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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