This previous weekend I had the honor of attending the Region IV ODP Championships for 2016. I play for Cal North 99Gs and have played with them for 5 years. I have attending this event for the past 3 years and once again, it was a great experience all around. We had some climate difficulties that resulted in having one of our games rained out but it was handled well by the ODP staff and we were able to get through it. My team and I had to be patient in our pending games but we were able to maintain our composure and perform well. We made it to the semi-finals but lost against Utah in a well-played 70 minute game. It was a busy and trying trip but a very good experience.
This year when I traveled for ODP it was a lot of fun. I always enjoy all of the new experiences that I get every year threw this program. I think having my teammate there to experience it with me this year was great. ODP has given me the opportunity to meet players that I would have not normally met. I think that it has also given me a lot more experience then my other club teammates because I get to see the highest level of competition and you get to travel. In the end, this year in Arizona I had the best time and having a fun coach also made everything more fun!
When I first went to the ODP trainings, and when I first arrived in Arizona I felt extremely nervous. But, I had to realize that I wasn’t the only nervous one there. There were many other states and girls right by my side who were nervous as well. Many of them being my wonderful teammates. I think that the biggest challenge for me was playing with girls I barely knew before. But, I think that is part of the experience. You form an unbelievable bond with girls you only see for a week or so. I will always remember all the moments where we were just always there for each other throughout the trip. I know that we couldn’t have played so well without everyone on the team. After all it is not the individual but the team who is the ultimate champion. When we let a goal in, when we didn’t move on to the semi finals, of course we were disappointed but we knew it would be fine. We had each other, and at the end of the day all that mattered was we are a team, and that we stuck together. My biggest highlight was defiantly the first goal we scored. We all jumped off our feet and we were so excited. We couldn’t have been happier. One thing I learned was to always keep working. This was a very important thing for this team during Arizona. We had to keep working until the final whistle blew. Overall, I was super happy that I got the amazing opportunity to compete in Arizona. I had a great time and couldn’t have asked for a better experience!
– Ashley Belshe
ODP has been one of my goals I’ve been striving for since playing soccer competitively. Being selected for the traveling 18 player roster for ODP was rewarding and exciting. I felt like all those missed birthday parties and school events in lieu of training had paid off.
My first tournament was in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a TEAM event, no parents are allowed to travel with or stay at the same hotel. I thought, “What stay in a room with four girls I barely know for five days?” As different we may all have been from each other, we all had one thing in common, we all shared the same passion and desire for the game of soccer.
Arriving at the event, I saw the score sheets with all the different states competing and a “check in list” for college coaches. I felt a little important, and enormous respect. Respect for the players, respect for the event, and respect for the game.
Although, some games were cancelled due to the rain. Our team played well in the games we did play. The experience of playing for new coaches, new players, new playbook was amazing.
We had some down time because of the rain but, we had fun getting to know each other, playing games, shopping, and of course lots of group selfies.
This experience has left me wanting to push myself even more so one day, one of those coaches on the “Check In List” is looking for me.
– Maddy Goldberg
After 2 years of working hard to make it out of the pool and onto the traveling team, I finally did it. Coming in as the only eighth grader I was pretty nervous and didn’t know what to expect from all the high age soccer players. Despite everything, it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I experience a new level of play but I met many new friends that I hope to keep for the rest of my life.
– Kieran Wallace
After coming home from Arizona and thinking back on the trip it was an amazing experience to represent Cal North and meet many new friends. The level of competition is very high and requires you to be at the top of your game. It is awesome to be able to showcase your talents in front of Regional and college coaches. Our team shared many laughs together as we all became so close on and off the field. The games were so enjoyable as team mates supported each other through everything. We were lucky to have 3 coaches join us. They were all very encouraging and were able to connect with each player and provide different views on the game. Overall a life changing and I’m happy I got to be apart of it!
– Allison Brecher
I am proud to have been a member of the Cal North ODP team for the past two seasons– what an amazing experience! Going into regionals, I was nervous, despite having been on the trip last year, because I knew that this would be the last chance we had as a team to win the tournament. I definitely felt the pressure, but I knew that I had to perform in order to prove myself. One of the hardest things for me was overcoming my doubt, since last year, I didn’t play as well as I knew I could have, and I also realized that I had already proven that I was a great player by making it onto the team, so I knew that I was capable of playing to my greatest potential. As we were driving to the first game, my apprehension was growing, but I did not want a repeat of last year– I wanted to show that all the doubt that had limited my play had been replaced with confidence. To calm down and assure myself that I could have a phenomenal weekend, I listed all the things that I excelled at on the field and everything I was capable of doing in my head, which I think really helped bolster my play over the three days.
As I had hoped, my performance this time around was a vast improvement over the previous year. Specifically, I felt that I was more successful in 1v1 defending, plus I was able to get forward more and contribute to the attack, which I think was a positive contribution to my team’s offense. I overcame the mental block that held me back from reaching the level I could play at, and ignored all fatigue and pain until the last whistle blew. My play overall was definitely stronger this year, which I am very proud about. Although we didn’t make it as far this year, I personally felt that the weekend was positive overall. I learned that hard work and persistence pays off, and that it is extremely important to not only focus on the physical part of the game, but also the mental aspect, because any doubt can limit the extent to which you can succeed. Mental strength and discipline is the key to a confident, strong performance on the field. I found that over this short time, I was able to grow as a player and learn how to prepare before a game so that I can play my very best.
– Mariah Brown