What is the Olympic Development Program?
The aim of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) is to identify and advance the most talented and passionate youth players through state, regional, and national team selection and competitions. The pinnacle is US National Teams from 16 year olds and up that represent all of us on the international stage.
The Olympic Development Program was formed for a number of reasons. The first goal is to identify a pool of players, in each age group, from which a National Team will be selected for international competition. In addition, ODP provides high-level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels. And finally, through the use of carefully selected and licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching.
In 1977 the program expanded, the organization became more efficient and multi-year plans were developed. State Associations were encouraged to develop programs that supported and worked in tandem with the National and Regional programs. At the beginning of 1982 a formalized program for girls was created, with the addition of a full committee (one member from each Region).
From 1982 until the present, international events for youth national teams have increased substantially and the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program has kept pace by instituting trials and player pools for five age groups in the boys' program, and five age groups in the girls' program.
The ODP Tryout Process
Each State Association holds open ODP try-outs on an annual basis. Age groups and try-out dates may be different from state to state, based on seasonal and state considerations. Your first contact should be with your State Association for try-out information.
How Are Players Selected?
In most states (including South Dakota), players are selected on the basis of open tryouts. These tryouts are conducted by state association coaches who are recognized for their ability to identify and train players with superior skills. Some state associations combine scouting techniques and invitations to certain players with the open tryouts. Selection of these players is not an easy task. The state association staff will, in most cases, seek the help of other qualified coaches from the club or league level, in identifying the best players. Players are evaluated on the four components that make up a soccer player:
3. Fitness and Athletic Ability
4. Psychological Component (attitude)
What Are Regional Camps?
US Youth Soccer is divided into four regions. Each region offers a regional camp for state association ODP teams in each eligible age group. The camps are designed to provide high level competition and training for participating players. During this training and competition, players who are capable of performing at a higher level of play are identified for possible national team camp, pool, or team participation. Each region varies somewhat as to the specifics and the cost of their camps. Your state association or regional administrator should be contacted for more information.
What Is A National Camp?
National Camps and Interregional events are held throughout the year at various locations in the United States. The National Team Coach or a National Staff Coach is present at these events to observe, train, and identify players for placement in the national pool or on a national team.