Three Boyd County soccer players have been chosen to represent the state of Kentucky in the Olympic Development Program.
Boyd County Middle School sixth grader, Laci Boyd; Summit fourth grader, Alexis (Lexi) Boyd; and Ponderosa fifth grader, Aiden McCoy are among the few chosen from our region to participate. They are all team members of the Eastern Elite Soccer Academy, one of the top soccer clubs in Kentucky.
The Olympic Development Program (ODP) is a national program formed to identify and develop youth soccer players to represent their State, Region and country in competitions. ODP teams are formed with each of the 55 U.S. Youth Soccer State Associations in four regions, and made up of the best players. Pools of players are identified in each eligible age group and brought together as a team to develop their skill through training and competition. From the state pools, players are identified for the regional and national pools and teams. The ODP works in conjunction with club soccer teams and players are permitted to participate in both. Player participation is a great honor as they are representing their state association as well as their club team as they work to become a better player.
Even though Kentucky is in Region II, Kentucky participates in Region III, which includes the states of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Region camps are held in which all four regions compete against each other. These camps are attended by U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer team scouts who are on the search for players to add to the U.S. Soccer Youth National teams. College scouts are also present looking for future scholarship winners.
For the two Boyd girls from Boyd County, their ‘home field’ is in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Aiden’s home field is in Paris, Kentucky. Games are played all over the state, which takes a lot of commitment from the players and their parents.
Participants have to try out for the ODP teams each year and are not guaranteed a spot from year to year. The Eastern Elite Soccer Academy tryouts will be announced soon. You can follow the team’s Facebook page (Eastern Elite Soccer Academy) to find out more information and to contact the club’s organizers.
Pictured above are, left to right: Laci Boyd, Lexi Boyd, Patrick McDavid (from Carter County) and Aiden McCoy.