• November 16Boys placed 9th out of 12 teams with Loudon Valley placing 1st with 47pts

  • November 16Basketball, Swimming and Track are just starting up, so stay tuned for scores!

  • November 12Boys XC Places 9th in State, Steck 3rd

ODP Nationals in Arizona

This+is+a+picture+of+the+fields+ODP+Nationals+are+played+at+each+year+in+Phoenix%2C+Arizona.
This is a picture of the fields ODP Nationals are played at each year in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is a picture of the fields ODP Nationals are played at each year in Phoenix, Arizona.

Hannah Potter

Hannah Potter

This is a picture of the fields ODP Nationals are played at each year in Phoenix, Arizona.

Hannah Potter, Reporter

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Hannah Potter
Virginia’s State ODP team plays Michigan’s State ODP team

In March of 2017, I was able to go to Arizona to play in a soccer showcase. This had been my second time to do ODP or Olympic Development Program. The first time I did ODP was when I was in 7th grade, and I got hurt and was unable to further my experience with the program. I decided to do it again this year because I knew that there was a team going to nationals and a coach wanted me to try out for the team. The national playoffs were for state teams and mine, the VA team, had won the region in a tournament for all the states in Region One. There were four teams at nationals, one team from each region. I had a great time on the trip, and it is an experience that I will never forget.

In preparation for the tournament, my VA state team had practice every Saturday for a few months, and as nationals got closer, we had extended practices with only the players who were selected for the team. We also played in the Virginia State Friendlies about two weeks prior to leaving. We played four other state teams and won every game. On Thursday March 2nd we left from the Richmond airport to go to Phoenix, Arizona. The travel was fairly easy, and we got to our hotel at about 10:00 PM that night. We were in rooms of three and roomed with those girls the rest of the trip. The next day, we had our first game against Cal South, and the 2000 girls age group who we had to play had won every year they had been involved in ODP.  We had a training session and a team meeting, then we went to the hotel and rested until our game at 8:00 PM. We were all very nervous for the game, but we were also excited for the challenge that was a head of us. Once we got to the fields, I could feel the confidence drop and the nerves take over. I knew we shouldn’t go in scared, but we did.

From the start of the game our team was in shock from the high level we were playing against. I had played against teams just as good or better before because of my experience in the ECNL (Elite Clubs National League), so I did my best to lead the team. The coaches and players were not expecting such a tough team, but I knew what we were in for. At half time we were already down by two and everyone was pretty down. My team was good, but they weren’t used to the speed of play that Cal South brought to the game. The coaches tried their best, but they weren’t able to save the game for the team, and we ended up losing with a final score of 6-0. I had just gotten on the team, but most girls had worked so hard for the past five years to get to this point, and I felt really bad for my teammates. That night was hard, but we made it through. We had a day off the next day, and we had a fun day. I was surprised at how positive the coaches were to the players after the game. They didn’t punish the players for their bad performance, but they talked with us about it and let us know they were still proud of us. I hadn’t experienced this type of environment in a long time. We didn’t let that game get us down, and we played soccer again together that night just for fun. We also had another team meeting, and the coaches talked to us about playing out hearts out in the next game and not letting Cal South get the best of us. The next day we played the last game for the title of third place in the country. We played Michigan, and we were prepared to do our best and be confident. We came out playing incredibly hard, and we crushed Michigan 7-2.

My team ended up in third place, and Cal South beat Florida in the final to win first place. Even though my team didn’t win, we got closer as a team and stronger as players and were able to come back and win our last game. In the past I had been on teams where winning was all that mattered, and I had always felt immense pressure not to mess up and to be perfect. Also, in my past experiences my coach had always demanded that we be very serious about everything, and he would punish us when we lost. My old coach tore us down when things went bad, and we became less like a team and less successful.

I learned that even when things are hard the right thing to do is not turn negative and punish yourself, but to look to the future and find strength in both one’s team and coaches. In my past teams we didn’t support each other and everything was a competition, but I found a new joy in getting close to my team and allowing them to help me through hard times instead of doing it all on my own. This trip also taught me that even when one is not successful it’s okay to enjoy your time, and not forget that the game is fun. This trip gave me a new and better outlook on the sport I love and gave me a new- found confidence in knowing that it is okay to be imperfect and just play the game to the best of my ability.

 

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