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ODP Explained Part 1: Tryouts

02/26/2021 Update – For additional girls soccer commentary from US Youth Soccer expert Sam Snow watch our new series with Sam Snow.

Sam Snow Advice for Parents

How Do Olympic Development Program (ODP) Tryouts Work?

We spoke with Sam Snow, US Youth Soccer’s Director of Coaching about topics of interest to parents and coaches. In the video above, the first of two, Sam explains the path from local ODP tryouts to the youth national team.

    • District or State Tryouts (Depending on Population and Geography)
    • Advance to State Team
    • Participate in Region Pool
    • Advance to Region Team
    • Participate in National Team Pool
    • National Teams Selected

“ODP Explained”

“Part 1: Tryouts and Process”

“Q&A with Sam Snow, Coaching Director, US Youth Soccer”

“How do ODP tryouts work?”

You go in and you try out in your birth year. So those tryouts begin at a local level
Depending upon the state in terms of its player population there may be a need for, kind of a district, some way that breaks down the size of the state geographically. So it might be a district type of tryout that players go through first. If they make it at that level, they might then go onto a state level.

States with smaller player populations, might go straight to a state-level tryout because there’s just not the need to break it down further because of a small player population.
So that part varies a little bit from state to state. But it’s based predominantly on player population and perhaps a little bit on geography as well, so that kids aren’t having to do… in order to travel until they make it to the next level.

“What happens after making a state team?”

State teams train together and compete in regional tournaments. A player goes to a state tryout. He or she eventually makes the cut or doesn’t make the cut. If they make the cut, they go as a state team onto a regional level tryout.

State players are considered in the regional pool for the selection to one of four regional teams. We have the country divided into four regions – multiple states inside of each region.

“What happens after making a regional team?”

Regional teams are selected and trained by ODP region staff. If a player makes the regional team, after that US Youth Soccer hands the player off to US Soccer at the National Level in this instance because US Soccer runs the youth national teams. They run the senior national teams. So we are handling the tryouts for them at a regional and state and local level. And then they take over the whole process at a national pool, and from a national pool they end up selecting national teams at a youth level and then obviously out of the professional ranks is where they are selecting players for the senior national teams, men and women.

The Statistics of Participation in the Olympic Development Program

Checkout part 2 of our series on the participation statistics within the ODP tryout system. Sam walks through the numbers of an age group tryout from the district to regional level of the ODP process. Sam also offers valuable feedback to parents who are supporting their kids through club soccer and ODP tryouts.

Video: ODP Statistics