adidas marathon 10 BH Rapids players use summer to travel and improve game
Williams, along with Jersi Dadah, Dawson Fairchild and Trey Bradley all got to experience soccer at a high level as part of the Galway Cup and the Olympic Development Program while other kids their age were enjoying a vacation away from school.
“It was nice because I wasn’t sitting around all summer, I had stuff to do,” Rapid City Stevens freshman Dadah said of her experience with ODP. “I was ready once I got back.”
Dadah’s travels took her to Michigan and then to St. Louis for a tournament, but some of the traveling done by members of the Rapids was a bit more extreme.
The Galway Cup is a tournament held in Ireland every year and features teams from around the world. Williams, who had never left the United States before, was the only player from South Dakota to be picked to go to Denver to train with the Rapids U14 team that competed in the elite division.
The Black Hills Rapids are part of the Adidas Alliance with the MLS club in Colorado, which means that the coaches are committed to the same kind of coaching in Rapid City as they are in Denver.
It also means that a coach from Colorado came to scout players to go to Ireland and be part of the Galway Cup team, the coaches in Rapid City told the scouts to keep an eye on Williams, which is exactly what they did.
From there Williams was asked to go to a try out camp in Denver, after he was asked to join the team, it was off to Ireland.
“I was excited, I felt really good,” he said of hearing that he would be on the Galway Cup team. “I felt like this is a chance for me to go pro, and that’s my goal, to go pro. I just have to build off of that and take every chance I can get.”
The tournament was split into two divisions, the elite and the club divisions. The Rapids played in the elite division, the higher of the two. It was the only American team in the tournament, and won the championship in a shootout.
Even though the accents were hard to understand at first,
Williams said it was the experience of a lifetime made even better by the result of the tournament. who participated in Region II.
The program is split up into four regions, with North and South Dakota falling into region II.
The first step is to be picked for a state team. North and South Dakota have one state team that competes in region II, which goes from the Dakotas east to Ohio, north to the Canadian border and south to Kentucky, including down into Nebraska.
To be picked for the regional team is the next level. It’s the group from all of the states in the region to compete against the other three regions in tournaments. Last year Bradley and Fairchild got picked to be on regional teams, this year it was Dadah and Fairchild. soccer way of qualifying who the best players in entire regions of the country are, and there have been three in the last two years in Rapid City.
“It’s a phenomenal experience because everyone there is at the next level and way different than when we play here, so it’s a lot more fun,” Farichild, who is a junior goaltender at Rapid City Central, said. “It really makes you think of what you actually want to do. At that level it gets you thinking about who’s playing where you have.”
The experience leading up to the regional team is valuable too, according to Bradley. Although he didn’t make the team this year, the eighth grader who plays junior varsity for Rapid City Stevens was a member of the team last season.
“The biggest benefit is that you get to travel and you get used to working with different people you don’t know,” he said. “If you want to play in college or professionally you have to get used to that because a lot of times you’re going to be working with players you don’t know.”
That started in the state camp for Dadah, who traveled to Michigan to try out for the regional team after making the state team.
“It was a lot different because you don’t have the same connection there as you do with people here,” the Stevens defender said. “You had to make those connections by hanging out with different people in practice.”
It was a summer where players from the Rapids got to see what was outside of the Black Hills, and got to potentially see where their future could be going.
“Playing with and against the guys at that level is probably my favorite experience,” Fairchild said. “You just tell yourself, keep working, keep going and you’ll go further. It’s a great experience to be a part of.”