Back home after winning Dallas Cup with the 2007 Boys Olympic Development Program National Select Team, Josh Anderson has his sights on another NCS State Cup Trophy.
Anderson won the 15U boys trophy last year with Villanova Soccer Academy and he's back in the quarterfinals at the 16U level with Council Rock United FC Bucks Dominion. Dominion hosts Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals on Saturday at Faith Christian Academy.
Two weeks ago, Dominion outlasted Keystone FC in a nine-goal thriller 5-4 in overtime. Anderson, who also runs track, flashed his pace and skill out wide early in the match setting up the first goal when he beat his mark on a counter attack into the box in the first minute of play.
"He just creates all kinds of havoc," head coach Marc Meoli said after the 5-4 win. "Pace, power, speed, technique, he's got a little bit of all of it and he's a fun kid to coach and to watch play."
Anderson spent a week down in Texas with the ODP team during spring break in early April and had to quickly adjust to the environment with teammates he had only just met for the first time.
"We just gelled right away," Anderson said. "The first game was a tie but after that we just couldn't be stopped."
The U.S. Youth Soccer ODP 2007s finished with four wins and two draws, capturing the Dallas Cup boot and ball trophy on penalties against Solar SC in the final at Toyota Stadium, the home of MLS team FC Dallas.
“It was a really high paced game against a really good time on a beautiful field,” Anderson said of the final, which was broadcast live on ESPN3. “It was a really great experience for me, something I’ll never forget.”
Anderson was the lone player from Eastern PA on the team but his Neshaminy High School classmate Kylie Maxwell played on the 2007 girls team. Maxwell’s team made it to the final and she scored in the second half but it wasn't enough to beat FC Dallas Youth in a 2-1 loss.
“It’s pretty rare that you’d have two players from the same high school,” Anderson said. “She did really well too which was great to see.”
Daniel Dixon from Yardley Makefield Soccer, Emmanuel Clark from Capital Area SA and Astin Lehman from Penn FC Youth were on the 2008 boys team that made it to the semifinal and Eden Veenema from Penn Fusion was on the 2006 team, which lost in the final.
Anderson said getting to compete at the national level in ODP and play in cup competitions with his club team is helping him to grow as a player on the field and as a person off it. Going into a different environment where he didn’t know anyone else was a learning experience even before hitting the training field and competing to get into the lineup.
“I definitely recommend ODP,” said Anderson, who has been participating in ODP since fifth grade. “It’s been a rewarding experience and I’ve gotten to meet people and do things I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to do.”
Joining the Dominion 2007 team (Council Rock United FC Bucks Dominion II is also still alive in the state cup quarterfinals) has helped bolster a squad that made it to the USYS National Championships last year and has big ambitions again this year.
“It was a memorable experience winning the state cup last year,” said Anderson, who previously played for Humleville SC and Warrington SC. “I’m really hoping to do it again.”