ENY 1999 Boys South ODP team goes for National Championship
(Via Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association) – Last June, the 1999 Boys South Olympic Development Program (ODP) Team from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) qualified for Nationals by winning Regionals with an undefeated 5-0-0 record.
Tomorrow in Phoenix, Eastern New York will play in the national semifinals against North Carolina. The winner of that game takes on the winner of the Minnesota-Washington State semifinal for the national championship on Sunday, February 28.
Ralph Pascarella coaches the team of boys born in 1999 who live in either Long Island or New York City and he is assisted by Graham Radcliffe.
“The team is worked very hard to prepare for the upcoming Nationals,” said Coach Pascarella. “We’ve had several indoor training sessions focusing on the ODP principles we implemented last spring, emphasizing possession and building from the back. In addition, we are organizing our boys plus reviewing the tactics and strategies which we hope will enable us to come home as national champions.”
Eastern New York’s team administrators were able to secure indoor facilities for the team to train and Adelphi University provided great support in making their outdoor turf fields available for the team to practice on after the snow cleared.
ODP is considered the highest level of competition in the state. Each year, players must be re-evaluated by the ODP professional staff of coaches for a position on each age-specific team. The identification process ends each summer with the most elite players within Region 1 competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by United States Soccer Federation (USSF) staff coaches for possible entry to the national teams program. Yet even those players who do not make the Region 1 or the national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even on to professional soccer.
“We are very fortunate and excited to have this opportunity to represent Eastern New York and Region 1 in this prestigious national tournament,” commented Coach Pascarella. “This group is a very special team, a once in a lifetime group. Win or lose, they are unbelievable kids with great talent and even better character and commitment.”
Also representing Eastern New York at ODP Nationals is the 2000 Girls South ODP Team.