Many people assume that "Travel soccer" is the highest level of youth soccer but that isn't really the case. We play "club travel" in Mid-New Jersey (MNJYSA) which is, for all intents and purposes, kids who will eventually be on the same high school teams playing against each other. Above club travel are higher-level leagues that have players from several towns. These teams require significantly greater commitment financially and time-wise that club Travel and may involve playing regular season games in other states. Arguably the pinnacle of youth soccer is the national Olympic Development Program (ODP) which allows some of the very best players on a state-by-state basis to play against each other. The national U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams, and many Division 1 colleges, draw players from the states' ODP programs.
EUSA is very proud that Samantha Driscoll, who played four years from U9 through U12 with our FC Hearts' travel team, has made the pool of 30 players selected for the Northern New Jersey U13 ODP. Samantha will practice and train with the North Jersey group, and ultimately those girls, along with 30 from the South Jersey pool, will vie for places on the 34-player U13 ODP state roster.
EUSA congratulates Samantha on her accomplishment and wishes her the best as she continues her career beyond MNJYSA league play. Samantha has proven that a talented player, who takes soccer seriously and works diligently, can make the leap from Club travel to ODP. In these times when families struggle with their finances, Samantha has proven that even if a family can't afford to play on elite Regional teams, it is possible to earn a place in the ODP system.