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Feb, 2018

Cooper Erickson - CO Rush Senior Interview

Rush Soccer is delighted to announce a new segment called the “Rush Journals” similar to “The Players Tribune”, where our own Rush Soccer players will be writing their own stories to help motivate our community.  Our first story comes from Cooper Erickson, Colorado Rush Class of 2018, who will be furthering his football/academic career at Loyola Marymount University.

Nick Blanco, Director of Coaching for Colorado Rush’s Competitive Division and U19 DA coach, has this to say about Erickson:

I want to congratulate Coop on all his success! It is much deserved. I have been lucky enough to see Cooper's journey and it's truly inspiring. He never gives up and always keeps working even through tough times. Cooper embodies what the Rush is. He always puts his team first and keeps a positive attitude. He is respectful on and off the field and is a true leader. This young man is someone that we want our youth players to look to as a role model. I can't wait to see how far he can make it in this world! Please congratulate Coop if you see him at the fields; he deserves it!

Cooper’s experience as a Rush player, in his own words:

“I first started at Rush when I was 11 years old playing under Adam Logan on the Rush A1 team (at the time this was the third team under Nike and Swoosh). For the first part of this season I was playing half on the field and half in goal before transitioning to a full time goalkeeper. We had a coaching change the following year, and I played under my new coach (Christian Atensio) for a year or so (I can’t remember the specifics on these early transitions). During these early years I frequently made simple mistakes that would lead to goals and eventually cost us games. Learning to recover from these mistakes is crucial to goalkeeping and is a skill that I am still trying to develop. After a good season, I was invited to play a tournament with the Swoosh team and I was moved up soon after. I also got a new goalkeeper coach, Michael Gabb, who would become one of the most integral coaches to my development in the coming years. As a goalkeeper on the Swoosh team I was first introduced to receiving back passes and began to work more on this aspect of my game. I played with the Swoosh team until the spring of my freshman year when I was promoted to Rush Rush (what used to be Nike) to play under Nick Blanco. I struggled mentally to deal with the demands of the new level and it showed in my decision making off my line. I still remember Blanco pulling myself and the other keeper, Nick, aside after I was indecisive on two goals versus a Chivas side that we should have beaten, and essentially telling us that it is better to lose a game on a decisive and aggressive play than on an indecisive one. Thus he began to push me to extend my range further, including having me play more like a sweeper keeper. About halfway through that season I broke my thumb while shooting with my brother, transitioning my focus from getting games under my belt to my fitness; by the time that summer came, I had lost 20 pounds and I would lose 5 more over the summer.

My next season (still coached by Blanco) with Rush was a rather disappointing one, with an early exit from State Cup and an unfortunate loss in league. My favorite memory from that season was winning against Real in league (although it wasn’t their top team). We played them in pouring rain at Heritage Park and deservedly won the match. The following spring, Blanco invited me to come train with the U16 DA team. I struggled to distribute well out of the back as the DA team pressed and played their keeper more than I was used to, which made my adjustment difficult mentally. After 2-3 weeks of training with them, one of their keepers quit and Blanco promoted me to full time (he actually promoted me, albeit unknowingly, on my birthday) and three days later we played Solar Chelsea in Dallas. I did not play well at all in my debut; we lost 3-2 despite having a 2-0 first half lead. This trend of poor performances continued as the season progressed until our loss against Real in which I played my best game of the year. Over the summer (before my senior year) I reset mentally, began training with the Rush Men’s team, and went to a couple college ID camps. When fall came, I ended up making our U19 DA team and I was fortunate enough to start playing games with the Rush Men’s team in addition to my DA team.

The most influential part of my college recruitment were the camps that I went to at my top schools. I started off (during the summer before my junior year) going to camps at my top two schools, Stanford and Notre Dame. Going to these camps gave me a much better idea of what I was looking for in my schools and immediately eliminated Stanford as a potential option. I loved Notre Dame and returned the next summer, in addition to maintaining contact with them via email (I tried to go to a camp at Loyola Marymount University as well, but they were in the middle of a stadium renovation). I was fortunate enough to make the final pool of keepers that Notre Dame was choosing from, but they did not end up offering me a position. Through them I was introduced to Davidson College, which became one of my top choices along with LMU, SMU, and the University of Portland. This started a large emailing campaign which continued through the fall (sending film, game, times, and academic information). The week before showcase I went to a camp at Davidson and they offered me a position after the showcase ended. LMU also saw me play at the showcase and I went to a camp there the next weekend. They offered me a position the Wednesday following their camp and I accepted the spot.”

Cooper Erickson

Colorado Rush Class of 2018

Loyola Marymount signee

Colorado Rush wishes Cooper and all the 2018 signees all the best as they embark on their collegiate careers in a few months!

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