The U17 (2001) Boys Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer ODP Team recently traveled to Southern California to participate in the 2018 Pacific Coast Invitational.
From March 2-4, the Under-17 (2001) Boys Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer ODP Team participated in the Pacific Coast Invitational at the SilverLakes Sports Complex Southeast of Los Angeles. It was a premier event hosted by Cal South that saw the U17 boys compete against Oxnard PAL (a local club), Cal South ODP and Cal North ODP. Eastern Pennsylvania went 2-0-1.
“Teams out there were great,” said Carter Houlihan, who’s played with the 2001 boys for six years now. “Cal South kind of runs the West Coast, and we beat them. I think everyone’s confidence went up from that.”
The experience certainly will benefit the boys when they look to defend their Region I ODP Championship this summer. But the trip was about more than soccer. The U17’s were able to explore some of the best sites Southern California has to offer, including a trip to Santa Monica Beach.
“It was cool for me, too, because my aunt and uncle live in California,” said Houlihan. “I don’t get to see them much. They came out to watch me play.”
Houlihan has been a part of Region I ODP teams in addition to his time with the state team. With Region I, he’s made trips to Italy, Costa Rica and Florida. He insists this trip, though, ranks near the top for him.
Part of it is the group of friends he’s made in the program.
“I’ve known a lot of these guys for years,” Houlihan said. “It was just fun. We all had that bond with each other. And the new guys who came in, they went with it. Everyone became like a family. The coaches did a great job of bringing everyone together. It was a great bonding experience.”
The North Penn sophomore still has plenty of soccer left, but his ODP career is coming to a close. The Eastern Region ODP Tournament this June will be the last time Houlihan competes for Eastern Pennsylvania. He’s grateful for the opportunity.
“I think knowing it’s my last year, I’ve come to appreciate ODP a lot more,” said Houlihan. “The coaches I’ve had and the players I’ve played with, I never would have played with them without ODP. I’ve come to realize how far the ODP team has gotten me.”
The U17 boys went 2-0-1 in competition, but the trip was about more than soccer. Below, Carter Houlihan tests his balance on Santa Monica Beach.