Day 1 of 3
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BRADENTON, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2017) — The annual US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Boys Florida Interregional opened Friday at Lakewood Ranch High School.
The three-day event takes place Dec. 1-3 and features teams in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 age groups comprised of the top male players in the country.
The event will feature more than 210 of the nation’s top players selected from US Youth Soccer State Association and Regional level evaluations. In each age group, players will attend scheduled training sessions and also compete in matches against each of the other regional teams.
The US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Florida Interregional annually attracts many college coaches, as well as several U.S. Soccer scouts. The talent on display from each team allows coaches and scouts to evaluate players in an environment similar to what they will face at the next level of play.
West Region 2002 coach Matt Broadhead described the opportunity for players from all four regions to come together and play for the chance to go beyond the youth level.
“For us, it’s an opportunity to play in front of a lot of college coaches and to be identified by the National team staff, which we had two of them at our game today,” Broadhead said. “All these boys have said goals and aspirations to play at the next level whether that’s college or professional, and they’re all hoping to get a look at the National team at the youth level. Right now, they’re super focused.”
With this being Broadhead’s second season of coaching the group of players, he has seen the boys come together and create continuity. As a coach, his goal is to inspire the boys, be a mentor for them and be approachable for them. The setting may be slightly different for an ODP coach as oppose to a club or high school coach, but Broadhead truly enjoys the opportunity to bring a variety of players together.
“The thing I like the most is getting kids from different states that don’t play together and the challenge of getting them all on the same page in a short period of time and the new relationships that are built with these kids off and on the field that they will carry possibly the rest of their lives,” Broadhead said. “We could have kids that are future college teammates together or maybe professionals if they make it that far. I’ve experienced that in the past with players, so I really enjoy the relationships that are built because sometimes I think they can last a lifetime."
Highlights from Day 1:
2000s | East 0-0 West
The 2000 East and West Regions fought to a scoreless draw on the first day of the event. It was an even match up until the final 20 minutes of the match when the West turned up the pressure. After a cross was sent into the 18-yard box, Jack Ratterman lobbed a shot, but East goalkeeper Levi Owen kept the ball out with just the tips of his fingers. A scramble near the goal line ensued after the block, and the ball was finally cleared by an East defender. Owen made two more crucial saves as the West’s Zach Velasco ran onto a lofted cross and slid to redirect the ball, but Owen made a diving save in time. The next instance came after the West’s Gian Gargurevich volleyed the ball to the upper corner of the net, yet Owen tipped the ball out. Despite some close chances from both teams, the score resulted in a 0-0 tie.
2000s | Midwest 3-0 South
The Midwest Region came out with fast pace and quick ball movement to earn a 3-0 shutout over the South. In the fourth minute of the match, Dylan Sing scored the Midwest’s first by tapping the ball into the goal. Three minutes later, Paolo Gratton was on the end of a cross and brought the ball down before passing the ball into the net. The Midwest continued to maintain possession and topped off the game in the 77th minute with a goal from Emmaunel Iwe.
2001s | East 3-0 West
In the 2001 age group, the East Region defeated the West, 3-0. The West came out strong as it inched closer to goal and gained several crosses and shots, but the East held it off and eventually capitalized on a lone opportunity as Braeden VanEpps put the ball in the back of the net in the 22nd minute. As the East attained a free kick about 30-yards out in the 48th minute, the East opted out from playing the ball into the 18-yard box and instead played a square pass for Nevin Baer, who stunned the keeper by shooting the ball into the right side of the net for perfect placement. Gabriel Paz then sealed the win with a goal in the 79th minute.
2001s | Midwest 0-1 South
The South Region snuck in a late goal to defeat the Midwest, 1-0. Jaden Jones-Riley took home the game winner as he used a wall pass to get around a defender and chipped the ball into the right side netting. The score of the game truly depicted how close the game was as it was a back-and-forth battle with chances from both squads. The Midwest nearly put a goal away after Ezau Millan and Jansen Wilson had a nice combination play, but Wilson’s goal traveled over the goal. The Midwest continued to do all it could to earn the equalizer, but the South held on for the win.
2002s | East 2-6 West
Despite a close battle in the beginning of the game, the West Region ran away from the East with a huge victory. The West applied the pressure from the beginning and eventually got on the board when Marcel Salceda found the ball at the top of the 18-yard box and sent a strike to the upper net. Salceda earned a second goal as he faked out a defender to find space near the goal and slot the ball on the ground into the net. In the second half, the East Region came out of the gates with determination as it earned a shot that skimmed over the top of the goal. The East was able to cut into the West’s lead as it earned a free kick at the top of the box. Matthew Bilan stepped up to take the kick and kept the ball low to find the back of the net. The West cut off the East’s momentum right away, showing that it was still in the game when Adrian Galindo put the West ahead to 3-1. Alan Casey, Bereket Getachew and Ilijah Paul also scored for the West, and although Aidan Farwell earned another goal for the East, the West claimed the win.
2002s | Midwest 2-0 South
The Midwest walked away with a 2-0 win over the South Region. After a scoreless first half, the Midwest went up 1-0 as Brody Schilling sent in a ball for Clarence Weah to head into the goal. The Midwest continued to maintain possession and sealed the win with a volley from Mason Lucas, who received a cross from Conner Osterholt.
US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program. With programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, it is available to any player. 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. To learn more, visit www.usyouthsoccer.org/programs/OlympicDevelopmentProgram.
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