What is the Timbers/Thorns Regional Training Center (RTC) Program?
The Timbers/Thorns Regional Training Center program is a nationally-recognized identification program put in place by the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns to train, develop and identify the top players in the state of Oregon and southwest Washington for eventual ODP play. The Timbers and Thorns have created Regional Training Centers throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington; Portland West, Portland East, Portland North/Vancouver, Portland South, Salem, Bend, Eugene, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon. These most heavily populated areas of the state serve as the hub for soccer development in the state for players ages 9-13. RTC players are put through a training program that includes 5-8 training sessions in the fall and spring, sports psychology sessions, strength and performance training and the RTC Tournament which serves as the main evaluation weekend for the Timbers and Thorns Olympic Development Program staff to select the top players for the Timbers and Thorns ODP State Pools. The goal of the RTC program has always been to increase participation and elite opportunities in each part of the state by limiting travel and expense while also creating good competition and elite coaching in each part of the state for players. The program has been a massive success in finding the top players in the state who have moved on to ODP, Academy and Timbers and Thorns first teams.
What is Portland Timbers Olympic Development (ODP) Program?
The goal for any RTC player is to get to the ODP program or ODP state pools for your age group. The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns Olympic Development Program is a program designed to identify the top youth players in the state of Oregon and southwest Washington. In ODP, elite youth players throughout the country are chosen to represent their state association, region and ultimately, the United States in soccer competition. ODP teams are formed at the state association and regional levels, made up of the best players in various age groups. At the state level, pools of players are identified in each eligible age group and then brought together as a team to develop their skill through training and competition. From the state pools and subsequent teams, players are chosen for academy, regional and national pools and teams. Through a collaborative effort between the Portland Timbers, Portland Thorns and the OYSA ODP Program, Oregon is a nationally recognized ODP program with a cutting-edge youth development system. Through ODP, these programs provide an integrated pathway to developing necessary home-grown talent to support MLS and NWSL objectives and lessens the future cost of the organization, identifying and paying for players from outside the market and even the country.
The principal Portland Timbers/Portland Thorns OYSA ODP mission is to identify, evaluate, and provide more consistent training opportunities for the elite youth soccer players in Oregon. As part of the national effort, the Portland Timbers OYSA ODP program is dedicated to developing the highest level of youth soccer in the state and Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns home-grown territory. This objective will be achieved in an atmosphere of integrity, fairness, and impartiality. The player's talent with a ball, their physical and cognitive skills, together with their attitude will be the criteria for entry into the program. In developing this collaborative program, both entities will ensure that the procedures will not conflict with any current United States Youth Soccer (USYS),United States Soccer Federation (USSF) policies or any NCAA eligibility rules for college entry.
Why Regionalize RTC and ODP?
Creating the different pools in all 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. These programs do not replace the club team experience for players, but these programs do create an elite opportunity for the best of the best to play with and against each other. It also creates development by playing with and against the best on a consistent basis. As we said, 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?
The RTC and ODP programs are your pathway to soccer success at the highest levels. Timbers/Thorns RTC/ODP gives players the chance at a young age to participate in a major league development program. Around the world, player development starts as young as 5-years old in the top clubs. The Timbers/Thorns goal is to develop players here in the state with the idea of identifying homegrown talent for Timbers and Thorns programs and/or moving playing players on to the regional and national team experience. Oregon ODP has produced many players who are playing professional soccer now and most ODP players end up playing soccer in college with some sort of financial aid.
As shown in our pathway to the pros pyramid within the RTC Information Guide and ODP Information Guide, you will see the pathway 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 and move up the pyramid. When players become 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 years old, players have options to participate in year-round programs with their club teams or academy teams which can lead to regional and national opportunities along with college playing careers.
Timbers/Thorns ODP also gives players the chance to compete for Regional and National team opportunities. Other than Cal-South, no Western State has produced more ODP Regional Pool players over the last eight years than Oregon. With Oregon’s soccer numbers being small in comparison to other states, that’s an amazing statistic. The ODP structure also gives players the chance to work with the top coaches in the state who are here to push players to another level.