The Portland Timbers and Thorns are contracted by Oregon Youth Soccer to administer their ODP program and make technical decisions. It is a significant stage of both the Portland Timbers and Thorns development pyramid, and the training groups are also referred to as; Academy Reserve teams or Pre-Academy teams respectfully. The Olympic Development Program (ODP) is a national program run under the auspices of US Youth Soccer. Its mission is to identify players of the highest caliber on a continuing and consistent basis, which in turn aids the development of elite youth soccer players in representing their state, region, and country in soccer competitions.
OYSA-Timbers/Thorns ODP Development Academy Philosophy
These collaborative programs aim to identify and develop the top players in Oregon and SW Washington (both boys and girls) to prepare them as student/athletes for exposure to regional and national ODP programs, as well as collegiate and potentially professional soccer settings. It is clear that both OYSA and the Portland Timbers and Thorns share the same objectives for Elite Player development in our territory and we are working together to achieve this mission.
The principal Portland Timbers/PortlandThorns FC/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/Portland Thorns FC/OYSA ODP program is dedicated to developing the highest level of youth soccer in the state and Portland Timbers homegrown 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.
There are inherent secondary objectives too:
- To evaluate and select players regionally in each ODP/Pre Academy age group that will train and then be evaluated to select a state pool of players from which state team players are then identified and state Timbers-Thorns-ODP teams formed.
- To advance the soccer skills and knowledge of players and coaches in each Timbers-Thorns-ODP age group, to send back to their club teams to share and develop.
- To provide appropriate competition for state Timbers-Thorns-ODP teams in each age group.
While individual leagues or districts may have additional objectives for their local programs, those objectives will not adversely affect the success of the Timbers-Thorns-ODP Academy. In fact, they will complement one another.
ODP participation does not mean that the players cannot participate on their club team. On the contrary, Timbers-Thorns-ODP participation, whether at the pool, state, regional, or national level, is concurrent with club team participation. A mutually agreed upon training calendar will be implemented. Participation at this elite level provides many advantages for the clubs too, such as exposure. The advantages of player development outweigh any conflicts this might pose and indeed criteria will be produced to protect the club from poaching or recruiting within the soccer year.