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News Detail

8

Aug, 2019

DARE to DREAM

DARE-TO-DREAM

In 2016, Colorado Rush’s GU12 team was knocked out in the Quarter Finals of Colorado’s State Cup Competition and finished 4th in their own State League.  Three years later, at GU15, the 2004s competed in the Girls DA National Championship Final. How were they able to go from an average team in the State to the top 2 teams in the Country, competing in the toughest and most demanding league in the Country for Girls Soccer?


Russell Finch, head coach of the ‘04 Academy team expressed, “There’s no special formula other than our Philosophy, The Rush Way.  If players buy in and meet the coaches half way then we can truly develop National Champions, which is why we’ve been able to win 16 of them.  The demands here at the club, put on both players and staff, ultimately make us all better while developing an incredible mentality to outwork the opponent.


There are no stars on this U15 team, just a bunch of girls that have learned to love the game, their team, their club and everything it stands for, from the eleven Rush Core Values, to the club’s extensive Philosophy, The Rush Way.”


Development Academy Director at Colorado Rush, John Carroll, added, “The 04 Girls Rush DA team’s success in the playoffs was because the team and each player on that team lived the core values both on and off the field.  They exemplified the definition of a Rush player and held each other accountable every time they stepped on the field. I could not be more proud of this group of young ladies for the amount of work they put into their team, the Rush program and their exciting run to the DA Championships.”


It started in 2017, with a dream of being the best in the Country.  It happened in a team meeting with a group of girls and their coach.  Together they set very lofty goals. From that day they all agreed to give everything they had to their player development, their team and their club.  With a mindset of being the best in the Country, the ‘04 Academy team at U14 went 18-8-2 in the Girls DA’s Inaugural season. In the 2018-19 season, the team went 21-6-6 overall and lost in the National Championship Final to an undefeated San Jose Earthquakes team.  Their development, passion and desire allowed them to get there. 


So what all was involved in this team’s development over the course of the season? 


“There are honestly too many parts to put down,” says Finch. “It was a long and well thought out season for the group and the staff, but I can say the demands in our Rush trainings were often harder than the games, so when they played on the weekend, they typically didn’t experience anything they hadn’t already experience during the week from a physical, tactical or psychological standpoint.  The team also committed themselves to our Athletic Development Program (ADP), sometimes doing it twice a week when we didn’t have games. The girls met and collectively came up with a Seasonal Action Plan, which highlighted 3 main areas: 1) Potential Distractions, 2) Things that need to change and 3) Things that can Help.  This is a tight group, it’s hard to break their bond or their spirit, both on and off the field.”


The girls faced incredible adversity just 4 hours before the National Championship game.  An affiliate player from Georgia Rush, Jordynn Dudley (registered and approved by US Soccer as a Part Time player and who had been flying out to train when her schedule allowed during the spring, and who lived with her host family while attending the Spring showcase), was told--due to a protest by FC Dallas whom Colorado Rush defeated 2-0 in the Semis--that she was ineligible for the final.  US Soccer stated that no rules had been broken by Colorado Rush, but there was a “Violation of the Spirit of the Program”. This was confusing to Jordynn’s teammates. Jordynn was regularly around the team and just as much a part of the team, and she was just as excited to compete in a National Championship Match.   


Russell, recounting the moment, expresses, “To find out so late, and to have to tell the team their teammate will not be allowed the same opportunity as them 4 hours before the game... well, it was hard for them to accept.  They were confused as Jordynn was like a sister to them, someone that just fits in with the team. On all levels as a Rush player and person, she shares the core values and the same Rush Way Philosophy that’s taught at both Colorado and Georgia Rush.  The girls had questions that we honestly couldn’t answer, but we assured them the focus needed to be on the game and not the US Soccer panel’s decision, as we couldn’t change that and we had a National Championship to play.”


This team has experienced a lot together. 


The ‘04s have played internationally in Costa Rica, where they played 4 Professional Costa Rican Academies and went 3-1-0.  Off the field, they have gone ziplining and paintballing together, and are often seen together on their off days. But, it wasn’t always a walk in the park or a year of only fun experiences for this group.  Within 8 months the team suffered 2 ACL tears, a fractured hip, a broken collarbone, a broken leg and other injuries that kept players off the fields, including playoffs.


Kylie Smith, a center mid and Captain of the team was a big loss with 8 big games left.  Kylie suffered a broken leg and displaced ankle in a horrendous tackle in a game against Sporting Blue Valley back on March 31st.


“Kylie Smith is a massive part of this team; she’s a leader, someone who is incredibly consistent in her performances,” Russell notes.  “My heart dropped when the foul and tackle was made; I knew right away it was a season ending injury. When visiting her in the hospital, I could see in her face that someone had just taken away her first love: the game of soccer.  Kylie is so resilient, though, and while most players would stay at home, try and get away from things that made them miss the game, she was on her crutches making her way across the fields to watch all 4 sessions a week, traveling on away games and was even at the playoffs to support her team.  In the National Championship game I had told myself that I didn’t care what the score was or how close the game might be, I was going to get her back on the field in our very last game of the season. I met with her before the warm up and let her know my plan and tears came running down her face.  It was an emotional time for a player that never thought she’d see the field again this season.”


Apart from 7 injuries keeping players off the field for 2-9 months, another astonishing fact is that the Colorado Rush team is the youngest 2004 team in the Country.  They carried 7 eighth graders on the roster over the past season. To put it in perspective, their red rivals from across town at Real have none. Their entire roster is made up of high school freshmen.  This CO Rush ‘04 DA Girls team is a very young team physically, which might mean their best is yet to come.


To get to know the team more and follow their journey from the beginning, watch their VLOG Series, “DARE to DREAM” by clicking the link below.


Colorado Rush 04 “DARE to DREAM” VLOG Series 


Episode One


Episode Two


Episode Three (Coming Soon!)


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