By Patrick Shea

Born and raised in Colorado, Davy Armstrong is continuing his professional soccer path at home. The Aurora native was a three-time All-Colorado team selection out of Rangeview High School (2007-2009), and he won the Denver Post All-Colorado Player of the Year award in 2008.

Armstrong joined the Colorado Rapids youth program in 2007 and signed as the club’s first Homegrown Player in 2010. After four years, the Rapids released him in December. Not skipping a beat, the 23-year-old midfielder teamed up with his brother Ri to play for Real Colorado Edge in the Premier Arena Soccer League. In early February, he signed with Switchbacks FC in Colorado Springs for the club’s inaugural season in the United Soccer League.

Aurora native Davy Armstrong was the first Homegrown Player for the Colorado Rapids and now plays for Switchbacks FC. Photo by John Babiak.

Aurora native Davy Armstrong was the first Homegrown Player for the Colorado Rapids and now plays for Switchbacks FC. Photo by John Babiak.

“I think it’s a great thing that Davy had the opportunity to be a homegrown player from our academy and be part of the group for the past few years,” noted current Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “Although he didn’t get a lot of playing time, I think he grew tremendously as both a player and a person. What I explained to him last year is that he’s at the point in his career where he needs games week in and week out. That’s one thing you need as a player to get your confidence to the next level.”

Although the PASL is not the next level for an MLS player like Armstrong, his experience playing in arenas reinforced his passion for the sport.

“One of my good friends, Mike Lind, offered my brother and me a chance to play indoor,” Armstrong said. “At that point, I had to get touches. But I was playing with some of my best friends. There’s nothing better than playing the sport you love with the friends you love. That was a way of getting joy out of the game and building my confidence. It was more for fun than anything.”

Armstrong praised the Rapids organization, particularly for helping him rebuild after a long injury-recovery period. While on loan with Phoenix FC in the USL in 2013, Armstrong tore his right ACL and had surgery. It took him almost a  year to get back to the level he had achieved, physically and mentally. He performed well in the reserve game against Seattle, had a solid nine-minute stint against FC Dallas, and played in the final game of the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps after Marvell Wynne went down.

“I had a great year with them,” Armstrong recalled. “I loved the coaching staff. I was finally able to come back and build my confidence. Those coaches — Pablo, Steve Cooke, and even Brian Mullan at that time — they were great guys. It was sad to say goodbye to them. But I always look on the bright side. They recommended me to a couple different teams, and they gave Tritt [Steve Trittschuh, Switchbacks head coach] a call. I feel at peace with the decision.”

On March 18, Armstrong and the Switchbacks will travel to Walker Field on the Colorado Mesa University campus in Grand Junction to face the Real Monarchs in a preseason tune-up against another USL side. The Switchbacks start their USL season on the road against the Austin Aztex on March 28.