Olympic Development Program
The environment in which elite youth soccer players are identified in the United States is expanding. While U.S. Youth Soccer’s Olympic Development Program is the original and, to date, most effective method of identifying and developing elite players, there are an increasing number of paths a young player can take to achieve regional and even national recognition.
- Mission is to identify and develop elite players
- Create a challenging and competitive environment for every player
- Develop individual players and geared solely to the identification of the elite player. Unlike environments in which team achievement is paramount, ODP is free to develop the individual player with only his or her best interests in mind.
FIFA “The 11”
FIFA “The 11” is a comprehensive warm-up program designed by FIFA’s Medical Assessment and Research Center (FMARC) in cooperation with a group of international experts to reduce injuries among youth soccer players aged 12 years and older. The program will be performed as a standard warm-up at the start of each training session.
12U, 13U, 14U Program
- 12U-14U will tryout as split age groups. Players born January through June will tryout together as the “Olders” and players born July through December will tryout together as the “Youngers”.
- Studies have shown that most national team programs selected 80% of their players who were born within the first half of any given year. It is aimed to take an equal amount of “Olders” and “Youngers” for the 12U, 13U, and 14U age groups.
Player Pool Sizes
In the Olympic Development Program, the pool sizes, or number of players offered a spot will always be based on the talent level of the players attending tryouts. Massachusetts ODP will aim for about 40 players for the 12U group, about 30 for both the 13U and 14U groups, about 25 for the 15U group, and about 25 for the newly combined age group of 16U/17U.
Indoor Classroom Sessions
Massachusetts ODP will continue hosting classroom sessions in conjunction with the winter training sessions, covering topics such as Sports Psychology, with assistance from Springfield College Athletic Counselors, Nutrition & Wellness, Strength & Conditioning, amongst others. There is not another such comprehensive program offered by any club or youth soccer organization in the state.
For the 2019 season, we will be continuing a goalkeeper academy for the Olympic Development Program. During tryouts, players who want to try out for the goalkeeper position will be evaluated as they always have been with goalkeeper specific training followed by a scrimmage which includes both field players and goalkeepers.
The goalkeepers will be assessed on their ability to stop shots, distribute the ball, and organize the defense in front of them. The top performing goalkeepers will then be invited to join the goalkeeper academy.
They will have five dates during the winter months of both training and classroom sessions. Once the spring season begins they will train at the same time as the field players. Every other week, the top two goalkeepers from the previous week’s goalkeeper training session will be selected to join the team training session (based on player availability). The remainder of the goalkeepers will work with the goalkeeping staff.
Our hopes are to create a more competitive training environment for the goalkeepers as well as make a better connection between the top goalkeepers and the field players within each given team.