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Woodbury youth soccer: Best of the best

Woodbury Soccer Club player Danielle Stuber, ODP 2000 MN State Team and holdover for Region II pool. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Woodbury Soccer Club player Sam Lee, 1999 ODP MN State Team and holdover for Region II pool. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

Best of the best

Two WSC soccer players selected to regional US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program


ver the last 20 or so years, Woodbury has been looked at as one of the top soccer cities in Minnesota.

Seems like things haven't changed.

Nineteen players from Woodbury Soccer Club were selected to US Youth Soccer MN State Olympic Development (ODP) teams, with two players - Sam Lee and Danielle Stuber - moving on to represent Woodbury at the regional level.

The US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program was started in 1977 as a way to identify a pool of the most skilled players at every age group from which a National Team can be selected for international competition. Through a series of trials that start at the district level, progress through the state, region and finally, the national level, players rapidly develop their skill as they are exposed to an increased level of training and competition. As players and teams progress through the program they compete at regional and international competitions.

"I made the ODP State Team the last two years, which is really exciting," said Stuber. "It was so great when I found out I was chosen to be a holdover for the regional pool and asked to stay at camp for a few more days."

After a series of tryouts at the district level, the ODP coaches identified a select pool of players from around the state of Minnesota to receive further training at the ODP Region II Camp that was held in July. Of the WSC players selected to the Minnesota State Team at their age level, Lee (1999 boys team) and Stuber (2000 girls team), were picked to be part of the Region II pool of players.

"It was an awesome learning experience to play with the best from each state in our region," Lee said. "I learned several big picture tactical skills such as field awareness and passing patterns. Also, ODP reinforced in me an attitude of wanting to get better."

Players are evaluated on the four components that make up a soccer player: Technique, tactics, fitness and athletic ability and attitude.

US Youth Soccer is divided into four regions, each which offers a regional camp for state association ODP teams in each eligible age group. The camps are designed to provide high level competition and training for participating players. During this training and competition, players who are capable of performing at a higher level of play are identified for possible national team camp, pool, or team participation. Each region varies somewhat as to the specifics and the cost of their camps.

The benefits of participating in the US Youth Soccer ODP include: Development as a player and the opportunity to train and play with the best players in one's age group, quality instruction from nationally licensed coaches, quality competition, exposure to regional and national team coaches and to college coaches and scouts and the opportunity to represent one's state, region, or country in competition.

"The girls that I played with were at my competitive level, but some pushed me to make my game faster and it was more challenging," Stuber said. "It was fun to compete with, and against, players from other states. I plan on doing ODP every year that I can."

Other players from the Woodbury Soccer Club who were selected to the MN State ODP teams were: Danielle Nelson (1996), Katie Scheibner (1997), Brooke Valiukas (1999), Stuber, Kendall Stevenson and Mataya Mierzejewski (2000), and Lexi Roti and Taylor Venancio (2001) and boys team members Aaron Clark (1997), Lee and Jack Flavin (1999), Hunter Goff, Jacob Redden and Mitch Watanabe (2000) and Cameron Coleman, Charlie Menken, Harry Menken, Daniel Muths, David Thalhuber and Ryan Erickson (2001).

The Woodbury Soccer Club is a club for anyone living in the Woodbury, or surrounding communities, who is looking for a great soccer experience. Regardless of school boundary or zip code, WSC provides opportunities for all players, from Recreation to Premier Competitive level. The club strives to provide all players with an experience that allows them to maximize their ability, desire and goals. WSC is an affiliate of the Woodbury Athletic Association (WAA) and a member of Minnesota Youth Soccer Association (MYSA).

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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