The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program has been in existence since 1977. The program was introduced to help identify potential national team youth players through an organized series of trials which begins at the district level, progresses through the state, region and finally the national level. The program also serves as a means of development as the players identified are brought together for a training experience and prepared for interstate, interregional and international competitions. The development of the players is taking place rapidly as talented players are brought together for training and competition at all levels. Training and playing with those of equal or greater ability is a tremendous teaching tool. The program is open to any youth player.
The higher up the ladder a player progresses, the more intense the training and playing become. The regional teams experience both interregional and international competitions on an annual basis. A pool of players is selected for each age group with the rosters changing each year as players develop at different rates. Regional players have traveled to Florida, Arizona, San Diego, France, England, Costa Rica, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
While the US Youth Soccer ODP experience is one vehicle for competition, development and identification, it is not the only method. All programs work together to help the players attain their ultimate potential. The US Youth Soccer ODP does provide a systematic method that allows players to advance as far as their abilities allow. It serves as a form of self-evaluation in a system that is recognized by coaches at all levels.
Minnesota United and the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association have partnered to promote and improve the youth soccer environment through the development of collaborative programming and increased engagement with the youth soccer community. With more than 130 affiliated youth clubs and more than 60,000 registered youth soccer players, MYSA is the leader in youth soccer in the state. Working together, MNUFC and MYSA will grow the Olympic Development Program (ODP) by: improving and expanding the player development pathway; creating additional opportunities for coach development; and providing technical support to enhance the youth soccer environment.
MNUFC and MYSA will also work to identify players from unaffiliated, diverse communities where soccer is the sport of choice. Reaching out to these talented players will offer them the opportunity to represent Minnesota with the ODP or as a member of Minnesota United’s Development Academy. Together, MNUFC and MYSA will help Minnesota players, coaches and club coaching directors connect with the highest level of professional soccer in the U.S.
The development of players in Minnesota is primarily the responsibility of our affiliate clubs and US Youth Soccer ODP should not interfere with that development. It is the responsibility of MYSA to supplement that development by identifying and allowing the best players in the state to play along side each other and against other select teams domestically and internationally. The success of US Youth Soccer ODP is a direct result of the quality of players, coaches and level of competition within Minnesota.