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ThunderRidge junior signs contract with Rapids

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Sebastian Anderson is 16 years old and missing out on some of the fun activities that other high school students are doing since he opted to join the adult world.

But he is living a dream.

Anderson on April 3 became the youngest player in club history to sign a contract with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer and now needs to follow the commitments that go along with being a professional athlete.

“It is definitely the life I chose,” said Anderson, a junior at ThunderRidge High School.

“I have three periods at ThunderRidge and then I have three classes online,” he added. “It’s kind of tough sometimes but we sat down with the teachers and they knew I was going to leave a little bit early sometimes and show up late sometimes. They have been super helpful.

“I come in on the off day on Wednesday and stay in school as much as I can and make up as much time as I can with the teachers. The grades aren’t as good as if I was in school full time but everyone is helpful. A lot of people talk to me about it (the contract) at school. I just say thank you.”

Anderson, a defender who played for Real Colorado before switching to the Rapids’ Development Academy two years ago, agreed to a Homegrown contract. It is a five-year contract with an option for 2024. He is the 11th player to sign a Homegrown contract with the Rapids.

The Homegrown Player Rule allows MLS soccer teams to sign local players from their own development academies directly to MLS first team rosters. According to Top Drawer Soccer, the MLS pays out around $9 million in lump Homegrown salaries per year, and at last count there were 126 players in the league that have Homegrown pacts.

“Obviously I was beyond excited to sign the contract and make it official,” said Anderson. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I went to the Rapids with the thought in mind to become a professional soccer player to sign a professional contract and move on to that second part of my life. That’s what I did.”

Littleton’s Cole Bassett was 17 years old when he signed a Homegrown contract with the Rapids last summer.

“A year ago I saw all these guys, especially Cole Bassett, started training with the first team, and he was doing so well and moved up to the first team full time,” said Anderson. “Cole and I are good buddies and I thought I’m not too far off from that, and if I work hard I will get the opportunity, and sure enough it came.”

Now Anderson is working to get into his first MLS contest after being a substitute for two matches.

“That’s obviously the next goal for me with the Rapids right now,” said Anderson. “I made the A team the last two trips and was eligible to play and that was a big step for me. For me it’s focusing on training and proving to the coach that I am ready to play. When the time comes to get into a game, I have to be ready for it.”

Big mountain snowboarding

Freeriding is something new and forced me to do some research.

Well, freeriding is a type of snowboarding or skiing that uses natural, un-groomed slopes without a pre-determined course, goals or rules.

Snowboarders sometimes refer to freeriding as backcountry, sidecountry, big mountain or extreme riding.

Lucas Lemire, a 14-year-old student at Castle Rock Middle School, is a competitive big mountain snowboarder on Team Summit Colorado. He recently placed third in the 12-14 age group at the IFSA Big Mountain North American Championships, held at Kicking Horse in British Columbia on Aril 12.

According to the Summit Daily E-Edition, Lemire executed a few nice turns before hitting a four-foot drop into another chute. He then carved and connected fluid turns before hitting another drop near the judges and came to a stop with a textbook turn.

Lemire told the newspaper that he is “trying to set a goal for myself to get at least one podium next year. And that’s going to be hard.”

Jim Benton

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