ODP Region IV Pool Camp – Nicole Lee (Nikki) U14


Nikki-and-SydneyI had the opportunity to attend Olympic Development Regional Pool Camp in Camarillo, CA from July 29 – Aug. 2, 2013.   The top sixty soccer players from the thirteen western states (Region IV) were invited to train and compete against each other.  We were selected based on our performance at various Olympic development events.  Selected Regional Pool players may have an opportunity to play in national and international events.
While at camp, we practiced for two hours in the morning.  We worked on stretching the field (going wider when you have possession of the ball), keeping the possession of the ball, and goal scoring. After the practice, we had lunch and then scrimmaged in the afternoon.  It was different from other training events because the level of play was always super-fast and competitive.  Everyone had a good first touch, good vision on the field, and was able to drive the ball down the field.  Players passed quickly and accurately without interceptions.  It was physically and mentally challenging.  At the end of the day, we went to the classrooms for lectures and instructions.  We learned the importance of a positive attitude while on the field, secrets to goal scoring, and achieving goals.
The coaching was really helpful.  They explained drills and gave us tips on how to better receive the ball.  There were many coaches from various colleges as well as the youth national team coach. One of the coaches was Brandi Chastain.  They inspired us to work harder and learn more. They showed us video clips on how to become a national team player.  Every night they taught us what they expected us to practice the next day.
In addition to soccer training, I got to experience dorm life as a thirteen year old at the California State University Channel Islands.  We ate at the college cafeteria which was surprisingly okay. There was a lot of variety to choose from. I also met new friends. There were 4 to 6 girls in each room.  In my room I had girls from Oregon, SoCal, and Hawaii. We played crazy games in the dorms and listened to Hawaiian stories. We became friends and I look forward to staying in touch with them.
Regional Pool Camp was so much fun.  It was a wonderful experience to play with some of the best players and receive great training.  I got to meet new friends from many different places.  I learned so much at camp and it inspired me to work even harder at soccer. I have a better sense on what it’s going to take to be a top notch player.  It was an amazing opportunity and I am thankful for all the guidance and coaching that has brought me to this point.