ODP. The Olympic Development Program. This is a very controversial area of American Youth Soccer with lots of opinions regarding it. Today I will be giving you my honest thoughts as someone who has done ODP in the past.
Just to give you guys some background information, I did ODP during the 2017 season and made it all the way from my local tryout to the State Team and played in friendlies against the Arkansas State Team, Louisiana State team, and the Houston Dynamo Development Academy. Overall, I had a great experience and lots of fun. What the ODP "season" looked like was about 6 training events throughout the state of Texas. These were held every 3-4 weeks and were anywhere from 30 minutes away from my house to 3 hours! Over the course of these 6 events the coaches cut some players and pushed other players through to the next stage. They probably started out with 250 kids and by the end of it had cut it down to around 30.
Now that I have explained to you guys a little more about ODP its time to share my opinion. I think ODP is a great training/playing opportunity to do as a supplement to your normal team training. If you go in with the expectation of: This is a chance to play more soccer and have some fun. Then you will be very satisfied with your experience. But, if you go in with the expectation of making the National Team from it... you might be a little disappointed. The US Youth National team system selects players from the D.A. league and watches them during there season to see who they want for the different teams. They don't normally scout from ODP. This is because in the US, the players playing in the Development Academy league are considered to be the best players. And DA players aren't allowed to play High School Soccer or ODP. So if most people believe that the best players are in the DA, then they won't come watch the "worse" players in ODP or High School Soccer.
In conclusion, I think ODP is great if you come at it with the right mindset. My one piece of advice would be to enjoy yourself. Also, always try to put out your best performance because you never know who is watching. Let me know what you think of ODP and your ODP experiences down in the comments below.