New Jersey Youth Soccer Trains Players In The Olympic Development Program
Every year, New Jersey Youth Soccer conducts their annual New Jersey Olympic Development Program (ODP) Friendlies Tournament.
Players throughout the state came together to participate in high level soccer games, which were conducted in a round robin format that was designed to give state representatives an opportunity to display their skills in front of their coaches while preparing for upcoming tournaments.
“NJ ODP bore witness to an impressive landscape of players and coaches who share the common goal of representing the state of New Jersey, Region and ultimately the Nation,” said Coach Homere Breton, ODP Director of the Junior age groups.
The NJ ODP Friendlies are a part of a series of events during the youth soccer season. Each team played two highly competitive games that served as a tool to help the ODP coaches further analyze their squads.
“I absolutely loved the event,” said Ashley Denti, ODP Girls Head Coach. “It gave us a great opportunity to work with the statewide talent that New Jersey brings to the game. These girls came to play.”
Players from more than 100 NJ Youth Soccer member clubs came.
Each player had the opportunity to build on-field chemistry with their ODP teammates and begin to form the unique bond of playing NJ ODP, regardless of which youth soccer club they came from.
“I thought it was really good,” said Ally Beekman of the 2007 ODP Girls team. “It was good to be able to play as a team and be together. We did really well considering it was our first time playing together.”
The NJ ODP Friendlies took place in Jackson Township, whose officials worked with the NJ ODP staff to provide a safe environment for our players.
“I think it’s great that they (ODP) were able to bring something together,” said Jackie Gialanella, ODP parent. “The teams were evenly matched, and it was fun to watch.”
Consistent with the event’s focus on the development of young athletes, the New Jersey State Referee Committee provided Referee Mentors to share professional development feedback with each of the young referees.
NJ ODP program also includes a player specific Mental Toughness and Tactical Awareness webinar.
“We put together a contingency plan that gives our players the opportunity to compete and play regardless of the interstate travel guidelines,” said Lou Mignone, NJ ODP Coaching Director. “Our program is ready to carry on in a safe way and adapt as the year goes on.”
NJ Youth Soccer is a National State Association body under US Soccer, with US Youth Soccer serving as the guiding leadership of ODP. Established in 1977, ODP was the first program in the country that was created to identify potential youth national team players. ODP players begin initially at the local sector before progressing to the state, regional and possibly national levels. By playing with like-talented athletes, ODP enables players to advance more rapidly in their personal development. Additionally, ODP players receive more opportunities to be scouted by college coaches.