This year has challenged our community, on and off the field, but, as a club, we've aimed to do everything in our power to continue fostering connections and give back during these unprecedented times. The moments that captivated us in 2020 had us feeling gratitude, inspiration, and surprise. Let's take a look back at our favorite moments in the community from this past year.
Due to COVID-19, many high school graduations around the state were canceled, so we decided to bring the graduation celebrations to the students' own backyards. RapidMan paid special visits to local seniors, bringing gifts and all the makings of a mini graduation ceremony. We were happy to bring a little bit of surprise joy to students in the face of the unexpected challenges 2020 brought them.
Announcing the 2020 Special Olympics Unified Team
This season marked the ninth consecutive year where the Colorado Rapids and Special Olympics Colorado have partnered to form a team. The unified team, which is made up of players both with and without intellectual disabilities between the ages of 16 and 25, are students from Smoky Hill High School in Aurora. Although this season looked a little different this year, the athletes were able to compete in a 'Unified We Play' competition. This featured five weeks of virtual soccer with seven MLS clubs participating alongside the Rapids: Atlanta United, Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution, NYCFC, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City. The competition was designed to provide a fun, inclusive and unique competition for MLS Unified Teams, who traditionally travel for matches inside MLS stadiums.
Teacher Appreciation Week
Andre Shinyashiki surprised six teachers with a $250 gift card to put toward classroom supplies in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Each teacher was nominated by their school principal for their hard work and dedication to their student’s education throughout the year - and especially during quarantine. We were so proud to give a little bit of gratitude to those that were coming up with new, creative ways to continue to work with and educate children across the state. Click here to read the incredible stories of these teachers, and their hard work throughout this entire year.
Special Olympics Athlete Unveils 2020 Kit
Special Olympics athlete Scotty Stephens debuted the Nine Six Kit at the FORWARD25 Jersey Celebration in New York City on February 5, 2020, which was focused on embracing and connecting the past, present and future in honor of the 25th anniversary of MLS. Each club selected a model to showcase its jersey on stage, and the Rapids were proud to have Scotty Stephens wear the new uniform for the public for the first time. Scotty, a Colorado native, is a forward on the Colorado Rapids Special Olympics Unified Team and is very active in the Special Olympics community. He is an avid Rapids supporter and also plays basketball and football for Special Olympics Colorado. His dedication to the game has been an inspiration for the club. His passion for all that he does, his focus on teamwork and his love for the state of Colorado made him the perfect ambassador to kick off our 2020 season.
Nurse Appreciation Week
Arguably one of the most memorable moments of the year was when we had the opportunity to show our appreciation for nurses around Denver. This year, more than ever, we wanted to show our gratitude for the nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the week of May 6-12, RapidMan delivered handwritten letters and flowers from Rapids staff to nurses at both Swedish Medical Center and the Medical Center of Aurora in honor of Nurses Appreciation Week.