US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Wrap up Training Camp with U-18 Women’s National Team

“I would like to congratulate all the players chosen to participate in the US Youth Soccer ODP National Training Camp,” said Heinrichs. “We were excited to see these players compete alongside the Under-18 Women’s National Team for evaluation and possible inclusion in future U.S. National Team activities.”

Santa Clara University Head Coach Jerry Smith and former U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor Mike Dickey led the US Youth Soccer ODP National Camp.“Not many athletes get a chance to get invited to the Olympic Training Center,” said Dickey. “To have the opportunity…it’s once in a lifetime for some. It was great to see these players closer to achieving their ambitions of potentially being World Cup players.”

Players collaborated and scrimmaged with the U-18 U.S. Women’s National Team and also had the opportunity to receive counsel from U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Tom Sermanni, and U.S. Women’s Under-20 Head Coach Michelle French, who also trained the girls in a session.

“All had very encouraging messages on how they valued the US Youth Soccer ODP program and saw it as a wonderful tool for identifying and developing future national team players,” said Smith.“Tom Sermanni thanked the girls for their commitment to the game and talked about the U.S. Women’s National Team and that many players got their start in ODP. April gave quite a bit of advice to the players, and the message she gave on the last day was: thank you for making the match difficult, you put our team under pressure. Michelle French talked about how she enjoyed her years on the Washington Youth Soccer ODP team and how she really felt that it helped her prepare for U.S. Soccer and that now she’s looking forward to tracking ODP players.”Because of her notable performance in the first scrimmage, US Youth Soccer ODP player Megan McCashland was asked by April Heinrichs to train with the U-18 Women’s National Team throughout the week.“She did quite well and in some cases more than held her own with their group,” said Smith. “It’s a great message for both groups. In our group it’s a very clear picture of …if you work hard and focus to do the right things you will be with that team. It’s also great for the U.S. Soccer team to know that these players are on their heels. Megan’s very hard-working. She got a chance, and she made the most of it.”

An added opportunity that the US Youth Soccer ODP girls exclusively received was the chance to be one of the first groups to go through a training regimen with Athletes’ Performance and SKLZ - US Youth Soccer’s official player performance training partner - at their new facility in San Diego. The players received education on strength, conditioning, recovery and nutrition.Other testing during the week included the exact physical and technical assessments which the U-18 U.S. National Team players also completed.

“It really quantified things for our players and helped put things in perspective,” said Smith. “Not only did we get to rank players from our own group, but then we took those numbers and compared them with the players in U.S. Soccer.”“There were so many positives to this joint venture, that I think it’s something we’ll continue to want to do moving forward,” said Smith. “This is mutually beneficial. In the end, this is about soccer development in our country.”US Youth Soccer ODP is the original Olympic development program and with programs in all 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, is available to any player regardless of hometown or club affiliation.

US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League, as well as the majority of current and past national and youth national team members, as alumni.

US Youth Soccer ODP Girls 1996 National Camp Roster:

Region Name Position Club
I    Elysse Branton  DF  BRYC 95 Elite
I    Payton Cook  DF/M  FRichmond Kickers
I    Eva Gordon  FW  Empire Revolution-Syracuse
I    Abigail Pyne  GK  Soccer Plus
II   Shannon Hendricks  DF/MF  Junior Irish
II   Kaitlyn Keen  MF  Carmel United Soccer Club
II   Samantha Kokoska  DF/MF  Carmel United Soccer Club
II   Megan McCashland  DF  Gretna Soccer Club
II   Cassie Phillips  MF  Michigan Hawks
III  Sydney Lurie  MF  Concorde Fire
III  Marnie Merritt  GK  Lake Norman SC
IV   Sarina Bolden  FW  De Anza Force
IV   Madison Gonzalez  FW/MF  Santa Rosa United
IV   Hailey Harbison  MF  Del Mar Sharks Carmel Valley
IV   Mariah Lee  FW  Washington Premiere FC
IV   Stephanie MalherbeMFSoCal Blues
IV   Christina Settles  MF  West Coast F.C.
IV   Pilar Torres  FW  San Diego Surf

For more information on the US Youth Soccer ODP program, visit

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