Colorado Rapids midfielder Davy Armstrong (28) dribbles the ball during practice on Aug. 24 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. The 18-year-old Rangeview High School graduate is the first homegrown player to be developed and signed by the team. (Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)
Aurora's Davy Armstrong blazes trail for Colorado Rapids
18-year-old becomes team's first homegrown player, perhaps first player of Cambodian descent in MLS
By Joe Nguyen, AsiaXpress.com
Sept. 23, 2010
About Davy Armstrong
Weight: 150 pounds
Date of birth: Nov. 3, 1991
High school: Rangeview High School '10
• 2008 Denver Post All-Colorado preps player of the year
• 2008 and 2009 Denver Post All-Colorado team
COMMERCE CITY – Trailblazer.
In August, 18-year-old Davy Armstrong became the first Colorado Rapids homegrown player to be developed and signed by the team. It was the first time the Rapids used the initiative that allows Major League Soccer clubs to develop its own youth players without having to expose them to the league’s annual SuperDraft. The midfielder perhaps also became the first – Major League Soccer doesn't keep records – person of Cambodian descent in the MLS.
"It's such an honor," Armstrong said. " ... It will be great being a role model and showing what you can do, what you can become."
Becoming the Rapids’ first homegrown player seems to make sense considering Armstrong’s lofty resume. Playing for Rangeview High School in Aurora, he was selected to The Denver Post’s All-Colorado team for three consecutive years, from 2007 to 2009, and was named the 2008 Colorado high school player of the year. Despite those accolades, he admits that the jump to the professional level is a steep curve.
“It's a hundred times different – everything's so much faster, everything has to be better,” he said. “ ... You have to be so much more mature in the game. Your passes have to be precise. Just the speed of play is so much greater.”
He was born and raised in Aurora, the youngest of four children to Ri and Laura Armstrong. His father, who is originally from Cambodia, came to the U.S. during the Vietnam War after losing many family members and sustaining a leg injury as a child. Ken Armstrong, a U.S. medic, had cared for him and the two formed a bond. Ken’s parents were able to adopt Ri and bring him to Denver where he would later become a skier for the U.S. in the 1980 Olympics.
“My dad was very athletic,” Davy Armstrong said. “He was a big-time skier. He played soccer as well and then he got us all into it.”
Athletics ran inside the Armstrong household, literally. Track was a big part of the siblings' lives growing up, something that Davy attributes to helping him develop his speed on the field. His older sisters – Dina and Lily – both played soccer, he said, but excelled more in gymnastics and track, respectively. His older brother, Ri, was named to the the All-Colorado team in soccer as a senior at Rangeview. He would play soccer at the Air Force Academy before transferring to Metro State.
Davy Armstrong said he knows that he is probably not going to see any action his first couple years in the league as the team trains him to physically and mentally adapt to the pro game. But in the off chance he does get to play, it will fulfill a lifelong goal.
“That would be awesome, that would be a dream come true,” he said.