The annual US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Boys Winter Interregional kicked off today with the four Regional teams in the 1996 age group competing at IMG Academies, the world's largest and most advanced mulit-sport and education complex, in Bradenton, Fla.
Continuing its tradition of elite play and competition, youth from the nation's top player identification and development program, US Youth Soccer ODP, will train and compete in front of U.S. National Team staff, professional and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation named Richie Williams as the new head coach for the Under-17 U.S. Men’s National Team program. Williams and his assistants were in attendance Friday and will be scouting each game throughout the weekend for future Youth National Team camps.
Thirteen players who competed in last year’s ‘96 Interregional have been called into U.S. National Team camps since then, and several were invited into the U.S. Soccer Residency program and have become leaders for the U-17 team. The most notable ‘96 to have success with the National Team is Herber Mejia-Flores of Region I, an All-Star selection at last year’s ODP Fall Interregional. Mejia-Flores led the U.S. U-17's to the championship at the Nike International Friendlies two months ago, being named Man of the Match and adding an assist in a 3-1 win versus Brazil. Mejia-Flores also scored the game winning goal in the 88th minute after already being named Man of the Match versus Turkey and added an assist in a draw with France. In total, eight players from last year’s US Youth Soccer ODP 1996 Interregional competed for the U.S. in the Nike Friendlies, with Wesley Wade (Region I), DeAndre Robinson (Region III) and current Region IV player Rubio Rubin scoring goals.
When the U.S. Under-17’s traveled to Turkey earlier this month for the Aegean Cup, nine players who were a part of last year’s ‘96 Interregional were on the roster, and of them Conor Donovan (Region III), Rubin, Robinson and Wade accounted for all five of the U.S.'s goals in the tournament.
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 Women's Professional Soccer as well as a majority of current and past national and youth team members, as alumni.
Summaries from today’s matches…
It was a tale of two halves as Region II came back from a 3-1 halftime deficit to defeat Region I 4-3. Wyatt Fabian (Lehigh Valley United, E-PA) gave Region I the lead just 15 minutes into the game, but Region II’s Abdikadir Anyah (N/A, MN) equalized immediately in the 17th. Arthur Bosua (HBC, E-NY) put Region I ahead again with a strike in the 27th and William Eskay (FC Frederick, MD) added a two goal cushion with a 33rd minute goal to head into the break. Region II took over momentum just 12 minutes into the second period with goals from Amar Sejdic (United FC, KY) and Thomas Hull (Campton United, IL) to level the game, and Sejdic struck for the game winner and his double in the 62nd to give Region II the victory.
Region III and Region IV shook off the nerves with three goals in the first 15 minutes before Region III closed out at 4-1 win. Mario Da Silva (Parkland Predators, FL) netted first for Region III in the 8th minute, but Guilherme Leme (Sparta United, UT) leveled just four minutes later for Region IV. Only three minutes later Daniel Rutter (Tennessee Rush) grabbed the first of his double to put Region III up for good before adding the South’s third a minute after the restart. Zack Bailey (Chicago Fire Jrs. - Mississippi) finished things out with a goal in the 67th.
2012 US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Winter Interregional
IMG Academies, Bradenton, Fla.
Scores | Friday, Jan. 27, 2012
1996 Region II 4, Region I 3
Goal scorers: Region II – Abdikadir Anyah (17:00), Amar Sejdic (54:00) (62:00), Thomas Hull (57:00)
Region I - Wyatt Fabian (15:00), Arthur Bosua (27:00), William Eskay (33:00)
1996 Region III 4, Region IV 1
Goal scorers: Region III – Mario Da Silva (8:00), Daniel Rutter (15:00) (46:00), Zack Bailey (67:00)
Region IV - Guiherme Leme (12:00)
Saturday, Jan. 28
Sunday, Jan. 29