Darren Yapi signed a Homegrown contract with the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday, the club announced. Yapi is the 14th player to sign a Homegrown contract from the Rapids Academy - following in the footsteps of Oliver Larraz who was announced as a Homegrown player earlier in the day.
The terms of Yapi’s contract were not disclosed.
The 16-year-old forward has long been heralded as one of the top prospects in the Rapids’ academy system. He spent much of last year training with the Rapids first team. He made his debut with the club’s USL Championship affiliate, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, on July 31, 2020. He was named the Rapids Academy Player of the Year for the 2020 season.
Yapi has terrific potential and has been identified by U.S. Soccer National Team scouts as a promising prospect in the 2004 age group. He was part of the U.S. U17 team that competed at the UEFA Development Tournament in February of 2020.
“He’s worked hard to earn his first pro contract and is just starting to scratch the surface of his potential,” Rapids General Manager Padraig Smith said in a press release. “He possesses all the necessary qualities to reach the very top of the game and we’re excited to see Darren’s continued growth at the club.”
Yapi scored 64 goals in 95 appearances with the Rapids Academy over the years. He played for Colorado Storm before he joined the MLS academy in 2016 at the U12 age group.
The 6-1 attacker could feature on the wing as well as in the center at the professional level. He was a lethal finisher at the youth level and has shown his quality against professionals over the last couple of years.
The Denver-native is the youngest player to sign a Homegrown contract with the Rapids at 16 years, 104 days old.