Elite Player Development (10-12 years old)
Updated 12/18/2014


Elite Player Development

Alabama Soccer Association

Mission: The Elite Player Development program is a precursor to the Olympic Development Program (ODP) designed to offer elite male and female youth soccer players aged 10-12 years old additional training to compliment the training they receive within their club.  The EPD program offers an opportunity for the Alabama Soccer Association staff to become familiar with and train some of Alabama’s upcoming talent.  The emphasis is on individual player development, with specific attention on technical growth.

Core Principles:

1) To encourage individual player development through technical skills training (juggling will be included in every session)

2) To teach each player basic goalkeeper skill development to include handling, shot stopping, and distribution

3) Teach individual and small group tactics based on the foundations of the Principles of Play, (Attacking, defending, transition)

4) To foster an environment for competitive players to seek additional training with likeminded players

5) To promote the game of soccer here in Alabama by supporting local colleges and universities and by developing coaches within the US Soccer Curriculum

Program: The regionalized training sessions will be ~1.5 hours long and will be based on US Soccer Curriculum and conducted by licensed coaches.  If numbers permit, the format will be stations of activities where groups of developmentally appropriate players will rotate among the different coaches/stations.  Goalkeeping will be included in every session for ALL players. The EPD Coaching Staff will follow a curriculum that is based off of the U.S. Soccer Curriculum.  Each session will finish with small sided games.  Club coaches will also be invited to the sessions to continue their development and familiarity with the U.S. Soccer Curriculum.

Players need to understand that they may not be grouped with their friends/teammates.  We want to encourage players to learn to play with and against different players.  Players will be split into a group for that session.  The groups may change from session to session (and even within sessions) so players need to remain flexible and open to the challenge.  Genders will be mixed; boys and girls will play together.

There are around 20 events scheduled throughout the state and we have structured the schedule so that we have 3-4 events in each of the following areas- North Alabama (Huntsville/Decatur), Central Alabama (Birmingham/Alabaster/Gadsden), South Central Alabama (Montgomery), West Central Alabama (Tuscaloosa/Demopolis), and South Alabama (Mobile).

If the fall season goes well, we will build on it for the spring.

Cost: $50 for the Initial Registration for the Fall 2014 Program.  This will cover admin fees and one training t-shirt for the fall only.  Non-ASA members will need to pay an additional $20 per player to register with USYS (this includes all AYSO and US Club Registrants). All players will be required to register and pay for each Training Event that they attend.  Each event will cost between $10-$20.  Players are strongly encouraged to plan to attend at least 3 sessions to benefit from the program. 

Registration:  Open to ASA registered male and female players aged 10-12 years old (please see below for 9 years old, or for players turning 13 during the time frame).  Players will self-select into this program so we encourage that players with the desire to be around other elite players should register. Registration will be open August 13.  Please register for each Training Event at least one week prior to the event so that the appropriate number of coaches can be scheduled. There are no refunds or prorated charges.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW FOR THE INTIAL REGISTRATION.  Once you complete the Initial Registration, you will be sent a confirmation email that will include the link to register for the Training Events (this email usually takes 5-15 minutes after you complete it, depending on how busy the server is during that time).  Please do not share the Training Event Registration link with others.  If you are experiencing registration issues, please contact Program Administrator Martha Disko atmartha@alsoccer.org or 205-991-9779.

What do I need to bring?:  Players will be issued a training t-shirt at the first training event.  You must first complete the initial registration.  The training shirt must be worn at all training sessions.  Players should bring their own soccer ball, shin guards, and something to drink.  Most importantly, bring a great attitude! 

Parents are encouraged to attend, but must be as silent observers.  Any parent coaching from the sidelines will be asked to leave.

Notice: **Some of the events are scheduled with/around an opportunity to watch a collegiate soccer match.  Players are encouraged to attend, but will not be supervised by the EPD staff.  Therefore, parents/guardians should plan to have a chaperone there with their children.  This will hopefully become a great family event.  Some colleges and universities might require an admission fee.** 

9 Years Old or 13 Years Old Players: Some players that are 9 years old may be capable of participating in EPD, however, we want to make sure that it is a good fit.  Therefore, your club Director of Coaching must email State Technical Director Zac Crawford @ zac@alsoccer.org stating that they believe the player will be a good fit for the program.  Players that will turn 13 during the fall season will also be allowed to participate.

Make-Up Policy: If an event is cancelled due to weather, your registration fees for that event will be applied to the next scheduled event in your area.


MBFC U14 Girls brave the cold in Gainesville, Georgia for ODP Sub-regional play
MBFC U14 girls: Hailey Brewer, Virginia Witherington, and Chloe Martin were all bundled up for playing this weekend in Gainesville, GA for the ODP Sub-Regional event.  As you can see, the girls were happy to be playing soccer this weekend. 
Congratulations to ODP Players
Added 12/19/2013
Congratulations to Alex Wichmann, Jacob Moody, Salia Carr (not pictured), and Maria Verde for making their respective ODP pools.
MBFC & Coaching Staff are very proud of these young players.  










ODP Overview

 Purpose: The mission of the Alabama Soccer Association is to identify and train the elite player, providing opportunities for these potential region/national players.

Through the years, clubs have become modern and sophisticated, with year-round programming circulating around player development. The Olympic Development Program acts as a supplement, giving elite players opportunities to play with and against the best, while providing them exposure at the regional, national, and international levels.

ASA State Staff is comprised of coaches at the club, high school, and college levels. All coaches are nationally licensed, and are committed to enhance the development of each player, while assisting them in obtaining college scholarship opportunities.

 Click here for the "ODP Pyramid"

The Program:  1997 – 2000 Age Groups
Scouting: Alabama Soccer Association will institute a scouting system for these age groups, which will be the primary method for identifying players. We believe a player competing in their own environment gives a more accurate assessment of his or her strengths/weaknesses.  Reducing the calendar for these athletes limits overtraining and decreases overuse injuries.

Players can be evaluated primarily in events, such as State League, Region 3 Premier League, National League, State Cup, and Southern Regionals. The scouting staff will consist of ASA, Region 3, and US Soccer personnel. The ASA Technical Director will coordinate and have final approval on invitations to the ASA State Pool.

It should be noted that Club DOC’s can also recommend in writing players to be evaluated. This enhances the relationship between club and ODP, allowing clubs to participate and make the program meaningful for all parties involved.

IdentificationBelow are the following ways players will be identified and invited to the program 

1.      State team members from the previous season will automatically be invited

2.      The players who have been identified through the scouting system

3.      Combine – There will be an open trial (late fall) for any player that was potentially overlooked in the process 

The above groups will comprise a squad of players called the ‘State Pool’. The State Pool phase will take place in the winter. This phase will consist of approximately 4 training opportunities. 

Selection: After the winter training sessions/events, 22 players (18 players and 4 alternates) will be selected in each age group to represent the ‘State Team’.  The state team will continue to train/compete and represent the state of Alabama at Region 3 Camp in July.

2001 Age Group: 

Alabama Soccer Association offers a format to our youngest age group, which will expose our players to the program and staff.  We hold a tournament, open to any 2001s. 02s may be eligible, based on recommendations from the club’s DOC. The tournament is a weekend event held in December, where players are placed on ‘teams’ and participate in games. Each ‘team’ has a district staff coach which manages the group throughout the weekend. State Staff will observe and evaluate players, gaining input from the district staff as well.

 It is at the tournament where we select the top players to form a ‘State Team’ in each gender and represent Alabama.  The State team will continue to train/compete and represent the state of Alabama at Region 3 Camp in July.  The state reserves the right to add or release players at any time.  




Who is eligible for ODP? The following age groups are eligible for the 2013-2014 ODP Season: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2001.

Why are ODP age divisions different from clubs? ODP uses pure calendar years (birth years) to determine age groups.  Example:  a player is born in the year 1999; they are a ’99 ODP player.  The ODP is a feeder system into the National Youth Teams. Hence, it has to be in line with the international age classification. National Teams must abide with FIFA's (the international governing body for soccer) age classification, which follows the calendar year. An ODP age group therefore goes from January 1st to December 31st, while the American youth clubs use August 1st to July 31st.

What if my son/daughter is a 2002 birth year? On occasion, we will bring 2002’s up to the 2001 group. We ask for a letter of recommendation from the club coach and club DOC. Upon approval from the State Director of Coaching, a letter of invitation will be sent.

How are players selected? See Overview.

How do I get scouted to be identified for Alabama ODP (1997-2000)? Alabama Soccer Association utilizes a scouting system in which players are identified in a natural game playing environment for identification. The process starts with a player recommendation from the club Director of Coaching, club coach, and/or opposing club coach. Players will be evaluated in the fall, primarily in league play (State, Regional) and State Cup competitions.  

How many players are named to the State Team? For each age group; typically, one team of 18 is named plus alternates.

Can a player be added to the Program during the year? An elite player may be added, in the following cases:

A player moving into Alabama mid-season.

An injury preventing him/her in participating during the pool phase.

A player identified by State, Regional, National Staff. The State Director of Coaching along with State Staff in that particular age group will have final approval.

The State Director of Coaching reserves the right to add or release players at any time.

How does the Registration Process work?  Enrollment can be done online with ODP.  Go to our website www.alsoccer.org and under ODP click on the "ODP Registration" tab.  On this page you will find information on events and a link to begin the registration process, one for BOYS and one for GIRLS. The one-time enrollment fee is $30.00, which includes the opportunity to participate and 2 Alabama ODP training shirts. Please note: If you were in the program last year, you will still need to register (enroll) your son/daughter for the new year. 

*97-00 players will ONLY register if they receive an invitation.

What happens after I enroll my son/daughter for ODP? After enrolling your son/daughter, it is important that you register for each Training Session or Event that your son/daughter is eligible for. You may use your account to register and pay for each event.

How do we know if a Training Session/Event has been cancelled? We do our best to communicate cancellation information as early as possible. When a cancellation does occur this information will be on our website under the main ODP page, http://www.alsoccer.org/odp/ and/or emailed.

How is the program paid for? ODP is self-supporting. All expenses (event/training/camp fees, travel), are paid by the players involved. Costs are determined by facilities, hotels, coach fees, entry fees, and other projected items necessary for the upkeep of the program.

Is there any type of financial aid/scholarships available? There are a limited number of scholarships available, most are partial scholarships.  Scholarships are given on a financial need only basis.  The application form is available on Alabama Soccer Association’s website, under ODP heading – ODP Forms. 


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