Written by: Eric Fulton
Top/Bottom Pictures by: Corbin Elliott Photography
We are reloaded and ready for 2015! 2014 was challenging. Not bad, because there was far too much fun had and far too many success stories accomplished for that (Competing in Nationals, Masters winning Spring and Fall league championships, and the creation of the new O30 Legends squad), but challenging nonetheless. It was a year of learning and transition, which led us to make the difficult decision to not participate in this past 2014-15 PASL Semi-Pro indoor season. It was a tough decision as we love offering our players top competitive opportunities and because playing in the PASL has been influential in building our brand by exposing it to more people. We really enjoyed our first two years of Semi-Pro indoor ball, but we were already stretched and worn from the year and needed the down time, so the decision mostly made itself. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Now, in retrospect, it was absolutely necessary for our players and leadership to take time away from the constant competition to regain the hunger to excel and to get back to doing the little things that got us to the top in the first place. We had gone 2+ years full-steam ahead with year around Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter Indoor, and while we love the game as much or more than anyone, we needed a downtime to regroup and reload. And the results of this choice have been extraordinary.
We had time to hold off-season drop-ins (which we would have never had time or interest in doing if we were playing indoor). These drop-ins allowed us to just have fun playing while having the ability to invite and evaluate a whole swath of new players during the off-season (which previously, we would have attempted to jam into one or two days of crowded tryouts). This also allowed our returning players to get out and play at their leisure during the off-season which is a nice break from the consistent structure we (rightly) need most of the year. And we got back on the recruiting trail in a big way. Using all available avenues to locate strong local players, instead of just relying on them to reach out to us as we have in the past. This has all paid huge dividends.
How so? We’ve had one of the two best off-season recruiting classes we have ever had. That’s simply remarkable. We actually had so many new talented players that we formed a new FC Denver Men’s Open Team called FC Denver Select (which is the rebirth of a previous FCD team name). In addition to the new squad, our Premier and United squads are busting at the seams with quality. It’s set to be an exciting season and year ahead. While there’s always excitement surrounding an upcoming season, this season just feels different with the returners being rested and focused and the new players energetic and eager to perform. We’ve got ample work ahead to achieve our goals for this year, our 10th year, and we are reloaded and ready to do just that.