ODP Successful in Phoenix

'97 Girls Take Idaho To The Finals

Phoenix, Ariz. -- Four Idaho teams from the Olympic Development Program traveled to Phoenix to compete in the Region IV ODP Championships with the hopes of bringing home the State's first Regional crown. The '97 girls came close, earning Idaho Girl's ODP it's first ever trip to the finals (and only the second overall), but losing to Cal South 1-0.

The '97 Girls, captained by FC Nova/US National Pool player Grace Hancock and Spokane Shadow/Regional Team player Maegan O'Neill, used an organized defense and a possession-based attack to go undefeated before the final. The team made it through the gauntlet of Colorado, Oregon, and Utah, winning their bracket and the semi-final en route to the title game against national powerhouse Cal South.

Skyler Bell, who is the team's head coach as well as the State Director of Coaching, said this year's expectations were high following last year's strong results, and individual recognition, even though 1/3 of this year's squad were true '98s (1-year play-ups) and two National Team players from last year's team could not attend because of concurrent National Team Camps.

"From top to bottom this year's team was phenominal," Bell said. "It was full of Division 1 prospects and Regional Team caliber talent."

Ten of the team's players came from District 1 (North Idaho and Spokane), with the four coming from District 3 (Boise area) and one from District 4 (Twin Falls). Spokane Shadow led the way in terms of club representation.

"Having the Spokane players join our program in the last few years has been a huge boost," Bell said. "They are all very well coached and prepared for high level competition through their experience in the RCL, FWRL, and State Cup play. This team was such a pleasure to coach, and I know each one of this players will continue on to great things. Love those kids."