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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions And Answers


What is the purpose of ODP?

The ODP was created by US Youth Soccer around 30 years ago for two purposes: 

1. To identify national team players early, at the youth level. 

2. To provide development opportunities for these potential national team players. 

To this day, these two core purposes, namely, IDENTIFY and DEVELOP for the national team, have not changed. However, many players have also come to associate ODP with improved opportunities for playing college soccer and getting college scholarships. This is because many college coaches work on ODP staff at the state, regional, and national levels and also most college coaches scout players at ODP events. College coaches consider a player’s participation in ODP as an indicator of talent and soccer ambition.


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What are the Benefits of Participating in US Youth Soccer ODP?


1. Development as a player. The opportunity to train and play with the best player's in one's age group.

2. Quality instruction from nationally licensed coaches.

3. Quality competition. Games against other state association ODP teams.

4. Exposure to regional and national team coaches.

5. The opportunity to represent one's state, region, or country in competition.

6. Exposure to college coaches.

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Why are the ODP age divisions different from club age groups?

The ODP is a feeder system into the National Youth Teams. Hence, it has to be in line with the international age classification. National Teams must abide with FIFA’s (The international governing body for soccer) age classification, which follows the calendar year. An ODP age group therefore goes from January 1st to December 31st, while the American youth clubs use August 1st to July 31st. 


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Which age groups are eligible for ODP?

The ODP age group refers to the year in which a player was born. For example, players born between January 1, 2001 to December 31,2001 are classified as 01’s. See the chart below for the upcoming seasons.

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What is the player selection process at the State Level?

Kansas offers open tryouts to all players.  The open tryouts are held in the fall and State Pools are selected. The State Pool in each age group trains throughout year. The State Pools may also attend 1 or 2 inter-state events, usually in the winter and/or spring. In March, State Teams are selected from the pools and these State Teams go to Region Camp in July. 

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What player qualities is the Kansas Staff looking for?

Players are evaluated on the four components that make up a soccer player:

1. Technique

2. Tactics

3. Fitness and Athletic Ability

4. Psychological Component (attitude)


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Can player be cut from the State Pool after tryouts are over?

In all the age groups, once a player is selected in the fall to the State Pool, he/she is eligible to participate in all the training and events until March of the following year. After March, we will cut the pool down to a State Team of 16-18 players.  These players will participate in the Regional Camp.

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Can players be added to the State Pool after tryouts are over?

Yes, players can be added after tryouts.  Typical scenarios that might warrant a player added to the pool are: 

- Quality player moving into KS after the tryouts. 

- Quality player missing the tryouts due to injury. 

- Quality player identified by State, Regional, or National staff coach after the tryouts through the scouting network. 

Players identified after the tryouts are added to the State Pool only if they are in the top half of the pool and only with approval by the State Director of Coaching. The ODP at the state level has an obligation to identify the best players and put them in front of the regional staff. This is the most important mission of the program.


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What is the tryout process at the State Level?

The tryout process in Kansas begins Preliminary Tryouts in late July or early August. The Preliminary Tryouts are open for all age-eligible players. Those who do well in the Preliminary Tryouts are invited to the State Tryouts and are joined there by the players who were in the State Pools in the previous year. 

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What is the tryout fee?

The 2014 Preliminary Tryouts fee is $55. (fees subject to change each year)

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How long are tryouts?

The usual time allocation for ODP tryouts are 2-3 hours. Depending on the numbers involved, the actual length of the tryout could be less than 3 hours. It is up to the Lead Evaluator to decide how long is needed to accomplish the task. Tryouts are physically demanding and if small numbers are involved, there is no need to keep the players going for 3 hours since fatigue will start affecting performance. 

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Who evaluates the tryouts?

The Evaluators are a mix of ODP Staff coaches and club coaches who have experience at the highest club levels. Most of the evaluators have participated as assessors of talent at many previous ODP tryouts and are familiar with the rating system and player qualities we look for. We avoid assigning an Evaluator to the same ODP age group as the one he/she coaches at club level (It actually makes more soccer sense to use evaluators who are familiar with the age group at the club level. Evaluators who coach teams at the same age group know who the best players are and would make sure we don’t miss anyone good. However, many parents would look at this as ‘political’. Hence, to avoid controversy, we have no choice but to assign evaluators to ODP age groups different from their club teams).


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What is Regional Camp?

The main purpose of Regional Camp is to evaluate the players from all the states within our region and select a region pool of players in each age group for further evaluation and competition. All the states send their state teams to camp and play each other in front of the regional staff coaches. 

The other purpose of region camp is to expose the players to a higher level of competition and contribute towards their personal development through challenging games and training with high level region staff coaches.

US Youth Soccer consists of 4 Regions, Kansas is located in Region II.  For more details visit the Region II Camp website.


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When is Regional Camp usually held?

Regional Camp is usually held in early July each year. The two genders have their own separate camps, each at a different location. Since there are 4-5 age groups to evaluate, the camp is organized into 5-day-long sessions, with each session accommodating one or two age groups. At the end of the 5 day camp, a region pool is selected. 


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What player qualities are the Region Staff looking for?

Just as at the state tryouts, quality first touch is the most important technical indicator of skill. Can the player control the ball with one touch or does he/she need multiple touches to bring the ball under control? Does the player get away from pressure with first touch or does he/she get into trouble because of a poor touch? This is closely related to the ‘speed of play’ at the elite level. The better the players, the higher the speed of play. In order for players to survive at the higher level’s speed of play, they have to have a good first touch. 

The speed of play at the region pool level is much higher than at the state level and requires players to think quicker and control the ball quicker. Since players at this level are physically and mentally sharper, they anticipate and close down on the ball quickly, which means players have to execute their moves in tight areas, often surrounded by multiple opponents who pounce on every poor touch. 

Another important attribute is what we call ‘quick feet’, i.e. the ability to change direction on a dime and shift weight from one foot to the other and evade challenges with quick foot movements. This is, in the long run, an indicator of soccer specific athleticism which is more important than sheer size. As players mature at varying rates, size eventually evens out. But someone with ‘quick feet’ will always have an advantage and is more likely to develop into an ‘explosive’ player, which is so vital at the elite level. 

Athleticism becomes very important at the highest level once players mature physically. It is no longer possible to just rely on superior skill without speed, strength and power, since all the players are highly skilled. The better athletes ally their physical attributes to their skill to rise to the top. 

Lastly, ‘soccer smarts’ is also evaluated at the region level. Decisions on the ball and off the ball are scrutinized. Being able to ‘read the game’ and understand what kind of pass is needed, how to keep the ball under pressure, where to position oneself, how to help the team maintain a good team shape in attack and in defense, when to support the ball from behind and when to make runs ahead of the ball. All of these problem solving abilities separate the state level player from the region level player.


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How many players from Kansas typically make the hold over Region Pools?

Historically,  the number of players attending regional camp from Kansas that make the regional pools have varied year by year.  In the past, Kansas has had players make the regional pools, then progress to make the regional team.   Some have continued to develop beyond the regional team, earning a position in the national pools, even the US National Teams. 


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What benefits do players who are not selected to Region Pools get from Region Camp?

Regional camp has many other benefits for all the players. It is a chance for players to challenge themselves and gauge themselves against the best in the region. Good players thrive on playing against quality opponents and region camp provides a competition level that is rare. Experts tell us that for elite athletes to reach their potential, they need to play around 30-40 quality games per year where they are pushed by equal or superior opponents. The typical ODP player doesn’t get a sufficient doze of such games at the club level because many of these club games are against inferior players. Other than a few top-of-the-table clashes or top club tournaments, club games lack quality on a consistent level. ODP activities and region camp provide additional quality competition to supplement the club competitions. 

Other advantages to participate in Regional Camp are:

  • Regional camp can be an inspiring experience. 
  • Region camp exposes all the players to the top college and national staff coaches. 
  • The opportunity to represent your state.

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What are the costs associated with ODP?

The costs of the ODP program can vary slightly year over year but this provides a good baseline of what costs to expect. 

2014 Fees:

Phase I:

State Preliminary Tryout Fee - $55 

Phase II:

State Pool Fee - $75

ODP Gear Kit - $150

Possible Out of Town Friendlies - Additional Fee

Phase III:

State Team and Camp Fee - $300

Showcase Camp Holdover - additional $375

Regional / National Training Events - If invited - Fees vary

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Are there scholarships available?

Kansas Youth Soccer tries to minimize fees for all events.  We do not want a players financial status to determine their participation in any events.  If you are in need of financial assistance, please contact Mark Sheldon, Director of Coaching.  All applicants will need to complete a scholarship application and provide W-2 / Tax Returns for the past 2 years.

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Camp FAQ's

Who are we?

We are you US Youth Soccer State Office...leading, education, and serving the soccer community of Kansas.  Youth Soccer...It's What We Do!



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Why do a camp with Kansas Youth Soccer?

Years of experience...Kansas Youth Soccer is heavily involved in player development at ALL levels; from development to recreational to select.  In addition, Kansas Youth Soccer oversees and teaches the coaches the licensing program through the U.S. Soccer Federation.

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Who are the instructors?

All of our lead instructors are some of the most qualified coaches in the state.  Most teach within our coaches' education program or coach with our Olympic Development Program and have numerous years of experience working specifically with each camp age group.


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How are the players grouped during training?

The players are grouped according to age and level of play. We aim for the groups to be no bigger than 12 players and one staff coach.


When the players first arrive at camp they will be placed into a group consisting of other players of the same age and level of play which is required upon registering. From there the staff will evaluate the talent of each individual player over the first 2 training sessions and adjust the groups according to ability.


For example, if there is a player within a group who demonstrates ability above the rest of the group, then he/she will be moved into a higher ability/older age group ONLY IF the child desires. This is at the discretion of the Lead Instructor and not from those of a parent.


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What equipment does my child need to wear/bring to camp?

All players will be required to wear the necessary equipment required to play in a real soccer game.

  • Soccer Cleats, unless indoor shoes are requested for specific camps
  • Sneakers
  • Shin-Guards
  • T-Shirt, Shorts & Socks
  • A warm-up suit and/or rain gear
  • Plenty of water or sports drinks (No Soda)
  • Bug Spray and Sun Block
  • Snacks
  • An appropriate size soccer ball will be required for specific camps

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What happens if it rains at camp?

If it rains we will still train, however if the weather becomes dangerous (lightning, high winds, extreme heat, etc.) then each facility has options to take appropriate shelter or some may have alternate training facilities. Our staff will always be present at the venue before the camp is scheduled to commence to provide any updates on the weather policy.


If a day is missed due to inclement weather, Kansas Youth Soccer Association will try to add extra time on other days/nights; the camp will never exceed the set dates.


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Can parents watch during camp?

Parents are welcome to watch their children at camp but must allow the coaching staff to run the sessions and allow your child to interact with the group. 


On the final day of the camp, parents are welcome to attend to watch the games and presentations.

Parents are asked to cheer and support their child, BUT DO NOT "COACH" FROM THE SIDELINES.


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Do the players receive an evaluation?

No written evaluations are provided, but players are encouraged to approach their coaches for feedback on their performance throughout the camp.


Camp instructors and coaches will send recommendations to the state office for players that should be invited in for a try-out with the Olympic Development Program.

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Can players leave during camp or leave camp early?

Players cannot leave camp until a parent or guardian has signed their child out with the child’s staff coach. If a child is to be picked up by another adult, written permission must be provided to the camp director allowing that person to sign the child out of camp.


Parents are required to be at the field at least 15 minutes prior to the end of each session (excluding Residential Camps).


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What discounts are available?

Team & Sibling Discounts are available for the Residential Camps - $25 discount for team members when 8 or more attend; 10% family discount for each family member.


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Does Kansas Youth Soccer Association have a refund policy?

Fees for events are non-refundable unless the player is unable to compete due to sickness or injury. Please click on to review the Camp Refund Policy.


KSYSA Camp Refund Policy


If a child is unable to attend for other unforeseen circumstances we attempt to transfer their registration to another camp at a later date.  Each case is reviewed individually by the Director of Coaching & Player Development at Kansas Youth Soccer Association.

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