Real Colorado uses a free-flowing system on the pitch– supporting the players’ needs through their athletic journey.

Club soccer teams across the country build an identity through tactics and formations from a young age, implementing these systems throughout all ranks of the club. These systems undoubtedly benefit the club, creating consistency for players as they progress through the ranks. 

But what if these systems are actually restrictive to growth? To trust? To winning?

Real Colorado has set the blueprint for both club success and for giving players the platform for individual growth. The club is one of the standard-bearers for youth soccer in the United States, constantly being at the top of the Elite Club National League (ECNL). In 2022, the Real U17 women's team conquered the ECNL, winning the championship with a complete squad effort, hurdling over adversity to the top. 

Playing in such a competitive league, Real has been at the forefront of allowing players to play instinctively and freely—opening the door for creativity to flow throughout the team while getting the results. Executive Director of Coaching and club president Lorne Donaldson describes the system simply: “We train to play. We play to win,” he said. 

The development of players is the most important aspect of the club. On the training grounds, Donaldson and his staff focus on tactical sharpness. Having a base foundation of tactics and skill, players are more versatile in different ways the team can play. The on-field product Real showcases every year allows all players a higher chance to play at the next level. 

Under Donaldson’s leadership, Real is a perennial top 20 club in the nation and a pioneer in the ECNL.

Real is unapologetic about wanting to win every time they step onto the field. The club-wide mentality eliminates the fear of failure among players. Donaldson and the Real staff create a safe space for players and coaches to innovate and try new ideas. This has been key to their dominance and constant improvement.

The relationship between the coaching staff and players is full of trust. As a player, it’s empowering to feel a staff believe in your abilities even though you're inevitably bound to make a mistake.

Players understand and buy into the all-in winning mentality, sacrificing minutes and switching positions for the greater good of the team. But this all goes for the coaches too.

“You can watch our teams and they all play a different style, but that’s what we do,” said Lyle Lebere, the 04 coach and girls' technical director. “We try to help our players be the best they can be and not try to make a player be somebody they’re not. We have conversations about their strengths and see where we can put them to succeed.

Lebere has witnessed each step Real has taken on its journey to greatness. He says it’s all because of the freedom to win.

The coaches give players the freedom to play the way they want. They trust their knowledge of the game and ability to adapt to the scenarios thrown at them in-game.

Adaptability is a mainstay of Real Colorado. They are never afraid to stray away from the status quo of club soccer, and constantly revolutionize their game with the help of technology.  As a result, Real Colorado is a household name in the US club soccer world. Constantly cementing their legacy one win at a time.

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