Regional Training Centers
Initially created in 1977 as the US Youth Soccer Select Team Program, the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (ODP) was formed to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a national team could be selected for international competition; to provide high‐level training to benefit and enhance the development of players at all levels; and, through the use of carefully selected and licensed coaches, to develop a mechanism for the exchange of ideas and curriculums to improve all levels of coaching. US Youth Soccer ODP is the only elite player development program that can claim members of Major League Soccer and the National Women's Soccer League, as well as a majority of current and past national and youth team members, as alumni. It’s viewed as the premier identification and development program for any American youth seeking the opportunity to compete at the national and collegiate levels of play. US Youth Soccer ODP exists in every state association, and offers collegiate and national team staff coaches the opportunity to see the nation’s elite players in the most competitive of environments. In addition to training and tactics, US Youth Soccer ODP offers competition such as the Regional and National ODP championships, as well as further participation in major international tournaments. US Youth Soccer ODP continues to lead the way for elite player development in the United States.
What is the Timbers/Thorns Regional Training Center (RTC) Program?
Four years ago, Oregon ODP regionalized the ODP program in four parts of the state for the youngest age group. With the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns taking over the ODP program, the regional training center program remains in place with six RTC centers on both the boy’s and girl’s side. These centers are located in Vancouver, WA (Boys and Girls now), Portland West, Portland East, Bend, Eugene and Medford. The goal of the RTC structure is to increase participation in each part of the state for ODP by limiting travel and expense while also creating good competition in each part of the state for players to improve, while finding the top talent in all parts of the state of Oregon.
Why Regionalize ODP?
Creating six different pools in five parts of the state creates a competitive environment for players in those areas. It creates excitement to play for a select team in your area of the state. It limits traveling for parents and players, and it gives players the opportunity to play for the Timbers and Thorns state select team and improve as soccer players. It also creates development by playing with and against the best on a consistent basis. We are not here to replace your club team experience. We encourage players to stay with your clubs. We excuse all players from our events if there is a club conflict as well. We are here for the elite players who want to be pushed and want the opportunity to represent your state at the ODP level.
Why should I participate in Timbers/Thorns RTC/ODP?
Timbers RTC/ODP gives players the chance at a young age to participate in a major league development program. The Timbers/Thorns goal is to develop players here in the state with the idea of finding homegrown talent for the first-team someday. If you get a chance to view our Pathway to the Pros document on the Timbers website under the Youth/Academy program, you will see what the goals are for players in the Timbers/Thorns program. By challenging your players in a competitive setting, we are giving players the chance to develop and improve while creating an environment that challenges them to become better players. When players become 15, 16, 17 and 18 years old, we now offer the Timbers Academy Team option for players, which puts players in a 10-month season in the US Development Academy, matching our teams up against the best academy teams in the country on the boys side. Within the Timbers Academy process, players pay virtually nothing to compete in this environment while improving daily. On the girls side, we are in the works to create a college/showcase pool for players to mirror what the boys are doing while also having chances to compete with the Thorns someday.
Timbers/Thorns ODP gives players the chance to compete for Regional and National team opportunities. We allow our Timbers/Thorns ODP players access to guest training. We give Timbers/Thorns ODP players a free season ticket to all Timbers reserve games and the opportunity to be ball-kids to every Timber and Thorns game during the season. The idea is give players a first-hand look to what the pros are doing to help them stay motivated to improve.