FRISCO, Texas (March 1, 2013) —
The 2013 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP
) Championships kicked off Friday at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Teams in the 1996 and 1997 age groups played their semifinal matches Friday and the championship and consolation games will be played Sunday, March 3, beginning at 8 a.m. A complete schedule is available on USYouthSoccer.org or by clicking here.
The California South 1996 Girls have the opportunity to win their second consecutive ODP Championship after defeating New Jersey, 4-1, in their semifinal matchup. In last year's championship game, the Cal South 1996 Girls defeated Virginia, 1-0, to take the title.
State-level US Youth Soccer ODP Boys and Girls teams have earned their way to the 2013 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships by winning their US Youth Soccer ODP Regional Championships. The format, similar to the US Youth Soccer National Championship Series
, provides state teams the opportunity to compete against teams from other regions in a championship tournament.
"I think it's a great opportunity to test yourself against the best of the best," Indiana 1996 Girls coach John Marovich said of the ODP Championships. "Anytime you put yourself in those situations, you want to challenge yourself and hold a higher expectation for yourself."
The opening boys game resulted in a 2-0 win for Florida. In the 18th minute, an impactful foul led to a red card for a Michigan player and a penalty kick for Florida. Jonathon Lewis stepped up to the spot and successfully scored the first goal of the tournament. He followed that up with a second goal in the 30th minute to put Florida up by two. Michigan applied pressure despite being a man down, but it couldn’t break through as Florida held on to advance to the title game.
Virginia and Cal South played one of the most competitive games of the day and needed overtime and penalties to decide the outcome. Lucas Mendes put Virginia up by two with goals in the 10th and 22nd minutes, but Cal South’s Andrew Garcia responded with two goals of his own just before halftime to knot the game at 2-2. The woodwork and some nice goalkeeping kept an attacking Cal South side from grabbing a winner in regulation and overtime, but the Region IV representatives secured the victory by outscoring Virginia, 4-2, in a penalty kick shootout.
The Cal South 1997 girls arrived to ODP Championships fervently, getting a 5-0 win against Michigan. Kathleen Pingel notched two goals in the first half, steadily slotting in a penalty kick near the right post in the 20th minute before adding a second just 10 minutes later. Her teammates Jessica Clegg and Hanna Armendariz also got on the scoreboard, as did Sofia Chambers, who added the fifth goal in the 79th minute just before the match’s conclusion.
It took overtime for Eastern New York to defeat North Texas, 2-1, and set up a matchup with Cal South in the 1997 Girls final. North Texas jumped out in front in the 25th minute on a Kayla McKeon goal and held that lead for much of the game before an own goal tied the match at 1-1. Eastern New York’s Keri Cavallo found the back of the net five minutes into overtime, and her squad held on to earn a spot in Sunday’s championship game.
Eastern Pennsylvania got off to a promising start with a 4-0 win over Wisconsin. Zachary Zandi opened the scoring for Eastern Pennsylvania early with an 8th minute goal. Matthew Barile made it 2-0 with a quick strike to open the second half, and Christian Bukowski added a third in the 69th minute when he received a pass and slid it home past the keeper. Three minutes later, Zandi capped the scoring when he made a nice run with the ball down the left side and notched his second goal.
It was a tight defensive game to determine who would meet Eastern Pennsylvania in the 1996 Boys Final. After a scoreless first half, Cal South’s Michael Licon put his side in front of North Carolina with a 58th minute goal. Cal South held off North Carolina’s efforts to equalize the game and came away with the 1-0 win to advance to the championship on Sunday.
Indiana set up a meeting with defending champion Cal South, as they defeated Georiga, 3-0, in their semifinal matchup. Kellee O’Shaughnessy put Indiana up when she found the back of the net in the 21st minute. Emily Coudret doubled the lead with a 51st minute goal, and O’Shaughnessy capped the scoring with a left-footed strike in the 84th minute to give Indiana the 3-0 victory.
The Cal South 1996 Girls earned their second straight trip to the finals with a 4-1 win over New Jersey. Haily Harbison opened the scoring in the 28th minute and teammate Indigo Gibson doubled the lead three minutes later. After Harbison got her second goal of the contest, Kaitlin Klawunder netted Cal South’s fourth in the 78th minute. Jamie Delaney put New Jersey on the board with an 82nd minute goal, but it couldn’t prevent Cal South from advancing with a chance to defend its title.