Stronger Together

Colorado-Rapids-Youth-Soccer-Club-Logo
Dear Colorado Storm and Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club Members, Supporters, and Families

We are excited to share with you that our organizations will be joining forces, helping create a more comprehensive club that can further advance the goals and overall experiences of our players.

As one club, united under the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club name, you and all our valued members will have access to a stronger club better positioned to serve our players from three year olds all the way to the Colorado Rapids professional Major League Soccer team.

While this combination provides many benefits, it is important to know that our individual focus and dedication on our players and members will never change. We believe that every player matters, and everyone deserves personal attention and the best possible experience both on and off the field. This combination is designed to allow our coaches and staff to connect even more closely with our players.

Though our clubs are joining forces, we expect very little impact on team formations, practice locations, or the talented coaches and staff members with whom you interact in the first year. Only elite-level teams including boys DA, boys ECNL, and girls ECNL will be involved in immediate integration, and the combination of our player pools will elevate the quality of our teams and club as a whole.

The new, stronger Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club has an exciting future. We will be able to invest more in our players, coaches, staff, facilities, and programming options while keeping membership costs as low as possible. Our coaches and staff will also have valuable development opportunities which we would otherwise not be able to provide, which will continue to improve our player and team experience.

We know you probably have many questions, and while we might not have all the answers at this time, we have put together a Q&A section below to provide you with as much information as possible.

Thank you for your continued support. We hope you’re as excited as we are for our new, united club and our future together, where every player matters.

United As One Club

Under The Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club Name

The new, united club will serve players in five regions of Colorado, from Castle Rock to Fort Collins, supported by one of the most highly skilled and passionate staffs. Serving players from three-years-old to 18-years-old, from beginner to advanced, the Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club will provide one of the most comprehensive player experiences and pathways in the nation, all locally driven through community-based programming.
0
+
Highly Licensed Staff
0
+
Full Sized Fields
0
Goal
A Better Player Experience

How Will This Improve Each Player's Experience

01.

More Opportunities for Players

This merger affords players from both clubs, recreational to elite, to have access to greater development and programming options than if the two clubs would remain independent on their own.

02.

Coach and Staff Development

This merger provides greater resources to take coach education and staff development to higher levels which neither club would otherwise have access to on their own, giving players a better playing experience.

03.

Benefits of Scale

There will be some valuable administrative and organizational efficiencies that result from combining the two organizations, which allows us to reinvest back into the player experience.

04.

Long-Term Strategic Projects

The combined club has more opportunities to undertake strategic projects in the future ranging from development of playing facilities and complexes, to providing more scholarships to providing greater access to the game for our players.

Future Objectives of The Club

  • Provide coaches with more coaching education opportunities and coaching tools to support their role of developing a foundation for players in their primary years of soccer.
  • Provide a streamlined member experience utilizing U.S. Soccer Connect to simplify communications for parents, coaches, and staff.
  • Build more robust in-house leagues and camps providing opportunities to play more teams of similar ability while staying close to home and supporting the growth of soccer in Colorado.
  • Give players in the transitional years of 9U/10U more opportunities to meet players from across the region and play in regional and national level tournaments, as desired.
  • Create more meaningful in-house training opportunities including robust friendlies, pick-up/street soccer environments, and competitive kickarounds.
  • Host more in-house winter leagues and tournaments for players to continue to develop their game with a large and active player pool year-round.
  • Build stronger state level teams with a greater opportunity to play in regional and national events by leveraging the pool of players in the club to provide additional pathways outside of DA and ECNL.
  • Leverage the platform of MLS Rapids and the club’s holistic approach to developing teams and players to gain acceptance into the USSF Girls DA.
  • Provide better coaching education through on-field, classroom, and remote learning platforms creating a destination for coaches seeking to develop their craft with development pathways unique to the club.
  • Collaboration on facilities throughout the year, giving more players access to facilities year-round including opportunities to develop other indoor and outdoor facilities.
  • Access to over 80 full-sized soccer fields in Colorado.
  • Provide more opportunities for players to participate in winter training at The Eddy and grow futsal in Colorado with additional regional-based programming.
  • Build out U.S. Soccer Connect, the sports management system, for a better customer service experience for all age groups and levels of play.
  • Create a comprehensive and user-friendly website bringing all communication pieces together on a single platform.
  • Provide greater membership engagement with a calendar of events and gatherings providing members and players with the chance to build community.
  • Create a dynamic organizational structure that offers depth and growth opportunities for staff development that enables the club to develop, retain, and attract high-quality professionals which further supports the experience of players and families.

Timeline of Implementation

Announcement to Membership

As new information is finalized, we will consistently update membership on how the organization is moving forward.

New Registration System Goes Live

Rapids Youth families will see no change to the registration system, but Storm families will be registering on a new system called U.S. Soccer Connect. The registration system is scheduled to go live the week of April 16th. U.S. Soccer Connect

New Website Launched

Both club websites will be integrated into one website.

Elite Programming Tryouts

More information will be released very soon, but schedules will stay very similar to timelines already in place.

Competitive Tryouts and Intent to Play

Competitive tryouts and Intent to Play will take place as scheduled May 29th, 30th, and 31st. There will be no changes to the current process of player placement from previous years for each specific club.

Integration of Offices

Over the summer of 2018, the Storm South office will be integrated into the Rapids Youth Office located at The Eddy (111 Havana St, Aurora). All other locations will maintain their current office locations.

Uniforms

There will be no change to the uniform process for Rapids Youth families. Colorado Storm families will be integrated as their uniform cycle allows. For instance, those at the end of the two-year uniform cycle will wear Rapids uniforms, but those still in the first year of the uniform cycle will wear their Storm uniforms one more year.

More information about recreational uniforms will be released soon.

Questions and Answers

  1. More opportunities for players:  The driving force behind the merger lies in the opportunity for players from both clubs to have access to greater development and programming options than if the two clubs would remain independent on their own.  These options range from elite player opportunities such as boys who will immediately be in an MLS captive system, ranging to the recreational base where we will have significantly more options based on our scale to create creative programming options to enhance the player experience.  The player experience is first and foremost the design behind the merger.
  2. Coach and staff development:  We believe our coaches and staff drive the player experience.  This merger provides greater resources to take coach education and staff development to higher levels which neither club would otherwise have access to on their own.  Better people means a better player experience and this merger gives us the opportunity to develop, retain and attract the quality of personnel which provides the player experience we all desire.
  3.  Benefits of scale:  There will be some valuable administrative and organizational efficiencies that result from combining the two organizations.  For example, consolidating office space will result in cost savings. These savings can be reinvested back into the organization, resulting in a more efficient structure that serves members in several important ways:  1) allowing our coaches and directors to be closer to the player experience by reducing some of their administrative duties that burden a good bit of their time today, and 2) more resources from a leadership and administrative standpoint that allows staff to perform at a higher level than before due to having more bandwidth to give more attention to their core duties.
  4. Long-term strategic projects:  Another benefit of the combined club is the potential to create resources to undertake strategic projects in the future ranging from development of playing facilities and complexes, to providing more scholarships to give greater access to the game for our players.

These examples are an illustration of the rationale behind the merger. Note, the common denominator in all of these benefits lies in enhancement of the player experience.  Our players are the core to the thought process behind the combination and the experience of our players and families will continue to be the focus as the combined club moves forward.

Our two clubs are coming together through a merger.  One club is not acquiring another and the two clubs are being integrated to become a single entity from a structural, operational, and cultural point of view.

Aaron Nagel, the current Executive Director of Rapids Youth Soccer, will be the Executive Director of the combined club.  The boards of directors of both clubs will combine to form a single board of director group for the combined club.

We believe the combined entity is better served being part of the MLS affiliated youth soccer club and the attendant umbrella benefits that result from being part of the Colorado Rapids youth soccer club system.

There is nothing you need to do differently than if the clubs remained separate on their own.  Enjoy the rest of the spring season and then 1) register for the fall season, at the end of the spring season, and 2) if you have a competitive player, register for player placement (tryouts), as applicable for your player, as soon as registration opens.

Other than elite teams (DA and ECNL), all teams will continue to stay the same.  For example, a Storm South team will continue to play as their current team as planned for next year and beyond with no change to the universe of players, practice locations or any other dynamic than if the clubs were remaining the same on their own.  To further clarify, the top Storm South team and the top Rapids Youth team will not look to be integrated intitially. Both teams will continue to operate the same as they operate now, or the same if the clubs were remaining separate.

Only elite teams will be integrated to realize the benefit of the larger player pools resulting from the merger.  More on elite teams is discussed herein.

Rapids Youth families will continue to stay on their respective cycle of new kit purchases as the schedule stands currently. Storm families will purchase new kits based on a transition schedule.  This means that some Storm teams will purchase new kits for the fall and others will purchase new kits at a later time to be determined and will continue with their existing Storm uniforms, based on multiple factors including availability of new Rapids Youth kits and honoring existing contractual commitments.  Every effort will be made to minimize expenditures for families as teams transition over time to Rapids Youth kits. At the appropriate time, team managers will be informed of which teams will be in the new kits for the fall 2018 season and which teams will continue to play in their existing Storm kits until a future time.

Practice locations will continue to be same as if both clubs remained separate, based on the continued and ongoing process of securing playing fields, which sometimes requires adjustments to practice locations in the ordinary course of operations.  Elite teams will continue to practice in their same locations also. Players from either club who make their way onto an elite team will practice in the current location of the respective elite team. For example, if a Storm boy earns a spot on the MLS Rapids DA team, that player would train at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which is where the MLS boys DA teams train.  Similarly, if a Rapids Youth girl earns a spot on an ECNL team, that player would train at Gates and other existing practice locations of the ECNL teams.

Registration fees will not change from current practices.  Fees increase for certain groups here and there every season based on field rental costs and other increases in costs.  These practices will continue on an as needed basis, the same as if the clubs remained separate on their own. On a long-term basis, the goal is for registration fees to decrease, as the club benefits from operating efficiencies afforded by the merger.

The club will be using a new registration system, called U.S. Soccer Connect, one of the premier youth soccer registration systems on the market. While this system is live now for all Rapids Youth families, it will be live for all Storm families very soon. Once the system is live, a notification will go out to all members.

Links will be available for coaches and families to access their old account should they need it.

The Storm website will be migrated into the Rapids Youth website, which will start with a new registration system. This will be available in the next few weeks, allowing plenty of time to accommodate the player placement process for the end of May and registering for the fall 2018 season.

Girls ECNL (U13 – U18/19)

Boys ECNL (U14 – U18)

Boys Junior DA (U12 – U14)

Boys MLS Rapids DA (U12 – U19)

For Current ECNL boys and girls and boys Junior DA player, will they be able to remain on their teams?

As would be the case for those players currently without the merger, all players will be evaluated through the course of their season and other player assessment events, including tryouts. The same process will be implemented as if the two clubs remained independent.  The merger will provide a stronger and larger player pool for these teams and we also believe there will be additional players coming from outside our two clubs, which will also increase the depth of our player pools from which to form teams. Players will be evaluated based on the pool of players available, which is the same process if the two clubs remained separate.

When and where will the try-out event / player assessment occur?

Rapids Youth competitive players will go through the same process as previous years where there will be no tryouts for existing competitive players in the club, except for new incoming U11 players, new players to the club, and goalkeepers.  Spots for next year will be offered in advance for U12 and above players of the end of the spring season and will be based on the player’s entire body of work and other factors utilized by the coaching staff to put players in the best environment for success.

Storm competitive players will go through the same tryout process as previous years, which will take place the last week of May and will be consistent with the tryout process of previous years as implemented by Storm staff.

Elite team tryouts will follow a consistent timeline from previous years with specific communication going out from respective clubs for each elite program.

Will the coaches for ECNL teams and Junior DA remain the same? If not, how will my child get the benefit of prior experience and knowledge of the existing coaching staffs? Will there be any information sharing regarding current players?

Coaching decisions are still ‘to be determined’. However, Storm has some excellent coaches and our goal is keep in place as many as possible.  In any event, the process will 100% involve maintaining resident knowledge of players and age groups to ensure there is a transfer of knowledge to the coaching staffs going forward, where needed.  We are confident that coaches from both clubs will conduct themselves as professionals and will collaborate for the benefit of players and the process as a whole.

What about the “Junior” Development Academy programs Storm currently offers? Will it be merged into one program with the MLS Rapids DA or can the two programs both remain?

The U.S. Soccer Federation has indicated that the combined club will be able to retain both “junior” Development Academy programs with their current respective structures. One will remain a sponsored program of the the MLS Rapids club, providing a “no-cost” program, and the other Junior DA will remain a member-paid based program. Both teams will continue to compete in the same Junior Development Academy league in Colorado.

Does the combined club want to have a Girls Development Academy program?

Yes, we will make a case as a combined club for inclusion in the girls Development Academy. Our goal is to provide access to every elite pathway in the game for girls and boys in our club. In the meantime, we will continue to implement our approach of a player-centered development model that illustrates the individual and team style of play that we believe allows our players and teams to have success not just now, but moreover, as they progress in age and the competitive environment increases, particularly at the elite levels.

Will there be player movement across the different elite programs offered?

Players in Development Academy are not allowed to participate in other leagues or programs, with the exception of players who are a Developmental Player status.  Outside of this, player movement will be practiced where it makes sense, as players can change over the course of a season and where players may benefit from a different environment, whether up or down.  However, player movement will not be implemented for the sake of movement itself.

Where will the Development Academy and ECNL teams practice?

The goal will be to have the least disruption as possible to existing practice field locations and it is expected that teams will continue to practice in their current locations.

Volunteer recreational coaches are highly valued and will continue coaching their teams in the same fashion as if the two clubs remained separate.

Yes, both these programs will continue as they exist today.

Yes, the scholarship process will continue as it exists today, which includes an annual application and review process.

Yes, the plan is to host informational meetings in the near term to answer respective members’ questions. These may take the form of town hall meetings, division meetings, age group meetings, or team meetings.

For Storm South Members:

Administrative Related Questions:
Monica Burgeson: [email protected]

Soccer Related Questions:
Mike Haas: [email protected]

For Storm Fort Collins Members:

Administrative and Soccer Related Questions:
Phil Cooper: [email protected]

For Storm North Members:

Administrative and Soccer Related Questions:
Aaron Smith: [email protected]

For Storm Castle Rock Members:

Administrative and Soccer Related Questions:
Randy Freeman: [email protected]

For Rapids Members:

Administrative Related Questions:
Brenda House: [email protected]

Soccer Related Questions:
Andrew Kummer: [email protected]

Ask Us Questions

While we are still working through all the details, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions.

We encourage all members to reach out with any questions regarding the timeline of implementation or any questions we have not answered yet. We understand that through mergers like this, there will be lots of questions, some concerns, some eagerness, but our ultimate goal is to create one of the best player experiences in U.S. Soccer.

Submit Question