The Region III ODP Girls ’95 team returned just a couple of weeks ago from a trip to Germany in which the girls finished with mixed results, but an overall very positive trip. In their first game, just a day after arriving in Europe, the girls played a local team from Dusseldorf and soundly defeated them 5-0 in a game that Head Coach Todd Yelton said was a very good performance given the jetlag.
The next night, the Southeastern ladies would face their toughest opponent of the week against German giants Borussia Monchengladbach with the Germans walking away 3-1 winners.
“That was a great educational experience for our kids because I think even though we probably carried the play and the greater chances to score,” said coach Yelton. “They were very efficient in what they did and played a very low pressure style that we don’t see in the States.”
Playing a French team in their final game of the week, the girls rebounded with a 3-0 victory to end the trip on a very positive note. For coach Yelton, the trip is about much more than just results, however, as the team faces opponents and style of play that they don’t encounter in the US.
“Overall I thought this was just a really good group of kids and it was a great experience to spend ten days with them,” Said Yelton.
For the 1996 girls, their tour of Costa Rica may not have had the positive results, but they still have a lot to be proud of on their trip to Central America. Playing four games in six days against teams of girls from older age groups, the ’96 Region III girls lose three of four games in Costa Rica, but Head Coach Shelley Smith is focusing on the bigger picture.
“I think it was a great learning opportunity for the young players to see a different style of play and to see a style that was difficult to defend,” said Smith. “A lot of our teams that go there, yes we’re more athletic, but these are older women with good skills and combine really well. They saw things that our players didn’t and I think it was a great learning experience from that point of view.”
For Smith, it’s all about testing the players’ limits and growing their different skill sets as they get older and develop their games.
“They have to keep it in perspective that we’re playing a team of women’s players so our players had to remind themselves that these players are older, they are going to play with a little more experience and I think that’s where our players have to come to compete and work harder than they ever have,” said Smith about the trip. “They had to work on their combinations and find ability to make open space against teams that were hard to break down…I thought that learning environment was tremendous for them.”
Karen Hoppa, longtime coach at Auburn University and Head Coach over the Region III ODP squads, echoed the statements of Shelley and Todd.
“Sending our region teams on international trips gives our players invaluable experience to help elevate them to the next level. The players have to learn to adjust to a different culture, language, food, soccer style of play, etc and still be able to compete at the highest level. By providing these experiences to our Region III players, they will be better prepared for the national team level."
READ ABOUT THE REGION III 93s UNDEFEATED TRIP TO COSTA RICA.
1995 Region III ODP Travel Team:
Joanna Boyles, Hailey Brohaugh, Jane Campbell, Alexandria Carter, Kiana Clarke, Alexis Degler, Tayler Estrada, Kelsey Gorney, Jasmine Hart, Savannah Jordan, Ariel Kupritz, Tahirih Nesmith, Antionette Payne, Morgan Reid, Joanna Robertson, Jessica Sexton, Beryl Smith, Kathrine Stratton, Claire Wagner
1996 Region III ODP Travel Team:
Victoria Bowman, Taylor Braun, Caroline Brockmeier, Maddie Burdick, Courtney Carroll, Hannah Debose, Delaney Fechalos, Natalie Goodman, Karli Gutsche, Debra Hahn, Mikaela Harvey, Savannah McCaskill, Lauren McKeever, Christyna Pitre, Haley Pounds, Madeline Ramsey, Heather Timothy, Imani Walker