Not only was the signing of local goalkeeping product Adam Beaudry a big moment for the Colorado Rapids and the Beaudry family, but it was also a pivotal inflection point in the overall soccer player development pathway that may have impact for years to come.
Beaudry was among the first players that triggered a Major League Soccer initiative in partnership with MLS NEXT, the entity that governs MLS Academies. The Development Grant program recognizes the contributions to the professional player pathway through investment in the greater youth development ecosystem.
Local youth side Real Colorado became one of eight MLS NEXT Elite Academies to benefit from the launch of the program after Beaudry inked his first professional deal on January 10, 2024.
“Adam joined us from Real Colorado at the beginning of 2022 as a part of a long-standing relationship between the two clubs. We worked closely with the Real Colorado staff to bring Adam to the academy on a timeline that best supported his development and his goal to play at the professional level. We’re thrilled to see Real Colorado’s role in Adam’s development recognized by MLS NEXT. We look forward to the ongoing collaboration and work with the local clubs as we seek to identify and develop up-and-coming talent and Colorado’s next Homegrown player,” said Chris Cartlidge, Rapids Academy Technical Director.
Per the league, a player must complete the full professional player pathway from MLS NEXT Elite Academy (non-MLS academies) to MLS academy to an eventual first-team contract in order to qualify for a grant through the program. The program has already compensated more than $100,000 to the eight U.S.-based MLS NEXT Elite Academies for producing 10 Homegrown talents. The program also provides the potential to distribute additional compensation when a player appears in a certain number of MLS matches or produces an international transfer fee.
Beaudry competed with Real Colorado from age nine to 15 before transferring to the Rapids Academy to compete with the U-17s. Shortly after joining the club, Beaudry became a staple of MLS NEXT Pro side Colorado Rapids 2, making his professional debut with the second team on April 30, 2023. Beaudry’s Homegrown signing marked the first time a player has completed the full pathway from Rapids Academy to Rapids 2 to the club’s MLS side, highlighting the significance of the Rapids’ internal player…