Sport Source E-Labs a Valuable
Benefit of Participation in ODP

As a parent of an Olympic Development Program (ODP) player and administrator for the North Texas 95 Boys ODP team, I am often asked what value I see in participating in the ODP. There are two main reasons I think the program is valuable. The first is the focus on individual player development and the second is the educational resources available to the players.

To begin, the ODP program provides development outside of the traditional club team environment with a focus on the individual player. The players are selected based on open tryouts in each state. During these tryouts, the players are individually evaluated by State coaches based on four criteria: 1. Technique, 2. Tactics, 3. Fitness and Athletic Ability, and 4. Psychological Component (attitude). Players that excel in these areas are asked to participate in Regional Trials.

Players selected for the Regional ODP Trials participate in a week long Regional Camp. The camp is attended by college and nationally licensed coaches from across the United States. These coaches help the State ODP coaches train the players during the day, and then select the top players to participate in nightly training sessions. These training sessions are attended by all of the coaches, and the players are evaluated for the National Level. The competition is solid and the personal experiences the players receive are an added layer to the overall experience.

Along with competition and training, ODP offers educational resources as part of the player participation. All ODP pool players in their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years are given access to the College E-Lab offered by the Sport Source. This resource provides players a vast resource of information on every college, academically and athletically, to help them choose the right fit. Players considering playing at the collegiate level should be actively involved with the Sport Source and using the E-Lab starting in grade 9. The Sport Source helped collegiate-bound athletes acquire over $200 million in academic and athletic scholarships in 2010.

As a parent and ODP Administrator, I had my first exposure to The Sport Source and the College E-Lab through a presentation given by Lisa Lavelle to ODP players and parents. Lisa is the President of the Sport Source, and her knowledge and experience are extensive. For ODP players, and parents attending the workshop, the insight provided was thorough and gave each attendee a "glimpse" into the future. When parents and players understand how the college identification process works, they are empowered to choose the appropriate college that fits the needs of both the players and colleges. The players are tasked to do homework and narrow their focus on their most important criteria in a college or university. Once this homework has been completed, the E-Lab tool becomes very valuable.

Resources included in the lab will guide families each step of the way. With grad- specific sessions, college eligibility, free practice PSAT/SAT/ACT test, sport-specific seminars, resume and dossier assistance, and financial aid resources, to name a few, ODP families have a clear and concise college plan to follow.

One aspect that is essential to helping players within the E-Lab is the college search engine, MATCHFIT®. This search engine allows players to insert their GPA/SAT/ACT scores, specify particular states, degree interest, size of college, level of play (D1, D2, D3, NAIA, etc.), and other factors the player selected. The MATCHFIT® tool provides a list of colleges and universities based on the player's designated criteria. When the player selects any of the collegiate programs on their personal list, they are instantly connected to the college site. From here, the player can connect to the admissions department and, if they choose, instantly apply. From an athletic perspective, the player can send their resume and video link to the coach and begin the process of becoming noticed and the opportunity to be recruited.

The E-Lab is well-organized and easy to use, a HUGE benefit and a time saver for those serious about playing collegiate soccer. North Texas ODP offers this as a free service to all its ODP participants that are in their freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. I would encourage all families to take advantage of the service and presentations when they are offered! You won't be disappointed!

If the opportunity to play at the collegiate level and graduate with a meaningful degree is important to your family, don't miss the opportunity to try out for ODP. With ODP tryouts just around the corner, and for more insight on how to organize the college search, please go to http://www.ntxsoccer.org/players/olympicdevelopmentprogram.aspx.

Above all, as a parent and ODP Administrator, I wish all players success on and off the field.



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