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PHOENIX, Ariz. (March 3, 2017) — The 2017 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Championships kicked off Friday at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix. Elite Boys and Girls teams in the 2000 and 2001 age groups, from each of the four US Youth Soccer Regions, completed their semi-final matches and set the field for Sunday’s championship and consolation matches.
The US Youth Soccer ODP Championships will continue on Sunday, March 5, with championship and consolation matches to be played beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cal South leads the way with three teams competing for championships on Sunday. To view schedules and matchups, click here.
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 and National Women’s Soccer League, as well as a majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni. With programs in all 55 State Associations, as well as regional, national and international tournaments, US Youth Soccer ODP continues to offer development and exposure opportunities to any player, regardless of hometown or club affiliation.
In a close matchup between Eastern Pennsylvania 00 and Georgia 00, Eastern Pennsylvania advanced to the finals with a 2-1 victory. The first half was scoreless for both teams, but Georgia's Kyle Garnett began the scoring shortly after halftime in the 45th minute. Just three minutes later, Eastern Pennsylvania's Darryl Longdon evened up the score. Both teams had a strong defensive line in the second half, but Nicholas O'Donnell gave Eastern Pennsylvania the game-winner and the result it needed to advance to the championship final on Sunday.
A goal from Zach Eaton in the 30th minute gave Iowa 00 a 1-0 lead over Oregon 00, but three second half goals from Oregon was enough to put them through to the US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. Fritz Kabeiseman scored first for Oregon in the 57th minute. Soon after, Adam Kindorf and Gian Gargurevich netted two quick goals in the 63rd and 68th minutes to cushion Oregon’s lead.
Florida 00 defeated Minnesota 00, 2-0, in a challenging semifinal matchup. In the 14th minute, Taylor Dobles put Florida on the scoreboard. For the remainder of the half, Florida controlled possession. In the second half, Florida kept its foot on the gas pedal and continued with its attacking ways. Adrianna Troche doubled Florida’s lead in the 86th minute to send her side to the US Youth Soccer ODP Championships on Sunday.
In a matchup between Cal South 00 and Virginia 00, Cal South soared to a 6-0 victory. Cal South didn't waste any time scoring as they found the back of the net in just the 4th minute with a goal from Sydney Sparks. The remainder of the first half was scoreless, but Cal South opened things back up in the 48th minute with a goal from Jenna Nighswonger. Three minutes later, Jacqueline Bruder scored. Helen Burke, Sydney Sparks and Zoe Hasenauer rounded out the scoring for Cal South.
Cal South 01 advanced to the finals with a 4-1 victory over Florida to open up the 2017 US Youth Soccer ODP Championships. Bryant Lobato scored first for Cal South in the 21st minute on a corner kick with great service from his teammate, Frank Daroma. Florida’s goalkeeper, Michael Smith, made some impressive saves in the first half to keep his team within reach going into halftime. Cal South’s offense picked up the pace in the second half as Daniel Martinez and Brandon Garcia found the back of the net in the 53rd and 68th minutes. Angel Franco also added a Cal South goal in the 76th minute. The final goal of the match came from Florida’s Maleik Jackson, but it was not enough to withstand Cal South’s attacking presence.
Joining Cal South in the final will be Minnesota 01 after it picked up a 2-0 win over Virginia 01. The first half was scoreless for both teams, but Minnesota’s Patrick Weah netted a goal in the 50th minute to give his team the advantage. Herbert Endeley padded Minnesota’s lead in the 80th minute to make the final score 2-0. Minnesota's Eric Smits is excited to play for a US Youth Soccer ODP Championship and talked about the benefits of the program. "I’ve done ODP for four years now and every single year I get a lot of exposure," Smits said. "I get to play in a very competitive environment with a bunch of great players.”
“It is a tradition for Cal South teams to come and compete for that final,” Cal South coach Michelle Myers said after her team defeated New York West, 3-0. Cal South went up 1-0 in the first half with a goal from Sage Robledo in the 23rd minute and never looked back. The next two goals came from Alexandra Palangi in the 23rd and 54th minutes. With the win, Cal South will compete on Sunday for a US Youth Soccer ODP Championships title.
Florida 01 defeated Iowa 01, 3-0, in their ODP Championships semifinal match. Florida’s Alexa Mollica got the scoring started in the 12th minute, and that lead held until the end of the first half. Florida came out with an aggressive, attacking mindset in the second half and added to the lead with goals from Nicole Vernis and Jamie Morris. Florida will battle Cal South 01 on Sunday for the ODP Championships title.