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1995 Elite Player Development Boys Win Second-Straight Region IV ODP Championship
Repeat champs headline four Washington Youth Soccer teams to advance to semi-final round
For the second-straight year, Washington Youth Soccer's Elite Player Development (EPD) teams turned the Region IV Olympic Development Program (ODP) Championships rave green.
Four of the seven EPD teams in attendance at January's ODP Regionals, held in Phoenix, Ariz., advanced to semi-final action and three reached the finals, with the 1995 EPD Boys capturing their second consecutive Region IV ODP crown.
The 1995 Boys now advance to the 2011 US Youth Soccer ODP National Championships, Mar. 4-6 in Phoenix, where they will match up against the champions from the other three regions that comprise US Youth Soccer. Fans can follow all the action live online through WashingtonYouthSoccer.org or usyouthsoccer.org.
Just as they did last year, Washington Youth Soccer once again put three of its seven teams into ODP Regional Finals. In addition to the 1995 Boys' 2-1 finals win over Cal-South, both the 1997 Boys and 1997 Girls advanced through the rounds to finals matchups with Cal-South, falling 3-0 and 1-0, respectively.
Washington also saw a fourth team — the 1996 Girls — advance to semi-final play, before losing narrowly to eventual champion Cal North, 1-0.
Washington Youth Soccer's three finalists were second-most only to Cal South among the 14 states that comprise Region IV, while its four semi-finalists marked the Region's third-highest total.
"It's been exciting for me to see the growth and development of our Elite Player Development teams over the past two years," says Washington Youth Soccer Technical Director Gary White. "The passion, skill and effort being put forth by the coaches and players in the program is evidenced in the success we've had on the field, and in the professionalism they've displayed throughout the week."
Washington's '95 Boys, coached by Scott Uderitz and Anthony Sardon, went 2-1 in group play, before beating Cal-North, 4-0, in the semi-finals. That set up a championship game rematch Tuesday with 2010 runner-up Cal-South in which Washington again prevailed, this time by a narrow, 2-1 margin.
"This whole week was a real statement for the 1995 Boys," says Washington Youth Soccer Technical Director. "It's one thing to win, as they did last year, when you are the underdog. It's quite another to come back and defend a title with a target on your back, and every team giving you their best game. Their success is a testament to the hard work, focus, dedication and raw skills of the entire team, including players, coaches and staff."
The title by the 1995 Boys comes just one year after Washington teams won titles in both the 1995 and 1996 Boys divisions, a further sign of the successes being made in Washington's new Elite Player Development (EPD) program.
It's also a testament to the success of Washington Youth Soccer's Elite Player Development program, coming on the heels of the titles won by the 1995 and 1996 Boys at the ODP Regionals in 2010, the first year of the new program to streamline Washington's player development system.
Players on all seven of Washington's EPD teams were selected from those training at one of Washington's six Regional Training Centers, or RTCs, created in 2009 by Washington Youth Soccer and Sounders FC to train and develop the best players in the state for regional, national and professional competition.
The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program, or ODP, is a national identification and development program for high-level players. The program identifies and develops youth players throughout the country to represent their state association, region and the United States in soccer competition. ODP teams are formed at the state association and regional levels, made up of the best players in various age groups.
The Region IV ODP Championships brought together boys' and girls' ODP teams in four different age groups from the 14 US Youth Soccer state associations that comprise Region IV — Washington, Alaska, Arizona, California North, California South, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
Teams played a round-robin format in two groups, with the top-two teams in each group advancing to bracket play. Complete scores and tournament information can be found online at regioniv.com/odp/championships.htm.
Congratulations to all of the Washington Youth Soccer teams who competed at Regionals, and good luck to the 1995 Boys at next month's Nationals!
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