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What do you know about ODP?

When I was growing up ODP was THE platform for player exposure. Local clubs were not playing showcases in the volume we have now and academy level play was only on the national level, so to be seen you had to do ODP. The sentiment and the reality are much different now.

Four years ago I had my then U11 year old participate in ODP. His previous club director was so against ODP (but he was also against futsal, supplemental training and sending players to the Crew Academy and player development events) that when his new coach not only encouraged it but also signed his own son up we got excited at the prospect. Unfortunately, for his age group there really wasn't a selection process. Anyone who wanted to, was able to move along and the journey ended at the festival weekend. In my opinion ODP lacked vision and leadership. There wasn't a real effort in place to attract players.

I'm asked all of the time "What do you know about ODP?" my response has evolved throughout the years but I've landed on 3 points.

  1. ODP has changed a lot throughout the years. OSA has committed a lot of resources into the program and this year will be a renaissance of sorts. More effort has been put into attracting quality coaches and elite level players. These efforts should help Ohio represent well at the regional and national level.

  2. Try it once. Unfortunately it is not inexpensive to ride the ODP train. Each stage has its own fees associated with it and there are lots of conflicts. You might miss out on other soccer opportunities such as summer camps, international trips and summer leagues (Super Y, 3v3 series, ID Camps) but even at that risk you should try it once. See how far you can go and then decide for yourself the next year if it is worth doing again.

  3. ODP is good. Its good for players, its good for you and its good for your club. Participating in ODP gives your player an opportunity to meet and play with new players, they learn new formations, new styles and have to be adaptable. Parents meet new parents, new coaches and learn more about the soccer landscape in their own backyard. Clubs gain visibility, showcase the results of their brand of soccer and get credit for tournament seeding based on their regional and state pool players.

If you have the means and have the time, I do recommend you try out ODP at least once. Even if you can't make it to every session its worth coming out for at least one weekend.

ODP is not the place to receive supplemental training and it will not replace your club or traditional team but it can be very helpful. You can see how other players play, find out where they do their supplemental training and identify clubs you can appreciate and meet parents that are like minded. Unlike club soccer tryouts, no one is trying to sell you on anything the atmosphere is very friendly and pretty chill.

For more information on ODP you can visit our post of information that was provided by Ohio Soccer Association's Bill Glaze or visit the ODP Website. The last day for ODP Registrations is November 1, 2021 and ODP Phase 1 events will run through the month of November.

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