US Youth Soccer created the Olympic Development Program in 1979. It was designed to identify and develop elite players across the country to feed the US national Team system. These core purposes remain today, but ODP has been expanded to be much more. Here are some frequently asked questions about the oldest elite youth training program in the country.
How is ODP Different From Club Soccer
ODP creates a far different environment for players than club soccer. ODP is focused entirely on the individual player and how they become the best athlete they can be. Club soccer is, by definition, team-oriented. It focuses on wins and losses, scores, league standings and other team achievements. Club soccer brings with it a certain stress level and fear of failure to players. While this is certainly a normal and productive environment on certain levels, ODP is player-centric. Players learn to play out of their comfort zones, learn to embrace failure as tools of learning and can focus on their own achievements as measure of personal success, not those of a team.
Does ODP Conflict With Club or High School Soccer?
Not at all. ODP is intended to supplement a player's soccer development, not to cause conflicts. Tryouts, training sessions and ODP events are scheduled with potential conflicts in mind. The LHSAA has granted ODP a specific EXEMPTION. Players may participate in ODP during the High School Soccer Season. No other program in Louisiana has such an exemption.
How Are Players Selected for ODP?
Players are selected in Louisiana on the basis of open tryouts, scouting and an invitation process. Players are scouted year round from events such as LCSL, the US Youth Soccer National League, The State Cup and US Youth Soccer's Southern Regionals. The Scouting Staff will consist of ODP, South Region and US Soccer personnel. The LSA Technical Director will coordinate and have final approval on invitations to the closed tryouts.
Can Players Be Added to the State Team After Tryouts are Over?
In fairness to those players who commit to ODP from the outset, it is rare that players are added after the pools are announced. To be added, there would need to be a valid reason the player did not attend tryouts (e.g. injury, just moved to LA). Players identified after the tryouts are added to the pool only if they are considered to be in the top half of the pool and only with approval by the LA ODP Director.
How are Players Selected for the Regional Pool?
State ODP Directors and South Region Scouts recommend players to attend Region Camp through training and Subregional events. Selection comes from the Head South Region Coaches.
What is ODP Looking For in a Player?
In terms of player qualities- here is a link to what US Soccer utilizes in their approach to defining player qualities:
Both documents provide insight into the qualities, roles, and responsibilities of Regional and National Team Players that State ODP Players should employ in their personal development plans.
What is the Purpose of ODP Regional Camp?
The main purpose of Region Camp is to evaluate the players from all the states and select a region pool of players in each age group for further evaluation and competition.
What is the Role of the Louisiana ODP Coach?
The LA ODP Coach's focus is entirely on the growth and development of each individual player. This growth includes not only teaching skills and awareness in the game, but also those intangibles like setting goals, embracing and learning from mistakes, and the ability to learn from the play of others. The environment an ODP coach will create will be fun, productive and spress-free.
What Benefits Do Players Get From ODP If They Are Not Ultimately Invited to the Regional ODP Camp?
LA ODP is a chance for players to challenge themselves and gage themselves against the like-minded players in Louisiana. "Steel sharpens steel" ODP is an inspiring experience. It provides a new environment for players to manage uncomfortable scenarios involving new positional roles, new teammates, and new coaches. Learning to adapt and embracing mistakes provides invaluable lessons for future development.