as Spain to right here in Denver. The locker room is a crowded place right now with some having to double-up on space. Should any of these players take that next step in signing with the club, you’ll find out right here.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Former Rapids head coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick, despite garnering the second highest vote total, missed election into the Hall of Fame needing only nine more percent of the vote.
Selection on 50% of the ballots cast is required for election into the Hall of Fame. In 2009, 56 ballots were cast in the Veteran Player Election.
Myernick was the Rapids coach from 1997-2000. He died in October 2006 after suffering a heart attack. As a player, Myernick starred in the North American Soccer League and had 10 caps with the U.S. National Team in the late 1970s.
"We are disappointed in this result," Hall of Fame President Steve Baumann said. "There were several strong candidates on each ballot, but our voters have determined that none reached Hall of Fame standard at this time. As we do at the end of each election cycle, the Hall of Fame staff and the Eligibility and Awards Committee of the Board of Directors will dig into the results and the voting patterns to determine if we have a process that best serves soccer in the United States."
Players were selected to the Veteran Ballot from the over 300 eligible players by vote of the 16-member Veterans Screening Committee, which is made up of selected Hall of Famers.
Kyle Rote, Jr........................25 votes..........44.64%
Glenn Myernick..................23 votes..........41.07%
George Best.........................21 votes..........37.50%
Teofilo ‘Nene’ Cubillas.......20 votes...........36.71%
Shep Messing......................19 votes..........33.93%
Desmond Armstrong.........18 votes............32.14%
Hubert Birkenmeier..........17 votes...........30.36%
Bruce Murray....................17 votes...........30.36%
Bob Rigby...........................17 votes..........30.36%
Linda Hamilton..................16 votes..........28.57%
Steve David........................12 votes..........21.43%
Barry Barto........................10 votes..........17.86%
John ‘Harp’ O’Connell........7 votes...........12.50%
Lori Henry...........................5 votes............8.93%
Bill McPherson....................3 votes............5.36%
Andy Racz...........................1 vote...............1.79%
Monday, February 2, 2009
Tuesday: U12, U14 Blue Training, 5:00pm, fields 8 and 10
U14 Burgundy, U16 & U18 Development Academy, U17 CYS Training, 6:00pm, fields 8 and 10
Wednesday: College Letter of Intent Signing Ceremony, 4:30pm, DSGP
U12, U14 Blue Training, 5:00pm, fields 8 and 10
U14 Burgundy, U16 & U18 Development Academy, U17 CYS Training, 6:00pm, fields 8 and 10
Thursday: U12, U14 Blue Training, 5:00pm, fields 8 and 10
U14 Burgundy, U16 & U18 Development Academy, U17 CYS Training, 6:00pm, fields 8 and 10
Friday: Day Off
Saturday: U18 Development Academy 12:00pm, field 10
U10 Center of Excellence, 12pm-1:15pm, field 8
U14 Burgundy, U16 Development Academy, U17 CYS Teams, 1:30pm, fields 8 and 10
U12 & U14 Blue – Off
Sunday: U16 & U18 Development Academy, 12:00pm, field 8
U12, U14 Blue, U14 Burgundy, U17 - Off