Palma just misses spot on developmental squad in Colorado’s MLS system

Central High School’s Stevie Palma, No. 6, steps around Raffie Coté of Grand Junction High School as Coté fights to regain his footing without losing the ball after a tumble during a 2008 game at Walker Field.



By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
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Stevie Palma doesn’t just hope his dreams come true, he pursues them.

The Grand Junction 17-year-old dreams of playing professional soccer one day and has searched for the opportunities.

“I’ve been wanting to take every step I can to get to the next level to play on a professional team,” Palma said. “One day I hope I can play in Europe.”

He recently participated in a tryout for Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids Development Academy under-18 team.

The Rapids selected one player from the tryout to play on the Development Academy team, but it wasn’t Palma, who made it to the final day of tryouts before being dismissed.

“They were saying they were keeping a lot of their players from last year,” Palma said.

“They’re saying if you’re going to be on this team, you’ve got to be fully committed.”

For the majority of the players, college soccer will be the pinnacle of their careers, but a select few will play beyond that level, according to a Colorado Rapids release. Players who complete a year in the program may sign a contract with the MLS team.

“You have to be at every training session, three times a week,” said Palma of the Academy team. “It would be really tough.”

Although Palma didn’t make the cut, he is excited to take the experience and continue to enhance his skills.

“I feel like it helped me lot,” he said. “It was a good experience for me to get a different look how an academy team would be run.”

Palma will be a senior at Central High School this fall.

“I’m stoked about (the high school season),” he said. “If we can win the league and the playoffs it would be big for our program.”

He hopes to earn a soccer scholarship to the University of Denver.


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