US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional Day 1 Recap
BOCA RATON, Fla. (Via US Youth Soccer) — The annual US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Thanksgiving Interregional began Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla., with the 2000, 2002 and 2003 age groups starting the action.
The six-day tournament, which will take place Nov. 20-25 at Spanish River Athletic Park and Florida Atlantic University, will feature the teams in the 1999-2003 age groups comprised of the top female players in the country.
The nearly 400 participating players were selected from US Youth Soccer State Association and Regional level evaluations. Throughout the week, players will attend training sessions and compete in matches against other Regions, in front of U.S. Soccer national staff and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play.
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis was among those in attendance on Sunday, as she watched the U.S. Under-14 Girls National Team take on the Region IV 2000 squad. Ellis talked about the value of US Youth Soccer ODP, which has helped develop many current and former national team players.
“ODP is a platform that obviously a lot of our players have come through,” Ellis said. “It allows coaches to come in here and watch players by bringing a talented group together. ODP does that — it gets players together and puts on showcases like this, and that’s very important.”
Highlights from Day 1:
2003s | Region III 1, Region IV 1
Region III and Region IV opened up play in the 2003 age group with a 1-1 draw on Sunday. The Region III squad maintained a majority of pressure in the first half, but Region IV keeper Olivia Juarez reacted well to stop Region III’s most dangerous chance — a low drive following a 15th-minute corner. Region III finally broke through shortly after halftime when Ayo Oke applied high pressure, forced a turnover and directed the loose ball into the net. Region IV responded shortly after in the 47th minute, as Mia Solorio-Smith placed her shot into an open net to level the score at 1-1. Haley Duca nearly put Region III back in front late in the game, but her attempt hit the crossbar and stayed out. That proved to be the game’s last major chance, as the teams settled for the 1-1 draw.
2003s | Region I 2, Region II 0
The Region I 2003 team started its week with a 2-0 win against Region II. Late in the first half, Region I grabbed the lead when Kelly Monaco ran on to a bouncing ball and leaped to flick a header over the keeper and into the vacated net. Facing a deficit, Region II pushed for an equalizer but couldn’t break down the Region I defense. With the play stretched in the 68th minute, Payton Patrick finished off a quick attack by placing her shot past the keeper to seal the 2-0 shutout victory for Region I.
2002s | Region I 2, Region IV 1
After conceding in the game’s opening minutes, Region I fought back to claim a 2-1 victory over Region IV in the 2002 age group. Smith Hunter helped create the quick early goal for Region IV, as she sent in a dangerous low cross that CeCe Cross placed into the left side netting to put her team up, 1-0. Both teams exchanged some dangerous chances but the keepers were up to the task, and the game went to half with Region IV holding on to the 1-0 lead. Region I’s Grace Murphy changed that in the 54th minute when her attempt off of a rebound found the back of the net. That set up Chloe DeLyser’s game-winner in the 77th minute, as the Region I midfielder slipped her left-footed attempt inside the right post to give her side the 2-1 win.
2002s | Region II 2, Region III 0
Region II put on a strong display to come away with a 2-0 shutout win over Region III in the 2002 age group. Amelia Horton put Region II in front with a breakthrough goal in the 11th minute, and that strike proved to be the difference for much of the contest. A nice piece of team play led to Taylor Huff’s insurance goal in the 51st minute, as the midfielder received a well-weighted chipped pass behind the Region III back line and fired a shot inside the far post to double the Region II advantage. The Region II defense saw out the final half-hour of play to secure the clean sheet and 2-0 victory.
2000s | U.S. U-14 GNT 4, Region IV 2
A couple of goals on either side of halftime helped the U.S. Under-14 Girls National Team come away with a 4-2 win against the Region IV 2000 team. The U.S. U-14 GNT took a 21st-minute lead before Region IV’s Jaelyn Eisenhart converted a penalty kick to level the score. The U.S. team regained the lead with a well-placed shot in the 36th minute and pushed the advantage to 3-1 shortly after halftime. Following a 63rd-minute insurance goal for the U.S., Vanessa Mejia got behind the GNT defenders and slid her shot past the keeper to pull Region IV within two goals. However, the U.S. held on in the final few minutes to claim the 4-2 victory.