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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 and Academy play. The Timbers and Thorns have created seven Regional Training Centers throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington; Portland West, Portland East, Vancouver, Salem, Bend, Eugene and Medford. 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 six-month training program that includes 16-20 training sessions, sports psychology sessions futsal introduction 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 is 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 and eventual Timbers and Thorns Academy play.
What is Portland Timbers Olympic Development (ODP) Program?
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 and the OYSA ODP Program, Oregon is a nationally recognized ODP program with a cutting-edge youth development and Academy system. Through ODP and Academy, 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 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 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?
The RTC and ODP programs are your pathway to soccer success at the highest levels. The Timbers and Thorns use these programs to identify the top players in the state to participate in the Timbers and Thorns Academy teams. 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 the first-team on both the Timbers and Thorns someday. 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, 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, the Timbers and Thorns Academy Team options are there for players, which puts players in a long 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, as shown on the pyramid, we have created the very first Thorns Girls Academy teams consisting of U16 and U18 teams who will compete in a very competitive schedule in some of the most competitive events in the country. More than 90 percent of Timbers and Thorns Academy players have come through the RTC and ODP program.
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 six 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 while also giving our players access to Timbers and Thorns training sessions along with academy sessions. Timbers and Thorns ODP players also complete all ball-kid duties for both the Timbers and Thorns games during the season which gives players the opportunity to see professional games up close and allows players in our program to have a connection with the professional players in our city which will help provide motivation for continued development.