Colorado Rapids U23's

Colorado Rapids U23's
Colorado Rapids U23's
Full name Colorado Rapids U23's
Nickname(s) Rapids
Founded 2000
Dissolved 2008
Stadium Pleasant View Field
(Capacity: 5,000)
Chairman Argentina Rodrigo García
Manager United States Peter Ambrose
League USL Premier Development League
2008 2nd, Heartland Division
Playoff Divisional Round
Home colors
Away colors
Original Boulder Nova logo

Colorado Rapids U23's was an American soccer team based in Boulder, Colorado, United States. Founded in 2000 as part of the development system for the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer franchise, the team played in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, until 2008, when the franchise folded and the team left the league.

The team played its home games at Pleasant View Field. The team's colors were claret, baby blue and white.



Boulder Nova entered the PDL as an expansion franchise in 2000, and finished third in their debut season with an 8-9-1 record, albeit 15 points behind Rocky Mountain Division champions Colorado Comets. Nova improved their record to 11-8-0 in 2001, but still just failed to make the post-season playoffs, finishing as runners-up behind the Denver Cougars in the Rocky Mountain Division.

Nova changed their name to the Boulder Rapids Reserve in 2002, and moved to the Heartland Division of the Central Conference, and the change of scenery proved to be a positive one for the Colorado team. They still failed to win their division, finishing second Des Moines Menace with an 11-3-4 record, but qualified for the post-season for the first time in their history. Their first ever playoff game was against Great Lakes champions Chicago Fire Reserves, who they overcame 2-1; the Conference final saw them pitted against the Mid-Michigan Bucks, who had surprisingly beaten #1 seed Des Moines in their semi final. A tight game ended 0-0, but Boulder won the resulting penalty shoot-out 7-6 to take the conference title at the first attempt. Their opponents in the national semi final were Western Conference champions Southern California Seahorses, and again Boulder again emerged victorious, winning a close game 2-1. The 2002 PDL Championship game saw Boulder taking on Eastern Conference champions Cape Cod Crusaders, where they unfortunately fell 2-1 in yet another close game.

2003 was a disappointing one for Boulder; as reigning conference champions they were expected to challenge again for post-season honors, but their 2-0 opening day defeat to Kansas City Brass set the tone for the rest of the campaign. The season highlights included a 3-0 road victory over Wisconsin Rebels in late May, and a pair of 3-goal home victories over BYU Cougars, but results were never forthcoming, and they failed to make the playoffs, finishing fourth in the Heartland Division with a 10-7-1 record, fifteen points behind divisional champions Chicago Fire Reserves.

The 2004 season was an excellent one for the Rapids, who bounced back superbly from their disappointing 2003 campaign. Despite losing their opening game of the season 4-3 to their state rivals, Colorado Springs Blizzard, they subsequently went on to enjoy a 10-game unbeaten run that included a 6-3 thumping of Sioux Falls Spitfire that included a hat trick from Kyle Brown, a 6-0 demolition of St. Louis Strikers, a 4-1 revenge victory over Colorado Springs, and an astonishing 5-5 tie with Kansas City Brass in which three goals were scored in injury time and Kyle Brown scored another hat trick. Boulder's superb early-season form also saw them qualify for their first US Open Cup; they won their opening round matchup against Chico Rooks 2-1, and then unexpectedly knocked off USL Pro Soccer League side San Diego Gauchos 5-4 on penalties to make the third round proper. Unfortunately, Boulder's fairytale run - and their chance to take on Los Angeles Galaxy in the fourth round - was ended by the Minnesota Thunder, who scored a 116th minute golden goal to win the tie 2-1. Back in leaguen play, a couple of sloppy losses to El Paso Patriots and Des Moines Menace tarnished the Rapids' run-in to the playoffs, but the team still finished second in the Heartland Division, albeit 12 points back from divisional champions Chicago Fire Premier. Boulder took on Great Lakes champions Michigan Bucks in the first game of the Central Conference playoffs in Fort Wayne, Indiana and came away with a 3-2 victory, with the winning goals scored by Javier Vegas from the penalty spot; they faced hot favorites Chicago Fire Premier in the Conference final, and stunned the #1 seeds with a 1-0 victory, with John Pulido scoring a 98th minute golden goal past future USMNT keeper Brad Guzan to give the Rapids their second Conference title. Boulder hosted Western conference champions Fresno Fuego in the national semi finals, and came away with a comprehensive 3-0 victory. The 2004 PDL Championship game saw Boulder taking on Southern Conference champions Central Florida Kraze, where they unfortunately fell 1-0 in a close game, but finishing as national runners up for the second time was still a worthy achievement for the Colorado team.

Old Boulder Rapids Reserve logo 2002-2006

Boulder were quickly becoming a regional powerhouse, and they capitalized on their new found status with their first divisional title in 2005. The Rapids were immense all season long, losing just two of their sixteen regular season games. After a reasonable opening - 2 wins a and a tie in their first four games - Boulder suddenly found their scoring boots in mid-June with a 5-0 hammering of Springfield Storm, and from that point on were virtually unstoppable. They put another 5 past Springfield in their very next game, beat Colorado Springs Blizzard 5-1 on the road, and were scoring at will throughout July: 4-1 over BYU Cougars, 5-4 over Kansas City Brass, 6-1 in the return game over Colorado Springs Blizzard, and 4-0 over Sioux Falls Spitfire on the final day of the regular season. A long run into the playoffs seemed inevitable but, surprisingly, they were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Michigan Bucks first time out. Despite this setback, the men from Boulder still had plenty to celebrate: the three-pronged attack consisting of David Bulow, Robbie Findley and Ryan Johnson scored 31 of the team's 53 goals between them, and the Rapids were ranked #3 in the country at the end of the regular season.

The Rapids defended their Heartland Division title in dominant style in 2006, finishing the regular season ten points clear of their closest rivals, Des Moines Menace. After a 2-0 opening day win over Sioux Falls Spitfire and an unexpected 2-0 loss on the road in Des Moines, Boulder rattled off a 9-game winning streak which stretched from late May until early July. They enjoyed three consecutive 3-1 victories over Sioux Falls, Colorado Springs Blizzard, and Colorado Springs again, with English striker John Cunliffe netting four goals in the stretch. They came out on top in a see-saw 4-3 win at home to Des Moines, and then put 5 past the Menace on the first day of July, with Cunliffe again hitting the net, this time with a hat trick. The 1-0 defeat on the road ro the St. Louis Lions was the only blip on the run-in to the playoffs; they had already booked their berth in the post-season when they hammered Colorado Springs Blizzard 6-1 and 2-1 on the final two days of the season, completing a quadruple over their state rivals. For the second year, Boulder were one of the favoites to progress in the playoffs but, yet again, they fell at the first hurdle, being comprehensively beaten 4-0 by Michigan Bucks for the second year in a row. John Cunliffe was by far the Rapids' - and the league's - leading scorer, netting 18 goals and 5 assists in total.

Having been an unofficial affiliate of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer franchise for several years, the relationship between the two clubs was formalized in the 2006-07 offseason, resulting in a name change to Colorado Rapids U23's.

However, after years of Heartland dominance, the new Rapids suffered a disappointing 2007 campaign. The year opened with an unexpected 3-1 defeat to expansion franchise Springfield Demize, and went from bad to worse, with a loss (to St. Louis Lions) and a tie in their next three games. The Rapids began to pick up the pace in June, rattling off a trio of four-goal victories over Sioux Falls Spitfire (in which Leandro Pereira scored a hat trick) and non-divisional rivals Spokane Spiders (twice), but the team continued to struggle against more seasoned opposition, losing 3-1 at Des Moines Menace, and twice in two days to Kansas City Brass. An overwhelming 7-1 hammering of Kansas in mid-July briefly gave the Rapids hope that a playoff spot may be possible, but three ties in their final three games, including a disappointing 0-0 against BYU Cougars on the last day of the season sent the Rapids home empty-handed. They eventually finished the year in fifth place, eight points behind divisional champions Thunder Bay Chill, and out of the playoffs for the first time in three years. Leandro Pereira and J.T. Howlan were the Rapids' top scorers, with 6 and 5 goals respectively, while Chad Burt contributed 6 assists.

2008 saw a marked return to form for the Rapids, who again found themselves challenging for playoff spots, and were competitive all season. Disregarding the stuttering to a 1-0 defeat away at St. Louis Lions in their second game, the Rapids started the season well, with three wins and a tie in their first six games. A 6-0 demolition of Springfield Demize in which Samuel Charles scored a hat trick was the goalscoring highlight of the year, while a pair of hard fought wins - 3-2 over Des Moines Menace and 5-4 over the St. Louis Lions - kept them at the business end of the table in July. However, their run-in was nail-biting, as the Rapids slumped to two ties and a loss in their final three games, including a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Kansas City Brass on the last day of the regular season. However, the year ended with them finishing in second place, thirteen points behind Thunder Bay, but crucially one point ahead of Des Moines, and the Rapids found themselves in the playoffs. Unfortunately, they found themselves drawn against the unstoppable Thunder Bay in the Central Conference Divisional Round and went home early, losing 3-1 in a game in which they had two players sent off. Samuel Charles was the Rapids' top scorer, with 10 goals on the season, while Zach Prince contributed 5 assists. Following the conclusion of the 2008 season the club folded, and left the PDL.


Final squad

vs. Thunder Bay Chill, 22 July 2008 [1] Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 United States GK Sean Moloney
2 United States DF Tyler Ruthven
3 United States MF Jacob Schmoker
4 United States MF Daniel Tresslar
5 United States MF James Nummy
6 United States MF Brad Stisser
8 Japan DF Masaki Hemmi
9 United States FW J.T. Howlan
No. Position Player
12 United States DF Michael Lind
14 United States MF Collen Warner
15 United States MF Zach Prince
16 United States DF Brandon Tucker
17 United States DF Nicholas Cardenas
18 United States MF Sterling Copeland
20 United States FW Miguel Valles
22 England FW Samuel Charles

Notable former players


Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup
2000 4 USL PDL 3rd, Rocky Mountain Did not qualify Did not qualify
2001 4 USL PDL 2nd, Rocky Mountain Conference Finals Did not qualify
2002 4 USL PDL 2nd, Heartland National Final Did not qualify
2003 4 USL PDL 4th, Heartland Did not qualify Did not qualify
2004 4 USL PDL 2nd, Heartland National Final 3rd Round
2005 4 USL PDL 1st, Heartland Conference Semifinals Did not qualify
2006 4 USL PDL 1st, Heartland Conference Semifinals Did not qualify
2007 4 USL PDL 5th, Heartland Did not qualify Did not qualify
2008 4 USL PDL 2nd, Heartland Divisional Round Did not qualify


  • USL PDL Heartland Division Champions 2006
  • USL PDL Heartland Division Champions 2005
  • USL PDL Central Conference Champions 2004
  • USL PDL Central Conference Champions 2002


  • United States Peter Ambrose (2004-2008)


Rapids' current stadium, Pleasant View Field

Average Attendance

  • 2008: 206
  • 2007: 242
  • 2006: 603
  • 2005: 667 (9th highest in PDL)


External links

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