Thanks to all of you who tried out for ODP this year. Like last year, we had over 1900 players tryout. This email is going to all players who tried out, even those who were selected for the player pools. I hope all players take the information to heart.
I had two children not make ODP for two straight years and my internal response obviously was disappointment for my children. I did not place the blame on the evaluators and I attempted to help my son and daughter realize that they will be faced with regrets and setbacks in life. I tried to emphasize the importance of bouncing back and gain a sense of future accomplishment from overcoming these minor obstacles. Hopefully the following comments may be of assistance for players who were not selected.
The Olympic Development Program is primarily developmental in nature but also a program to recognize players who have potential to make regional and national teams. The players, who made the ODP pool teams and possibly ODP, have been recognized as being the elite players in their age group among the thousands of players who play soccer in Eastern Pennsylvania. For those selected your success is quite an achievement. Our goal is to provide top level training and competition to all the players and to assist each of you in reaching the next level. Only through hard work and commitment can you expect to achieve that goal.
I continually struggle with addressing players who did not make ODP teams or the pool. For many of you this may be the first time you did not make a team. We as coaches sometimes overlook a player's ability in the try-out process and that player comes back the following year as a regional player or in three cases actually makes a Youth National Team. Coaches are human and very capable of making mistakes in the identification process. Don't be discouraged, but understand all of us will be faced with other selection processes throughout our lives; whether it is in sports, the arts, AP classes, college and even future employment. No one is guaranteed they will not fail or be recognized in an endeavor.
In all honesty, the secret to future success may be failing at something you really want. If you are willing to persevere and overcome what may be perceived as shortcomings by others, you will achieve success. Maintaining optimism, when others around you look to find blame in the methods of selection or provide excuses to you, should be your goal throughout life. It is more likely a player who experiences setbacks or failures will be more successful in the future. Making the Olympic Development Program does not assure players achieving success in the future. It does not guarantee scholarships or even the opportunity to play in college. An individual’s work ethic, determination and confidence will carry more weight than being selected to ODP or any elite level team.
Soccer probably plays a huge role in your life at this time and in many instances your parents as well; but it is still only a game and eventually will be a small part of your development as an adult. Ultimately you will not be judged by your soccer playing ability but the effort you put forth in contributing to your family, community, providing happiness to others and displaying perseverance in all aspects of your life.
Don't allow not being selected to get you down. Embark on an effort to become stronger and better at soccer if that is what you really want or look for other areas to achieve success. In each of us is a hero who only needs a positive outlook and determination to develop and be recognized. Enjoy your club seasons and remember soccer is a wonderful game that should be a joy to play each time you step on the field.
With that being said, the 2014 – 2015 ODP Player Pools are listed on each team’s page. Click here to view the main team page; you will need to click your specific age group to view the player pools. For those players who made the pools, you will receive an email next week with further information regarding the next few weeks and the final team selection process.
Michael K. Barr & Kelly Connor
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer