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USYS Dec 18, 2020

New Jersey Youth Soccer hosts annual ODP Friendlies Tournament

Jackson Township, N.J. – This past weekend, New Jersey Youth Soccer conducted its annual NJ Olympic Development Program (ODP) Friendlies Tournament.

Players throughout the state came together to participate in high level soccer games, which were conducted in a round robin format that was designed to give state representatives an opportunity to display their skills in front of their coaches while preparing for upcoming tournaments.

“This past weekend, NJ ODP bore witness to an impressive landscape of players and coaches who share the common goal of representing the state of New Jersey, Region and ultimately the Nation,” said Coach Homere Breton, ODP Director of the Junior age groups.

The NJ ODP Friendlies were the most recent series of events scheduled during the season. Each team played two games that served as a tool to help the ODP coaches further analyze their squads.

“I absolutely loved the event,” said Ashley Denti, ODP Girls Head Coach. “It gave us a great opportunity to work with the statewide talent that New Jersey brings to the game. These girls came to play.”

Players from more than 100 NJ Youth Soccer member clubs had the opportunity to build on-field chemistry with their ODP teammates.

“I thought it was really good,” said Ally Beekman of the 2007 ODP Girls team. “It was good to be able to play as a team and be together. We did really well considering it was our first time playing together.”

The NJ ODP Friendlies took place in Jackson Township, whose officials worked with the NJ ODP staff to provide a safe environment for our players.

“I think it’s great that they (ODP) were able to bring something together,” said Jackie Gialanella, ODP parent. “The teams were evenly matched, and it was fun to watch.”

The New Jersey State Referee Committee provided Referee Mentors to share professional development feedback with each of the attending young referees.

Next up for NJ ODP is the winter phase of the program, where players will take part in a Mental Toughness and Tactical Awareness webinar before again participating in either an interstate or intrastate tournament, depending on the status of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We put together a contingency plan that gives our players the opportunity to compete and play regardless of the interstate travel guidelines,” said Lou Mignone, NJ ODP Coaching Director. “Our program is ready to carry on in a safe way and adapt as the year goes on.”