Soccer is a sport that thrives on passion, dedication, and talent. While the world may recognize the names of superstar players on the international stage, the journey to greatness starts at the grassroots level. US Club Soccer's ID2 and Player Development Program (PDP), is a vital stepping stone for young talents aspiring to reach the highest echelons of the sport. Next Saturday, August 26th, the Great Lakes Alliance (GLA) has once again been selected by US Club Soccer to host this incredible player development and identification opportunity. Nominated players representing GLA member clubs from around the region will convene at Lost Nations Sports Park in Willoughby, Ohio to showcase their abilities. Great Lakes Alliance is an OSMD Insider and paid paid sponsor of Ohio Soccer Moms and Dads.
A Platform for Elite Youth Soccer Players
Established in 2004, US Club Soccer's ID2 Program has carved a niche as a premier platform for identifying and nurturing exceptional young soccer players. With the guidance of Program directors Gerry McKeown (boys) and Tricia Taliaferro (girls), the program presents a golden opportunity for the nation's finest youth soccer players to be identified, developed, and scouted for potential inclusion in U.S. Soccer's National Team programs.
“We have been collaborating with US Club soccer on player focused initiatives for a long time and ID2 is always one of my favorite programs,” shared Great Lakes Alliance Director Ed Bernstein. “Our involvement in ID2 and PDP represents more than just another player identification program; it provides players of our member clubs with more authentic opportunities and more direct exposure to US Soccer identification without the obstacle of cost.”
This initiative does hold the distinction of being an Olympic Development Program (ODP) approved by both the United States Olympic Committee and the U.S. Soccer Federation, underscoring its credibility and significance within the soccer community. Setting itself apart from other ODP events, ID2 does not pass along any costs to players to be identified for or participate in the ID2 Program. The camp hosted by Great Lakes Alliance later this month is provided free of charge to all participating players. Later, for players who are identified for ID2 Training Camps, all lodging, meals and training gear are provided at no cost and are all covered by US Club Soccer and their sponsors. For National Selection programming even airfare/travel is provided. Bernstein emphasized that “ID2 is squarely focused on identifying talented players and eliminating economic obstacles, in alignment with the Players First Philosophy of US Club Soccer”
A Showcase of Talent and Opportunity
This year's event, hosted by the Great Lakes Alliance (GLA), promises to be an exciting juncture for both the participating players and the member clubs. Nominated players from GLA Member clubs will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and potential. “Players will be selected from this event to represent the GLA in Chicago at the Midwest NPL Select Games in November,” share Bernstein. The magnitude of this opportunity is underscored by the fact that this year's Midwest NPL Select Games has been designated as a Tier 1 ID2 Scouting event by US Club Soccer. Bernstein added that “Due to the success of last year’s Select Games, US Club Soccer has chosen to make this event a Tier 1 ID2 scouting event.” Making the event a unique opportunity for exposure and an experience every one of these players is hoping to participate in.
From the GLA ID2 and PDP event players will be identified to participate in the Midwest NPL Regional Games. Having been identified as a Tier 1 Identification event, players will be observed and potentially identified to continue in the ID2 process. Players who are identified to continue in the program may earn the opportunity to participate in training camps, competitions and potentially international training and playing events.
Training Camps: Forging Excellence
Central to the ID2 Program's success are its comprehensive training camps. The camps offer a unique experience for young talents to train with and against some of the nation's best players in their age group. These camps also provide opportunities for young players to work with top coaches and be scouted by U.S. Soccer staff. Beyond on-field sessions, the camps feature guest speakers, classroom sessions, and a diverse range of learning experiences.
Founding Principles Driving Excellence
The ID2 Program's philosophy is built upon principles that resonate with soccer's core values of inclusivity and development.
Inclusivity: The program welcomes players regardless of their U.S. Soccer affiliation.
Accessibility: Participation in the program comes at no cost to players, encompassing all lodging, meals, and training gear.
Club Integration: The program values the role of clubs in player development, recognizing coaches and competitions as integral components.
Holistic Evaluation: Player selection is based on objective scouting and insights from their regular trainers and coaches.
Balanced Schedule: The program ensures that participation does not burden elite players' calendars.
A Legacy of Excellence
The impact of the ID2 Program is evident in the success stories it has nurtured. Notable soccer talents like Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, Lindsey Horan, Malory Swanson, and Trinity Rodman emerged from the ID2 Program, now representing the pinnacle of soccer achievement on the global stage.
US Club Soccer's ID2 and PDP initiatives are not just about creating soccer players; they are about cultivating well-rounded individuals who carry the spirit of the game into every aspect of their lives. The event hosted by the Great Lakes Alliance on August 26th is poised to be another chapter in the narrative of excellence and ambition, where young dreams collide with opportunities that propel them towards success.