ODP/RTC Frequently Asked Questions
What is US Youth Soccer ODP?
The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program was formed in 1977 to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team will be selected for international competition; to provide high-level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels; and, through the use of carefully selected and licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching.
What is the purpose of ODP?
To develop and identify players of the highest caliber on a continuing and consistent basis, which will lead to increased success for the U.S. National Teams in the international arena.
How are players selected?
Each State Association holds ODP try-outs on an annual basis. Age Groups and try-out dates may be different from state to state, based on seasonal and state considerations. Your first contact should be to your State Association for try-out information.
Players are selected, in most states, on the basis of open tryouts. These tryouts are conducted by state association coaches who are recognized for their ability to identify and train players with superior skills. Some state associations combine scouting techniques and invitations to certain players with the open tryouts. Selection of these players is not an easy task. The state association head coach or State Coach will, in most cases, be assisted in the selection process by several other qualified coaches from the club or league level. Players are evaluated on the four components that make up a soccer player:
3. Fitness and Athletic Ability
4. Psychological Component (attitude)
What are Regional Camps?
US Youth Soccer is divided into four regions, each which offers a regional camp for state association ODP teams in each eligible age group. The camps are designed to provide high level competition and training for participating players. During this training and competition, players who are capable of performing at a higher level of play are identified for possible national team camp, pool, or team participation. Each region varies somewhat as to the specifics and the cost of their camps.
What is a National Camp?
National Camps and Interregional events are held throughout the year at various locations in the United States. The National Team Coach or a National Staff Coach is present at these events to observe, train, and identify players for placement in the national pool or on a national team.
What are the Benefits of Participating in US Youth Soccer ODP?
1. Development as a player. The opportunity to train and play with the best player's in one's age group.
2. Quality instruction from nationally licensed coaches.
3. Quality competition. Games against other state association ODP teams.
4. Exposure to regional and national team coaches.
5. The opportunity to represent one's state, region, or country in competition.
6. Exposure to college coaches.
Why is Idaho ODP called "Timbers/Thorns?"
It has to do with a unique rule in Major League Soccer (MLS) regarding "homegrown players." Because of this rule, MLS has given each of its clubs its own "homegrown territory." If a player resides in a homegrown territory then the MLS club assigned to that area has first rights to recruit the player to its youth academy. In 2014 MLS assigned Idaho to the Portland Timbers, so the Timbers have first rights to all players within the State. If a player would like to play for another MLS youth academy, the Timbers would need to release the player first.
In order to further their scouting efforts in Idaho, Portland forged a relationship with Idaho Youth Soccer and its ODP program.
MLS Homegrown Player Rule
Players who join Major League Soccer through a club’s youth academy for at least one year, and have met the necessary training and retention requirements, can sign a professional contact as a Homegrown Player. This mechanism allows the team to retain its player without subjecting him to the MLS SuperDraft.
There is no limit to the number of Homegrown Players a club can sign each year. Players signed as Homegrowns are not counted against the team’s salary budget, but those who occupy a spot on a club’s Senior Roster (spots 1-20) do count against the club’s salary budget.
Can I participate in RTC and/or ODP while I play high school soccer? Isn't there a rule against that?
IHSAA rule 8-11 governs "Outside Competition," but has an exception for training in an Olympic Development Program. IHSAA Assistant Director Julie Hammons said "Players would be allowed to tryout for or practice with an ODP team during the high school season without jeopardizing their high school eligibility. Games and/or scrimmages with an outside team would be a violation of Rule 8-11."