On July 31st, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks announced that they had signed Colorado Rapids Development Academy players Darren Yapi (forward) and Vladimir Walent (defender) to USL Academy contracts.
Yapi, 15, joined the DA in 2016 as a U12 player and has scored 63 goals since. He got called up to to the U17 USMNT for the UEFA Development Tournament in February 2020 and spent time with the first team in California during the 2020 preseason. Switchbacks Head Coach Alan Koch said, “Darren is an excellent young athlete that has been training with us for the last few weeks. He improves every day and is looking more and more comfortable in the professional environment. It is not every day that a 15-year-old is able to make a seamless transition into our training and we look forward to seeing his attacking skills on display soon.”
Walent, 17, joined the Rapids’ DA as a U15 in 2017 as a defender and midfielder. Koch called Walent a “versatile player” who can “has grown in our training environment over the last few weeks. He is quick, can run all day, and very skilled. He is willing to learn and pushes himself and his teammates every day in training. I look forward to seeing how he does in match-like situations in the near future.”
They will join the four other Rapids DA players that the Switchbacks signed in April 2020: Alejandro Padilla, Logan Dorsey, Donovan Roux, and Andrew Cordes.