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Switchbacks FC Add Yapi, Walent on USL Academy Contracts

By Staff, 08/03/20, 10:15AM EDT


Yapi, 15, and Walent, 17, to get first professional opportunities at USL Championship level

Yapi (left) and Walent (right). Photos courtesy Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Colorado Springs, Colo. - Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC announced Friday that the club signed Darren Yapi and Vladimir Walent to USL Academy contracts. The move shows a commitment from the club to utilize the Academy contract mechanism to give young talent the chance to develop by training with and competing against professionals.

Yapi, a 15-year-old forward, has been with the Colorado Rapids Academy since 2016, where he established himself as a prolific goal-scorer at the youth level. He represented the U.S. U17 National Team at the UEFA Development Tournament in February 2020, and spent a significant amount of time with the Rapids first team in their preseason camp in California.

"Darren is an excellent young athlete that has been training with us for the last few weeks," said Switchbacks Head Coach Alan Koch. "He improves every day and is looking more and more comfortable in the professional environment. It is not every day that a 15-year-old is able to make a seamless transition into our training and we look forward to seeing his attacking skills on display soon."

Walent, a 17-year-old who can play either in midfield or defense, is also a product of the Rapids Academy, which he joined in 2017.

"Vladimir is a versatile player that has grown in our training environment over the last few weeks," said Koch. "He is quick, can run all day, and is very skilled. He is willing to learn and pushes himself and his teammates every day in training. I look forward to seeing how he does in match-like situations in the near future."

To learn more about USL Academy and USL Academy contracts, visit or search #USLAcademy on social media.