Rapids Reach Finals Week During First Postseason Appearance
The Development Academy Playoffs was a new prospect for the Colorado Rapids. The team had never previously qualified for the postseason tournament, but in its first appearance was able to capitalize with a stoppage-time goal in the final group game to book a spot at the Academy Finals Week in Houston.
How they got to Finals Week: Facing a must-win situation after Empire United closed a five-goal differential on the last day to grab a tenuous hold on first place, the Colorado Rapids took back the group lead and a trip to Houston on a 90th-minute, game-winning goal by U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team midfielder Dillon Serna against the Dallas Texans.
Finals Week and Academy Playoffs History: The Rapids made their inaugural appearance in the Development Academy Playoffs a memorable one with a down-to-the-wire finish. This is Colorado’s first trip to the Development Academy Finals Week.
2011-12 Regular Season: Colorado was the runner-up in the Frontier Division with a 6-3-5 record and a mark of 12-3-9 overall. The Rapids edged out two other teams for the second automatic berth to the Academy Playoffs, and the team’s 47 overall goals were the most in the division.
About head coach Brian Crookham : A former Rapids first team assistant coach, Crookham serves as the Director of Operations of their Academy. Previously, Crookham was the men’s soccer coach and assistant athletic director at Metropolitan State College in Denver. During his nine-year tenure, the soccer team became nationally-recognized, going from an unranked team to as high as No. 4 in the NCAA Division II top 25. Crookham has also served as the color analyst for Rapids television broadcasts on Altitude Sports and Entertainment since 2004.
About Colorado Rapids: In August 2007, the Rapids Academy was accepted as a member of U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy. Since then, the Rapids have sent numerous players to colleges and universities. Earlier this year, the Rapids signed U-17/18 Academy member Shane O’Neill to a homegrown player contract. The Rapids’ first team won the 2010 MLS Cup.
Scoring Leader in Academy Playoffs: Dillon Serna (3)
Scoring Leader During 2011-12 Regular Season: Shane O’Neill (10)
Inside the Numbers: The Rapids are unbeaten in seven straight games … Colorado is 1-0 against other Finals Week participants, defeating Baltimore Bays Chelsea 2-1 on Dec. 6, 2011, behind first-half goals from Dillon Serna and Idrissa Camara … Colorado was the only group winner during the Academy Playoffs to finish with a smaller goal differential than the group runner-up.
Did you know … Dillon Serna nearly chose to pursue baseball instead of soccer … Serna earned seven caps for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team in 2011. This year, he was part of the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team trip to Portugal for the Lisbon International Tournament in May.
U-17/18 Colorado Rapids 2011-12 Finals Week Schedule:
Home team listed first
Monday, July 16: De Anza Force vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. CT
Wednesday, July 18: Colorado Rapids vs. North Carolina Fusion, 9 p.m. CT
Friday, July 20: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. CT
Sunday, July 22: TBD