carolina rapids



About the Carolina Rapids ID Sessions: 

Carolina Rapids ID Sessions are single-day player identification opportunities for players with high potential to train and play under the direction of Carolina Rapids Development Academy (DA & ECNL) coaching staff. These sessions are a designed to identify players with the talent to compete at the highest level of play for a youth soccer player.  

Only players and coaches are welcome on the training field. Parents are to remain in the parking lot after check-in. Our objective is to create an environment where players take responsibility for their own development. These ID Sessions are the pathway to the ECNL, Development Academy (DA) and potentially the Youth National Team. 

ECNL Birth Years for the 2019-2020 season: 2001+2007 (Youth U13-U19)
DA Birth Years for the 2019-2020 season: 2001-2011 (Youth U11-U19)

Come to as many of the sessions as you are able.  One registration applies for all sessions that you attend.

Remaining Sessions:
March 3 (2005-2010 birth years) CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
March 10  (2004-2010 birth years) Bailey Road  6:00-7:30pm
April 7 (2003-2010 birth years) Bailey Road  6:00-7:30pm
April 29  (2001-2010 birth years) Bailey Road  6:00-7:30pm
May 5 (2001-2010 birth years) Bailey Road  6:00-7:30pm

How to Register:
Log in to your Blue Sombrero account
Click the button next to your player's name and select 2019-2020 Competitive Program (for the location you would most desire to play if not in the DA. The DA and ECNL programs are open to players from all locations).
Click through all screens including the payment screen.  There is a $35 charge associated with this program and a t-shirt is included in the price.


Acceptance into the program will be communicated no later than May 10th, 2019 (2010-2001 Birth Years ONLY).  

ID Session Instructions: 

  • Timeline: Arrive 15 minutes prior to start time 
  • Hydration: Please bring adequate hydration for the session 
  • What to wear: Players will receive a t-shirt at check-in


Carolina Rapids Align with Newly Formed Carolina Development League

With the Development Academy path starting at U13, CDL is poised to track, prepare select players between 9 to 11 years old

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In its continued efforts to make player development a top priority, Carolina Rapids Soccer Club announced that it is one of six North Carolina clubs to align with the newly formed Carolina Development League (CDL), which is poised to advance the state’s 9-, 10- and 11-year-old player with consistent training, matches and events.

The new league – which will be exclusive to current DA Clubs in NC – will align player development with the expectations of the U12 Development Academy Program and better prepare them for the higher level of play.

“We created a league for the U11 Pre-DA player last year and this is just an expansion to include the 12s for next year,” explained Kevin Flanagan, Rapids Development Academy Director. “It is most important for our members to know that the standards and the level — from both a coaching and a player standpoint — won’t drop.”  

Aimed to better connect individual player pathways for young players from Zone 1 to Zone 2, the CDL will be instrumental in integrating players into each DA club at early ages.

“In essence, the DA pathway starts at U13, not U12 — and our current 12s will move up to U13 next year,” continued Flanagan. “What we've created is a league within North Carolina — to play local — adhering to standards that were created by U.S. Soccer.”

Added Flanagan: “The main thing to understand is that U.S. Soccer is pulling its 12s from under their umbrella from a development standpoint and putting that onus and responsibility on the local clubs, but the game development format is not going to change and philosophy around those age groups are not going to change. This is just a matter of the [USDA] saying, ‘Let’s impact change locally now that we’ve set the template, and you guys oversee it from here.’ ”

Staff and Timeline

Coaching Staff for the 2018-2019 Season
Director, Kevin Flanagan
Director, Craig Conger

TeamHead CoachesAssistant Coaches
11 PDA Vinnie Dos SantosTy Haddock
12sVinnie Dos SantosTy Haddock
13sJeff Bilyk 
14sJeff Bilyk 
15sKevin Flanagan 
16/17sKyle Gookins  
18/19sKyle Gookins  

Goal Keeper Staff
Scott Schweitzer

2018-2019 Season Timeline

PreparationAugPre-Season (3 weeks)
Fall Competitive Period
Sep-Nov14 weeks
TransitionDecBreak (Futsal)
Futsal Period (U12-U13)Jan-FebFutsal Period
Spring Competitive PeriodJan-June
(U12/13 Feb-Jun)
25 weeks

Training and Matches

The specific training schedule for the 2018-2019 season is TBA

Age GroupWeekly Training Sessions# of Matches
11s 329
13s3 + 127

College Information Webinar

Did you miss the college info webinar? You can still get the great information - watch the recording here!

US Soccer Development Academy News

Jeff Bilyk’s squad first in five years to earn coveted spot for club
By M. Wayne Clarke

Jeff Bilyk had a sense about his U16/U17 team – this ragtag bunch of players born in 2001 and 2002 – that the future could be bright. Having seen the game from just about every level, the former workhorse midfielder at Clemson who was selected in the 1999 Major League Soccer College Draft felt the burn of the spotlight well before the season started.

“I knew we had a good group,” admitted Bilyk, a Clemson Tiger from ’95 to ’99 who made his MLS debut with the Miami Fusion. “From Day 1, I knew we could go far. We spoke a lot about it … that a [playoff] spot was our goal, right off the bat.”

Bilyk and the team would get a quick reality check – in the first game of the season – in the form of a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Atlanta United FC. The game, played on the Rapids home turf at Bailey Road Park in Cornelius, went south early.

So much for the coach’s strong sense of optimism.

“Obviously the first challenge was a tough one,” explained Bilyk, who made his return to the Rapids after a previous coaching stint from 2007 to 2012. “The expectations were pretty high and this group immediately had thoughts of, ‘Maybe we're not as good as we thought we were.’ ”

Bilyk, an assistant coach at Appalachian State prior to returning to the Rapids, would soon learn that this might be his toughest coaching job yet. Through the first five games of the season, the Rapids could only muster 1 win (a 1-0 win over Concorde Fire), three losses and a tie.

The digging-out process would take time – and a few good rah-rah speeches.

“We had some ups and downs and some adversity and went toe to toe against some tough teams … but we never wavered from what we wanted to accomplish. That was the message – and we stuck to it.”

The Rapids managed to finish the season at 18-12-5, hitting its stride – going 8-1-1 in its last 10 games of the season – when most teams seemed to lose steam, and secured the playoff spot, just like Bilyk drew it up.

“For them to accomplish that was awesome,” said Bilyk of his team which heads to the Summer Showcase and Playoffs at SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, Calif. June 18-30.

While teams like Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls boasted 20-plus-goalscorers, the Rapids were far from an offensive juggernaut – or a one-man show. Though they finished seventh on their 14-team table in the Southeast U16/U17 East Division, the Rapids won in a variety of ways – amassing a total of 55 goals while conceding 52, tied for the fourth lowest number of goals allowed in their group.

Their success was, without question, a group effort. Of their goals 55 scored, defenders accounted for 13, midfielders 12 and forwards added 30.

It isn’t lost on the coach that this achievement is one for the Rapids record books. “I think it’s our second team ever [to secure a playoff spot],” said Bilyk, whose team exacted revenge on Atlanta United – the top team in their group – 3-2 on their home turf on April 29. “I know there was a U18 Rapids team [in 2014] that won their division and went to the playoffs. But that was without an Orlando City DA and I don’t think there were Midwest teams. But you’re only as good as your group, and the group accomplished all this.”

For Kevin Flanagan, the Rapids Academy Director, this success was far from overnight; it was a process.

“From a group standpoint, this is a group of players we’ve been developing for four years now,” said Flanagan, the Rapids Academy director since 2014. “A lot of them came into the club as 12s and 13s and some even longer. It’s a good mix of players who believe in the process. They’ve worked incredible hard, and we’re now at the stage where they’re performing at a high level. As a director of the program, I couldn’t be happier. Really proud of what they’ve achieved. We believe they can achieve more in the playoffs.

“As for Jeff, he’s done well – he got all the pieces in the right places, and he got results by rotating the squad. Thanks to our depth, we were able to do that with success.”

Cordova to travel with Colorado to Houston

Steven Cordova (U15 Carolina Rapids DA) will join the Colorado Rapids 2003 squad for the 2nd round of the Generation Adidas Cup from Feb 15-19 in Houston, Texas.

The Generation adidas Cup takes place over three rounds, with two sets of regional qualifiers leading up to the final event in April 2018 in Frisco, Texas. At the end of the two rounds of qualifying, the top two teams in each region will advance to the Championship Division at the GA Cup proper, with the rest slotting in the Premier Division. All teams will face international Academy Clubs out in Texas.

Visit to Jamaica included training sessions with national team for Max Wright

U17 DA forward also represented Rapids as Passback Ambassador, donating gear to local high school

When Max Wright stepped onto the training ground pitch at the University of the West Indies in Kingston in June, he looked the part of the new kid trying to find his place among a pool of 40 national team hopefuls, all yearning to solidify a spot with the country’s U15 National Team.

“The session with the U15s was a very different experience and was difficult to adjust to at first,” admits Max, who was visiting his grandparents and got a chance to train with the team. “My biggest takeaway was the step up in level for all players,” Max continued. “The level of play was a big increase, in terms of individual technical ability, for very player on the field. The style of play all circulated around speed, and individual technicality. Everyone runs at full speed with no hesitation.”

A rising junior who will play for Coach Jeff Bilyk’s U17 Development Academy team, Max was grateful to play in a country in which he has strong roots; his grandparents live the parish of St. Elizabeth, and his father was raised in Jamaica until he was 12.

Said Rapids Academy Director Kevin Flanagan: “It’s great to see a player training at this level outside of his environment. Max’s ability to play and train at a high level allowed him this great opportunity to work with the youth national team in a country where his has strong roots.”

While on his visit, Max also served as a Rapids Passback Ambassador, donating new and gently used soccer equipment donated by Rapids families to a local high school.

“I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are for this donation,” said Bobby Laing, the energetic and gracious coach of St. Jago High School's U17 soccer team, the recipient school. “No donation is too small, and we are happy to have forged this link with the Carolina Rapids.”

As for his on-field performance, Max felt he held his own, and the coach who watched him, agrees: “He responded well – especially for a first time training with other kids and being out of his comfort zone,” said U15 National coach Aaron Lawrence, a former goalkeeper who played on the 1998 “Reggae Boyz” team that qualified for the FIFA World Cup in France. “He showed himself well; it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t be in the squad with us. He definitely performed to standard.”

Asked if he’d answer the call to one day represent Jamaica, Max is wide open.

“Of course I’d consider it,” he said. “You get to play at the highest level against players from all over the world.” 

GABE ROSARIO United States National Team Call-up with the Under-18’s

Big news for Gabe Rosario, our former Development Academy player, on his United States National Team Call-up with the Under-18’s. Gabe and the squad will be competing in the Under-18’s Mens National Tournament in Lisbon, Portugal.

(April 12-15, 2017)

Wesley Atoyebi (USDA U12) selected by us youth futsal to represent our country with the national team!
RYAN FINE NAMED IN 2015 NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region

join us in welcoming wes knight and kyle gookins to our academy staff!
Read more

Matthew  jegier named CAA rookie of the week!  Read more

Phillip goodrum had a busy summer! Read More
rapids alum, matt pacifici training with the colorado rapids in may

Congratulations to Carolina Rapids Alumni and current Davidson Wildcat Goalkeeper, Matt Pacifici.  Matt will train with your very own Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids for a week this month.  What a fantastic achievement to Matt and very deserved.

An excellent Goalkeeper in our US Development Academy program, Matt has continued to excel and develop his game to the next level.

His bio lists - 2014-2015 Academic All-American, 2014-2015 All Region Team, 2014-2015 All Conference A10 (second team), 2014-2015 All Region Academic Team, Broke Davidson Record for Goals Against Average, Top in the Conference in Goals Against Average and Save Percentage, Fewest Losses in the Country (beat #2 Virginia, Duke), ESPN All-American and Academic All-American in high-school, Academy Select Player, Region III ODP Team and Broke National Record for Consecutive Shutouts (16)