The Value of ODP
Years ago, the Olympic Development Program (ODP) was the most highly respected youth soccer player development program in America. Many of America’s top soccer stars participated in ODP. Recently there has been a strong resurgence of the program. Today, the New Jersey ODP program, for example, is better than ever.
The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) was created over 40 years ago to identify highly talented youth soccer players from which a National Team would be selected for international competition and to provide high-level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels.
While now there are many pathways to being identified as a top youth talent in America, ODP has helped develop many young players who became famous soccer professionals — including the two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and two-time FIFA Player of the Year Carli Lloyd. Lloyd, who is an ambassador of New Jersey Youth Soccer, was an ODP player when she was a teenager.
New Jersey Youth Soccer is one of the largest US Youth Soccer state associations with over 100,000 youth soccer players. Now, youth soccer is thriving once again in New Jersey after a successful stay at home shut down due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and youth soccer players are enjoying playing again. Competitive games are being played and preparations for the fall soccer season are underway.
New Jersey ODP plays an important role in player identification and ever since 2017 when New Jersey Youth Soccer hired James Galanis as the ODP Technical Director, the program has deepened its commitment to excellence and players are benefiting.
“James has been able to develop an effective curriculum and work closely with the ODP coaching staff to enhance the program significantly,” said Evan Dabby, Executive Director of New Jersey Youth Soccer. “Earlier this month, we were proud to have him accept his new role as our Director of Technical Operations.”
ODP programs evaluate youth soccer payers on the four components that make up a soccer player:
- Fitness and Athletic Ability
- Psychological Component (attitude)
“With each passing season, we strive to further enhance the experience for our players,” said James Galanis, New Jersey Youth Soccer’s Director of Technical Operations.
“We feel that we have an exceptional coaching staff and our goal is to become the leading ODP in the country.James Galanis, Director of Technical Operations – New Jersey Youth Soccer
SoccerToday’s Interview with James Galanis on New Jersey’s ODP
Diane Scavuzzo: Please explain today’s ODP, and are the goals of the program in New Jersey very different from they were years ago before U.S Soccer launched the Development Academy (DA)? If so how?
James Galanis: With the folding of U.S Soccer’ DA, the ODP is once again a main player when it comes to US Soccer player Identification.
As far as New Jersey ODP, we have been producing exceptional players for decades.
In recent years, we have been able to transform our ODP to give our members a unique experience.
We reconfigured our curriculum, introduced Tournaments, Mental Toughness and Tactical Awareness seminars, College Recruitment Events, and events like ODP Success Stories that allow our players to learn from MLS and NWSL professionals who started in NJ ODP.
Our goal has always been to provide an environment where players can showcase their skills and learn from high-level training, and we are definitely achieving that.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the value of the ODP program from your perspective?
James Galanis: Players identified in the ODP have the opportunity to gauge their own game, play with other great players from around the state, build confidence through representing their state, play against other states, and have the opportunity to further be identified into the regional or national ODP team.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does it help a young player develop their skills and deep in their understanding and passion for the game?
James Galanis: ODP is an identification program.
In ODP, players improve their game in all areas throughout the year.
Being around our coaching staff, playing with other great players, and going through the ODP year-round cycle provides players with the opportunity to constantly improve.
Diane Scavuzzo: What is the goal of the ODP session?
James Galanis: Each ODP training session in New Jersey Youth Soccer has different objectives.
In general, the training curriculum is progressive and gives players the opportunity to work on technical skills and tactical concepts. Off the field our session focus on the mental part of the game.
Diane Scavuzzo: What can youth soccer players expect? Will there be positional training will there be scrimmages?
James Galanis: Our ODP training days always vary based on the topic. However, there is always an opportunity to play live games that focus on individual positioning and team concepts.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does the ODP program work in conjunction with the youth soccer clubs in New Jersey?
James Galanis: NJ Youth Soccer encourages our member Clubs to identify and recommend players to our ODP coaching staff.
Players that are selected go back to their teams’ better players because of the ODP experience. In return, NJYS’ ODP program always recognizes the youth soccer clubs that produce ODP players.
Diane Scavuzzo: With the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic still surrounding us, what are the safety protocols that will be in place?
James Galanis: ODP will follow the same guidelines and protocols that are in place for youth soccer as communicated by the NJ Department of Health. We have had long discussions on how we are going to keep our players as safe as possible and we follow the proper protocols. Specific guidelines will be posted for a safe tryout experience shortly
To register and for more information, please visit NJYS ODP.