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Colorado Rush Soccer Club

News Detail


Nov, 2019



Next week on Tuesday, November 19th, five CO Rush Girls Development Academy (DA) players will travel to France to spend a few days training with some top female clubs in France: Dijon and Lyon. The players attending the trip are: Stephanie Gwilliam (‘03), Sydney Cheeseman (‘04), Heather Gilchrist (‘04), Peyton Nourse (‘05) and Ally Henrickson (‘03). Russell Finch, Colorado Rush’s Technical Director and ‘04 DA Coach, and Elliot Prost, Youth Boys Director and ‘03 DA Coach, will be traveling with them. 

The goal of the trip is to open avenues and pathways for these top DA players to go pro after high school, or college if preferred. The opportunity, being the first of its kind in club history, begins what Colorado Rush staff hope will be a routine opportunity in the future for its players. 

Elliot Prost, the head coach of the 2003 DA team and native of France, played with Dijon FCO Academy for five years in his playing career alongside the current head coach of the U19 Dijon women’s team as Prost and Ludovic Rossi were once teammates in their youth days. This connection made the opportunity for the CO Rush players even more accessible. 

Prost offers feedback on the players and goals of the trip: 

“We feel like these are some of our top players and we see avenues for them to get to the professional levels, whether that’s right after high school or pursuing it after a collegiate playing experience; we’ve identified them as players who we believe can make it through this pathway. They all embody the attitude, mind and mentality for this and have a strong passion and willingness to give their time to the game. 

Russell and I wanted to take 3-5 girls on this trip and those players stood out to us, among other players, but we had no conflicting opinions about who to choose because these players have eagerly express interest in being exposed professionally and competing against some of the world’s top players. We’re not just doing this as a nice favor to these girls; we really believe they have what it takes as they’ve proven to be the top players at our club and have the capability to show well in this new environment abroad.”

Russell expresses similar thoughts on the trip:

“Our main focus at Colorado Rush is extracting Passion in players, teaching them to love football (soccer) and developing pro players. Lindsey paved the way for our players to see this can be a reality at our club; she is still the only player in the U.S. to forego college and go straight to the pros.  I strongly believe that, out of these five players, two will take the same path taken by Linds.”

The girls are slated to play a lot of football over the course of their week-long trip to France. They will be training with Dijon over the first few days of the trip and end their time training with Lyon. The Dijon women’s team in France plays in Division 1 Féminine, the top league for women in France. Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon) also plays in Division 1 Féminine and has won the league 17 times. Their most recent victory was in the 2018-19 season, as well as having won the last 3 UCL.

The itinerary will look like this:

Tuesday 19th:

Fly from Denver to France

Wednesday 20th

Wake up in Paris

Morning of Sightseeing

Travel to Dijon

Meet host families

Thursday 21st - Friday 22nd:

Wake up

Train with Dijon FCO

Go to class with the girls 10a-2p

Eat lunch

Play with Dijon FCO

Saturday 23rd

Wake up

Sightseeing in Dijon 

Watch a Ligue 1 game: Dijon v Rennes

Sunday 24th: 

Wake up

Travel to Lyon

Watch a Ligue 1 game: St-Etienne vs Montpellier

Monday 25th - Wednesday 27th:

Train with Lyon Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs

Train in morning & afternoon scrimmages

Thursday 28th:

Train with Lyon Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs

Train in morning & afternoon scrimmages

Thanksgiving dinner

Friday 29th:

Travel back to Denver

All the players traveling on the trip have been exposed to the Rush Way and international travel both as clubmates and within their own personal experiences. Ally Henrickson played with Rush Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, CO for several years before joining the Girls DA at Colorado Rush. She was able to play in the Gothia Cup in Sweden with the Rush Select Program as well. Heather Gilchrist, Sydney Cheeseman and Peyton Nourse all played in Costa Rica together last year. Cheeseman also gained international experience in Australia with the U17 Youth National Team. 

All five players have been great representatives of the Rush culture with their passion for the game, skillful style of play and tenacious desire to continue their player pathway beyond the DA. 

The CO Rush DA players, representing both the 2005 (U15), 2004 (U16) and 2003 (U17) birth years will be playing up against U19 players in France. It is an opportunity that produces excitement for them, not fear. 

“I really like how Rush is like a family and their coaching has a distinct mentality… I think it’s cool that the coaches really care for you and what you’re going to do in the future, “ says Gwilliam (‘03) about her experience as a Rush player. Furthermore she expresses, “I’m really excited to meet new people [in France] and learn different ways that other people in different countries play soccer.” 

Cheeseman (‘04) shares similar thoughts about her appreciation for her time at Rush: “The competitiveness of the Rush is what compelled me to come to the club. The passion and desire to play is really evident in the players and coaches.” Feeling equipped with the right mentality, she comments on the upcoming trip with, “I think it will be a great learning experience; it will be a challenging and it’s probably going to be nerve wracking at times… but it’s going to be fun!” 

In light of this new experience coming up in France, Gilchrist (‘04) adds, “I think it will be really interesting to see the difference in culture, and you know, we won’t speak their language so it will be interesting to see how we perform outside of our comfort zone and adapt in that environment.” 

Nourse (‘05), the last of the four that were available for interview, follows suit with her excitement for the trip expressing, “When I found out I was picked to go I was really excited! I’m looking forward to seeing the difference in their style of play and training multiple times a day too!” 

A unique aspect of this trip is that the experience will go both ways. In February 2020, a few players from Dijon FCO will travel to Denver to train with the Colorado Rush DA. Prost explains, “We want to have our players travel abroad to France once or twice a year, and likewise for players from France to come to the U.S. and train with us too. At the end of the day, we are doing all we can to prepare players for the next stages of their career, while creating opportunities to help establish clear career goals.”

You can follow along with their experience at and on Instagram at @corushsoccer and @rushsoccer. 


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