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US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Girls Wrap up Training Camp with U-18 Women’s National Team



Eighteen girls from the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) participated in the US Youth Soccer ODP Girls 1996 National Camp April 20-27 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Players were selected by U.S. Soccer Women’s Technical Director April Heinrichs based on their performance in the 2012 Thanksgiving Interregional, and were evaluated for possible participation in U.S. National Team events.
"I would like to congratulate all the players chosen to participate in the US Youth Soccer ODP National Training Camp," said Heinrichs. "The players and coaches were great. It seemed to me they thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of their experience playing against our U-18 Youth National Team."
Santa Clara University Head Coach Jerry Smith and former U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor Mike Dickey led the US Youth Soccer ODP National Camp.
"Not many athletes get a chance to get invited to the Olympic Training Center," said Dickey. "To have the opportunity…it’s once in a lifetime for some. It was great to see these players closer to achieving their ambitions of potentially being World Cup players."
Players collaborated and scrimmaged with the U-18 U.S. Women’s National Team and also had the opportunity to receive counsel from U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Tom Sermanni, and U.S. Women’s Under-20 Head Coach Michelle French, who also trained the girls in a session.
"All had very encouraging messages on how they valued the US Youth Soccer ODP program and saw it as a wonderful tool for identifying and developing future national team players," said Smith.
"Tom Sermanni thanked the girls for their commitment to the game and talked about the U.S. Women’s National Team and that many players got their start in ODP. April gave quite a bit of advice to the players, and the message she gave on the last day was: thank you for making the match difficult, you put our team under pressure. Michelle French talked about how she enjoyed her years on the Washington Youth Soccer ODP team and how she really felt that it helped her prepare for U.S. Soccer and that now she’s looking forward to tracking ODP players."
Because of her notable performance in the first scrimmage, US Youth Soccer ODP player Megan McCashland was asked by April Heinrichs to train with the U-18 Women’s National Team throughout the week.
"She did quite well and in some cases more than held her own with their group," said Smith. "It’s a great message for both groups. In our group it’s a very clear picture of …if you work hard and focus to do the right things you will be with that team. It’s also great for the U.S. Soccer team to know that these players are on their heels. Megan’s very hard-working. She got a chance, and she made the most of it."
An added opportunity that the US Youth Soccer ODP girls exclusively received was the chance to be one of the first groups to go through a training regimen with Athletes’ Performance and SKLZ - US Youth Soccer’s official player performance training partner - at their new facility in San Diego. The players received education on mindset, movement, recovery and nutrition.
Other testing during the week included the exact physical and technical assessments which the U-18 U.S. National Team players also completed.
"It really quantified things for our players and helped put things in perspective," said Smith. "Not only did we get to rank players from our own group, but then we took those numbers and compared them with the players in U.S. Soccer."
"There were so many positives to this joint venture, that I think it’s something we’ll continue to want to do moving forward," said Smith. "This is mutually beneficial. In the end, this is about soccer development in our country."
US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program and with programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, is available to any player regardless of hometown or club affiliation. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, as well as the majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.
US Youth Soccer ODP Girls 1996 National Camp Roster:
Region Name Position Club
I Elysse Branton DF BRYC 95 Elite
I Payton Cook DF/MF Richmond Kickers
I Eva Gordon FW Empire Revolution-Syracuse
I Abigail Pyne GK Soccer Plus
II Shannon Hendricks DF/MF Junior Irish
II Kaitlyn Keen MF Carmel United Soccer Club
II Samantha Kokoska DF/MF Carmel United Soccer Club
II Megan McCashland DF Gretna Soccer Club
II Cassie Phillips MF Michigan Hawks
III Sydney Lurie MF Concorde Fire
III Marnie Merritt GK Lake Norman SC
IV Sarina Bolden FW De Anza Force
IV Madison Gonzalez FW/MF Santa Rosa United
IV Hailey Harbison MF Del Mar Sharks Carmel Valley
IV Mariah Lee FW Washington Premiere FC
IV Stephanie Malherbe MF SoCal Blues
IV Christina Settles MF West Coast F.C.
IV Pilar Torres FW San Diego Surf
For more information on the US Youth Soccer ODP program, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org/Programs/OlympicDevelopmentProgram.


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