The Olympic Development Program, also known as O.D.P., is the highest level of youth soccer in the United States. It is a team made up of the best players in the state. And every state has an O.D.P. team. Each state belongs to one of four regions. Each region has its own week-long summer training camp. Besides being a camp, it has the tryouts for that region's team, which consists of the best players in that specific area.
I play for Region 1, on the New Hampshire team. Region 1 consists of Connecticut, Delaware, East New York, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York West, Pennsylvania West, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
I have participated in this camp twice and am anticipating this year. The results have been very promising and well worth the sweat and tears.
I am a goalkeeper, so I participate in the keeper sessions. At camp, you receive hard, intense training sessions twice a day, and a friendly game against another state at the end of the day.
To survive and excel at this camp you have to be a strong, serious player. It is a lot of hard work. But if you use it and try to learn as much as you can, you will improve and feel good.
By the end of the week, after playing soccer all day and partying at night, people are ready to pass out from exhaustion. This is when people get lazy and start getting hurt. So you have to concentrate very hard.
This is also the time for the cuts for the regional team. I have never made it, but I'm working very hard for it this year. I can say that if I was in the running for the team, I would do everything I could to push myself hard enough to make it.
After going to this camp and expanding my play because of it, I realize that hard work and dedication, will bring success and glory! L
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.