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The Olympic Development Program was formed to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a National Team will be selected for international competition; to provide high-level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels; and, through the use of carefully selected, licensed coaches, develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculum to improve all levels of coaching.
The purpose of the Olympic Development Program is to identify players of the highest caliber for U.S. National Teams. It is therefore believed continued consistent identification of this caliber player will lead to increased success in the international arena.
In 1977 it became evident to then United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) Chairman, Don Greer, that with the vast geographic area of the United States and the meteoric rise in membership, some method had to be devised to identify the especially gifted soccer players who were potential National Team members. Thus, the original USYSA Select Team Program was formed with Peter Jebens as the first National Chairman.
Following the format of other USYSA committees, one member was appointed from each of the four Regions. This committee then met and formulated the basic policies for the Program. The primary purpose then, as now, was to identify and then train a pool of players to represent the United States in international competitions for youth national teams.
In 1979 Ozzie Gencoz of Seattle, Washington replaced Peter Jebens as National Chairman, and from his professional background as an aeronautical engineer came flow charts, multi-year plans and an expanding organization for the Select Team Program. State Associations were encouraged to develop programs which supported and worked in tandem with National and Regional programs. 1982 saw the beginning of a formalized program for girls with the addition of a full committee (one member from each Region), also under Ozzie Gencoz's direction.
From 1982 until the present, international events for youth national teams have increased substantially and the USYSA Select Team Program has kept pace by instituting trials and player pools for five age groups in the boys' program, and three age groups in the girls' program. Also keeping pace with current needs was the renaming of the program, first to "Junior Olympic Development Program" and then to "Olympic Development Program" as it is known today.
There are two National Chairmen, one for the girls' program and one for the boys' program, each with a committee comprised of one administrator and one coach from each Region. Within each Region, each State Association has an Olympic Development Administrator and State Select Team Coach. Many states conduct five programs for boys (13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 years of age) and four programs for girls (14, 16, 17 and 19 years of age). The selection process requires a player to comply with his or her State Association's requirements for tryouts and, if successful, will be named as a member of the State Team. Regions conduct camps and/ or competitions for the State Teams from which a Regional Team is selected. The National Team Program utilizes a National Camp and/or Competition for the four Regional Teams where the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) National Coaches select a player pool for their respective USSF National Teams.
Additional information can be obtained by calling 1-800-4-SOCCER.