The Colorado Rapids today announced that the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club has joined the club's Rapids adidas Alliance.
Rapids officials, along with representatives from the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club, made the announcement at a press conference held earlier today at the University of Nevada Las Vegas soccer offices in the Robert J. Miller Building.
"We are very excited to establish this partnership with the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club and to welcome them as the newest member of our Rapids adidas Alliance," said Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush. "This relationship is designed to fulfill technical aspects and player development for the youth players of this area, while continuing to foster the emerging passion for soccer in the Las Vegas Valley. We are also encouraged about working with area business leaders and UNLV to bring a Rapids match to Las Vegas in February around the Presidents' Day weekend."
Launched in June 2009, the Rapids adidas Alliance is one of the most integrated partnerships in American youth soccer.
The Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club enters the Rapids adidas Alliance joining four Colorado youth soccer clubs: the Boulder County Force Soccer Club, Denver metro area Colorado Storm Soccer Association, Colorado Springs based Pride Soccer Club and Colorado Fusion Soccer Club.
"The addition of the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club to the Rapids adidas Alliance and expansion into the Nevada market is a positive for our pyramid of player development," said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. "We will be providing the same opportunities to the DLVSC players and coaches as we do our other Alliance clubs in Colorado. The Las Vegas area has proven to be a hotbed for developing talented players, and this partnership will improve our efforts to identify, develop and promote players within our structure."
The Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club will operate under the principles and curriculum established for the Rapids Youth Academy. Rapids Youth Academy staff will have a daily role in the technical development of the club.
Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club players will now be part of the Major League Soccer Homegrown Player program, giving them access to MLS specific youth events. Teams in the club will take the Downtown Las Vegas Rapids name. In addition, two developmental leagues will join the Las Vegas setup. Nearly 3,000 players will be a part of the development structure with the inclusion of the Rainbow Soccer League and the Las Vegas Valley League.
"All of us at the Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club are thrilled that we have been accepted as the very first Rapids adidas Alliance partner outside their natural footprint," said Roger Tabor, President of the DLVSC. "We feel this groundbreaking opportunity will create unique opportunities for both our boys and girls players within our club. Hopefully, we'll see a Downtown Las Vegas Rapids player advance to the first team before too long."
With this announcement also comes the news that the Rapids will make Las Vegas a part of their preseason schedule, giving Downtown Las Vegas Soccer Club players and coaches exposure to MLS training and competition each year.