When the Tennessee Olympic Development Program (ODP) decided to move up its 2022-23 seasonal tryouts, a key reason that program administrators made that call was to provide additional training and developmental opportunities for ODP participants. Tennessee ODP recently took advantage of this earlier start date by hosting its first weekend of sessions for the new seasonal year, and 2009-10 female ODP players had the chance to take part in clinics that were run by Vic Campbell, a former associate head coach at the University of Florida who is also a veteran ODP coach and evaluator.
“Coming into this season, we took a closer look at the timing of ODP tryouts, and we found that our previous tryout dates had led to conflicts for many players because they were taking place after the start of the seasonal year,” said Bryan Johnson, TSSA Director of Player Development. “After doing our own research and also speaking with other state associations, we determined that our best course of action was to move up the dates of our ODP tryouts to when teams were not in season yet. Not only did this increase the overall participation in our tryouts, but it also enabled us to introduce a new weekend of training sessions that were not previously available.”
The first ODP training sessions of the new season took place over Labor Day Weekend, and more than 400 players participated in this developmental opportunity. By hosting these early sessions, Tennessee ODP finds itself well ahead of where it would normally be at this point in the season. In addition to the expanded training schedule, the move was also made in an effort to avoid any conflicts with clubs and teams throughout the state. ODP positions itself as an additional developmental tool for its participants, and the program maintains an initiative to impact a player’s club environment as little as possible.
Another benefit of the early tryouts was the ability for Tennessee ODP to host an additional training opportunity for 2009 and 2010 girls, which came via clinics that were run by veteran coach and talent evaluator Vic Campbell. Hosted at the Richard Seigel Soccer Complex in Murfreesboro, Campbell led two days of sessions that focused on developmental training and values to help participants become more complete players. Among the many notable players who were coached by Campbell at the University of Florida include Danielle Fotopoulos, Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach, and the former Gator associate head coach has also worked as an ODP coach and evaluator at the state, regional and national levels.
The connection with Campbell and the Tennessee State Soccer Association (TSSA) originates in the summer of 2021, when TSSA Director of Player Development Bryan Johnson worked with Campbell during a US Youth Soccer ODP regional event. Their preexisting relationship is what ultimately led to Tennessee hosting this weekend of sessions for 2009-10 ODP girls.
“This was a great event, and we hope to feature more coaches like Vic in the future,” said Hans Hobson, TSSA Chief Operating Officer.
The Olympic Development Program is an identification system linked to the United States Soccer Federation and US Youth Soccer. The program offers its players a pathway that could lead to representing Regional and U.S. Youth National Teams. Originally established in 1977, ODP was the first program in the country designed to identify potential youth national team players. ODP players begin initially at the local sector before progressing to the state, regional and possibly national levels. By playing with like-talented athletes, ODP offers the opportunity for players to advance in their personal development and to be scouted by college coaches.
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