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Global Apr 14, 2015

ODP Boys Region I teams complete successful international trip

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(Via US Youth Soccer) – The 1999 and 2000 US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) Boys Region I teams just returned from successful tournament play in Spain and Italy respectively.

Players were selected after being evaluated in an ODP tournament and ID camp last summer as well as at the US Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving and Winter Interregionals.

The 1999 team reached the quarterfinals of the Mediterranean International Cup (MIC) in Barcelona, which featured a field of 52 from all over the world. After losing their opening match against Girona (Spain), Region I won four straight against Club Atletico Almafuerte (Argentina), Volendam FC (Netherlands), UE Llagostera (Spain) and Kitchee SC (Hong Kong) before the quarterfinal defeat. The Region I side went 4-2 overall with Matt Sloan (E-NY) and Seraphen Iradukunda (VT) leading the team with two goals each in the tournament.

“The MIC is a huge tournament that features national teams from Brazil, Mexico, Spain like Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the team showed great skill and cohesion in getting to the quarterfinals,” said Keith Tabatznik, US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Region I Head Coach. “Overall it was a fantastic experience playing against these quality teams and the international game first-hand.”

In the quarterfinals, Region I received a rough draw as the squad had to face off against the eventual champion Aspire Academy. Aspire is part of the academy system being funded to develop and find players for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.  Bora Milutinovic, former U.S. National Coach, was in Barcelona as a consultant to Aspire.

“It’s definitely a challenge for us being a select team because we have very little time to get everyone on the same page,” Tabatznik said. “It was a fabulous experience, and the growth of the players over the week was definitely noticeable. The players were able to experience the challenge of being called into a team and compete at their highest level. ”

The 2000 team claimed third place in the “Citta Di Porino Tourino” with a 1-0 win over Gothenburg (Sweden).  The team narrowly missed playing in the final as they tied Toronto FC Academy 1-1 in the semis, but lost 4-3 on penalty kicks.  The tournament MVP was given to Andrew Rodgers (VA) from Virginia who led Region I to a 3-1-1 record.

“One of the big reasons why we do these international trips is to bring kids out of their comfort zone. These trips are the diamond of US Youth Soccer ODP and for eight or nine days players are exposed to a different level of play, soccer culture, food and traveling conditions,” Tabatznik said. “It also gives them an experience beyond soccer, and they will come back and make their club, high school and state teams better.”

US Youth Soccer ODP Boys 1999 Region I Roster

State Association First Name Last Name Club Name
Eastern New York Blake Aronson South Huntington SC
Pennsylvania West Andrew Chwalik Northern Steel
Virginia Edison Giron Arlington Soccer Association
Massachusetts Diego Guerrero Soccer Association of Columbia
Pennsylvania West Reginald Holt Century V
New Jersey Matthew Howlett SDFC
Vermont Seraphen Iradukunda
Eastern Pennsylvania Sebastian Kelly Central PA Youth Soccer League
Virginia Ethan Lannon Springfield South County Youth Club
Connecticut Zachary Lopes FSA
Virginia Alejandro Maldonado-Romero Arlington Soccer Association
Pennsylvania West Adam Mascio Arsenal
Eastern New York Tyler McElhinney
New Jersey Donald Nicol Soccer Domain Football Club
New Jersey Mason Remondelli Holmdel NJX
Eastern New York James Schubauer III East Meadow Soccer Club
Eastern New York Matthew Sloan NY Hota
Eastern New York Samuel Steinberg Dix Hills Soccer Club

US Youth Soccer ODP Boys 2000 Region I Roster

State Association First Name Last Name Club Name
Virginia Connor Andrews Arlington Soccer Association
Virginia Paul Bangura Arlington SA
Eastern New York Matthew Barresi Dix Hills
Connecticut Payton Blynn CT Football Club (CFC)
West Virginia Joseph Borneo Fury Soccer Club
Massachusetts Nathaniel Cardoza GPS-MA
Virginia John Colucci Alexandria Soccer Association
Eastern New York Nicholas Gaviria Dix Hills
Virginia Bret Halsey Loudoun Soccer
Virginia Connor Hester Braddock Road Youth Club
Virginia Seungmin Kang Braddock Road Youth Club
Virginia Bardia Kimiavi Braddock Road Youth Club
Eastern New York Leo Musacchia Dix Hills Soccer club
Vermont Antonio Pugliese Synergy FC
Virginia Andrew Rogers FC Milan / VSA
Virginia Joshua Salinas FASA Elite Hotspurs
Connecticut Jean Viruet Academica Futebol Club

Tabatznik identified the annual US Youth Soccer ODP Interregionals in November and December as critical stepping stones for getting his team prepared for these international trips.

“The players are competing together for the first time since the summer. At the interregionals we try to play within our 4-3-3 system with possession, but with the psychological mindset of wanting to get out of the group,” Tabatznik said. “The interregionals are a good way to prepare for the international tournaments and it is another stage of what I call the ‘ODP Advantage.’”

The ODP Advantage, which includes ODP interregionals, region championships, national championships, and ID camps among other things, will continue with the US Youth Soccer ODP Boys Region I 1997, 1998 and 2001 age groups traveling to play in France, Germany and Italy.

“I think our success in these tournaments shows a lot about what level US Youth Soccer ODP is at right now and the depth of the player pool despite players who cannot participate due to being in the academy,” Tabatznik said. “We are doing everything we can to continue to offer these trips because we feel they are not matched by any program outside US Youth Soccer.”

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