The 2008 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) National Championships kicked off today at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
Teams in the 1991 and 1992 age groups (Under-16 and Under-17) played their semifinal matches and the championship pairings are set for Sunday, March 9. A complete schedule is available on USYouthSoccer.org or by clicking here.
State US Youth Soccer ODP teams, boys and girls, have earned their way to the 2008 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships by way of 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.
Illinois and California South Boys 1991 teams faced off for their second time at the US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships. Last year the two teams went head to head in the championships and Illinois can out on top. Today, California South was back with only two players from last year's team. Drive and practice led them to a 1:0 victory over Illinois. Amillcar Oliveros scored the game's lone goal in the 52nd minute and California South beat Illinois to advance to the championship match.
California South's Christian Ramirez said, "It feels good after having that bad taste in your mouth from last year. They (IL) played sloppy long ball, but we were well composed and adjusted to it. We adjusted at practice yesterday, and it carried over today."
Eastern New York and North Carolina 1991 Boys remained scoreless until the 25th minute of play when James Mulligan put one in the back of the net for Eastern New York. Down 0:1, North Carolina continued to create a strong offensive presence and evened the scoreboard 1:1 in 38th with a goal by Jackson Ferrell. Tied at the half, both teams stepped up the level of play, proving their strengths. The level of intensity rose when Eastern New York's Omar Edwards netted a goal in 51st minute. Despite several attempted to even the score, North Carolina remained scoreless throughout the second half.
Eastern New York Coach Manfred Kapper said, "It was a great game, North Carolina came out strong, but we were lucky at the end. I think it's a great accomplishment for the kids. It makes them feel good for what they're working for; it's something you'll carry for a lifetime."
In preparation for a weekend full of high-level competition, all teams created a plan of action. Omar Edwards said, "We had our game plan to attack; the initial game plan was to come out and control the game from the very beginning."
North Texas Boys 1992 got started with an early goal by Alex Molano in the 10th minute, but Indiana continued to apply pressure and scored three goals in the remainder. Max Lachowecki scored in the 25th minute to tie the match. Bryce Rockwell-Ashton and Eriq Zavaleta scored in the 43rd and 75th minutes respectively.
The 1992 Boys California South and Virginia teams kept the game going until the final minute. Virginia scored first with Dylan Bowman scoring in the 26th. Over 20 minutes later Molses Orozco tied the game for California South and in the 66th Eric Stephenson gave them the lead, but only for a minute. In the 67th Sodlenye Fubara brought the game back to a tie. Abdul Shaban found the back of the net in the final minute to send his team to the championship match on Sunday.
North Texas 1991 Girls dominated Minnesota with a 7:1 victory cementing their spot in tomorrow's final. Fast and furious the North Texas girls applied pressure and continued to finish. Courtney Vallarelli scored for Minnesota in the 19th. Goal scorers for North Texas included Kimberly Castleberry (46:00, 57:00), Alina Garciamendez (49:00, 51:00), Sophie Campise (55:00), Cortney Simmons (66:00) and Jessica Disabella (85:00).
New Jersey set out to defend their 2007 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championship title today against a tough California South. The first half ended scoreless. New Jersey came out of the half with renewed focus, determined to make it to the finals for the second year. Natalia Torosian made that goal a reality scoring in the 61st.
All competitors were aware of the fierce competition they would face. "We knew this was going to be a tough game because it's Nationals," Samantha Howell of North Texas said. "We had one solid practice; it was strict and down to business."
The 1992 Girls North Texas vs. Maryland game was highly competitive. After Chioma Ubogagu of North Texas scored the first goal of the game in the 25th minute, Pamela Vranis evened the score following up with a goal in the 27th. North Texas broke the tie with a goal from Kathryn Bass in the 53rd. The teams dueled until the end, but North Texas came out with the victory and will play California South for the championship title.
North Texas coach, Brent Erwin said, "Our opportunities to train are limited. We had two good meetings and really, it comes down to player's talent in the end."
1992 Girls California South showed up ready to play and proved it when Zuri Walker netted the first goal two minutes into game time. They held Missouri scoreless until Maegan Kelly brought the game to 1:1 when she scored the Missouri's sole goal in the 29th. California South pulled into the lead, where they stayed for the remainder of the game, once Natalie Lagunas scored in the 38th. Neither team scored in the second half, leaving California South victorious and into the championship bracket where they will face North Texas.
Check the links below for schedules, scores and results and check back to www.USYouthSoccer.org for more information on this weekend's event.
Scores | March 8, 2008
North Texas vs. Minnesota, 7:1
North Texas— Kimberly Castleberry (46:00, 57:00), Alina Garciamendez (49:00, 51:00), Sophie Campise (55:00), Cortney Simmons (66:00), Jessica Disabella (85:00)
Minnesota—Courtney Vallarelli (19:00)
New Jersey vs. California South, 1:0
New Jersey—Natalia Torosian (61:00)
North Texas vs. Maryland, 2:1
North Texas—Chioma Ubogagu (25:00), Kathryn Bass (53:00)
Maryland—Pamela Vranis (27:00)
Missouri vs. California South, 1:2
Missouri—Maegan Kelly (79:00)
California South—Zuri Walker (2:00), Natalie Ladezma (38:00)
California South vs. Virginia, 2:3
California South: Moises Orozco (48:00), Eric Stephenson (66:00)
Virginia: Dylan Bowman (26:00), Sodlenye Fubara (67:00), Alex Baumgardner (80:00)
Indiana vs. North Texas, 3:1
Indiana: Max Lachowecki (25:00), Bryce Rockwell-Ashton (43:00), Eriq Zavaleta (75:00)
North Texas: Alex Molano (10:00)
Eastern New York vs. North Carolina, 2:1
Eastern New York— James Mulligan (25:00), Omar Edwards (51:00)
North Carolina— Jackson Ferrell (38:00)
California South vs. Illinois, 1:0
California South—Amillcar Oliveros (52:00)
Eagerly seeking the top youth talent in the country, collegiate coaches observed the US Youth Soccer ODP National Championship players during these matches. The participants represent the future of American soccer at the collegiate and international levels.
Texas A&M's Assistant Girls Coach, Phil Stephenson was one of many college coaches recruiting from today's competition. "Basically we are looking at the best talent in the country," said Stephenson. "Anytime you get to watch the state or regional ODP, it's going to be the best. I am looking to find the best players we can find." Stephenson is also the US Youth Soccer Region III Girls Head Coach.
Initially created in 1977 as the US Youth Soccer Select Team Program, US Youth Soccer ODP was formed to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team could be selected for international competition. A girls program was added to US Youth Soccer in 1985.
The players must try out to qualify for the program's high-level training from carefully selected and licensed coaches through a series of trials at their local, State Association and then Regional levels. Those selected are exposed to the nation's best coaches, trainers and facilities.
US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program and the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer as well as a majority of current and past national and youth team members, as alumni. And, with programs in all 55 State Associations as well as regional and national championships and participation in international tournaments, US Youth Soccer ODP continues to lead the way.
For more information regarding US Youth Soccer ODP and the US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships visit USYouthSoccer.org.
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer)
US Youth Soccer -The Game for ALL Kids!®
is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3.2 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member state associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org.
Media Request: When referring to the United States Youth Soccer Association, the largest youth sports organization in the United States, please refer to the association only as US Youth Soccer, and never as USYS or USYSA. We appreciate your cooperation.