Article Written by Gary Curreri
Published: November 20, 2018
Boca Raton, Fla. -- The annual US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Girls Thanksgiving Interregional kicked off competition on Monday in South Florida.
The four-day event, which takes place Nov. 19-22 at Spanish River Athletic Park, features the teams in the 2001/2002 through 2005 age groups comprised of the top female players in the country.
Hall of Famer Brandi Chastain coaches the West 2003 team. She has spent 35 years in ODP either as a player or a coach.
“I was involved in ODP in the 80s, It feels like I never left,” Chastain said. “This is exactly why ODP is necessary. It is a place for girls who thrive and are passionate about soccer to come and compete against other players who love and are passionate about soccer. They can see, ‘okay this is where I am.’ It is a good place for them to self-evaluate, to become leaders and to play with players they haven’t played with before.”
The nearly 300 participating players were selected from US Youth Soccer State Association and Regional level evaluations. Throughout the week, players will attend training sessions and compete in matches against other Regions, in front of U.S. Soccer national staff and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.
With programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, US Youth Soccer ODP, the original Olympic development program, is available to any player. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, and the majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.