DENVER — Castle View High School alum Riley Baker never has to leave the state to play soccer.
She just finished up her freshman season at DU and now plays for the Colorado Rapids women -- an amateur team in Denver that plays in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
"It’s just really nice to to play in a different atmosphere with girls who are higher level than you, older level than you or more experienced than you," Baker said. "I love it. I think it's a challenge."
Midway through her first year with the Pioneers, Baker got switched from her forward position to defense.
As she continues to make that transition, she has one simple summer goal -- getting better.
"Great person off the field overall. But once she gets on the field she’s a very dynamic, very athletic player and I think is a player that’s kind of starting to play with her potential," Rapids coach Sebastian Giraldo said. "You can see moments where she’s totally dominant."
Dominating moments may originate from when she took two years off from the girls team at Castle View -- only to practice with the boys team instead.
"I went into it and I was just kind of like 'Well, they’re not going to expect anything of me so if I mess up, who cares.' Also I’m out here to get better and this is such a great opportunity," she said. "A little nerve racking because they’re boys, but at the same time I loved it."
After being named to the Summit League All-Newcomer team in 2021, Baker wants to make 2022 even better.
"I just am so stoked," she said. "Coming out at 8 a.m. every day is a lot, but it’s worth it and my main goal is to literally just get better."
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