US Youth Soccer Region I ODP Girls recently had the amazing chance to travel to different locations within Europe to compete against some top level talent in different countries. Below are some pictures and quotes from the teams that help us understand the benefits of international trips.
"We are so fortunate to have such incredibly talented young women in our ODP program to represent Region l. The final event in our yearly cycle, which starts at camp in July, is our international competition. This winter and spring we traveled with five teams to five different countries for tournaments and Friendly games. During these trips, our players learn true life lessons both on and off the field. " -Sue Ryan
14U Girls Travel to England
"Our Region I 14U International trip to England was a fantastic experience for both our players and coaching staff. Having the opportunity to play against different styles of play than we normally see in the US, forced our players to adapt. We also had to deal with the challenges of being away from home and playing under the FIFA rules that limit substitutions. Having this experience will only benefit the players in the future. Off the field, we had the opportunity to tour some amazing stadiums and see two professional games that the players really enjoyed." - Head Coach Dave Bucciero
2001/2002 Girls Travel to Scotland
"This trip showed the value of playing against international competition. By facing these Scottish teams, our players were faced with a style and formation of play that they aren't used to. Especially with our last game vs Celtic in which the game matched two teams willing to stay true to their style. Being immersed in a soccer city I can only imagine the gains our players were able to take away by being able to play and walk in that arena." - Head Coach Eric Teepe
17U Girls Travel to Italy
"The Region I 17 and Under trip to Italy was a tremendous learning experience for the 18 girls that were involved."
We reached the Championship Game of the Claudio Sassi Memorial Tournament in Maranello after beating an excellent Inter Milan team in the semifinals.
In the final, we lost to a very determined Real Meda team. The top Italian girls teams that we faced showed a good tactical understanding of the game (especially defensively) in trying to counter our athletic advantages with an organized defensive scheme.
Italian Women's/Girls soccer is improving rapidly. By us taking our team to the country, a lot of the soccer people we encountered felt that our presence would help to grow the female game in their areas." - Head Coach Ian Stone
Region I ODP 2000 Girls go to Spain
"In Spain, we were able to play against great talent in a completely different format than usual. The MIC tournament is one of the biggest tournaments in the World and to see how soccer is developing in Europe vs. our own youth programs was pretty exciting.
We played in three round-robin games before advancing to the Quarter Finals and Semis. In our bracket, we faced Paris-St. Germain who dealt us our only loss. We had little trouble advancing after that to meet them again in the Semi-Finals. Throughout the tournament, the games were 50 minutes long so whoever got that early lead didn’t have long to hold on. We learned a lot about the physicality, the technical ability (especially in tight spaces) and game management.
Going into the tournament, we knew we couldn’t really “wait” to find a rhythm to the game…with only 50 minutes, we had to inject ourselves immediately into a high-speed contest and immediately be on the attack. While we found it a challenge to switch into that gear off the 1st whistle, you could see the team develop that perspective throughout our week.
Overall, while not bringing home the championship (PSG was the eventual winner), I would say that our trip to Spain brought a different style of play with different challenges for the players to solve. Each game provided a different challenge in a way that our players had to find solutions outside of their comfort zones. Those challenges, and the way each player found ways towards solutions are the lessons that will be carried forward as our players take their game into the future." - Head Coach Kevin Long