“ODP tryouts continue, with some changes”

Tryouts held all week at Wolfle.

“POULSBO – These aren’t the same ODP tryouts. Right before kids from District Four gathered at Wolfle Elementary to try out for the district Olympic Development Pro-gram Team, some changes were handed down by the Washington State Youth Soccer Association, which oversees the program. Previously, athletes would attend district tryouts where scouts from the ODP program would observe their play and select the best players for the district team. Now the program has been consolidated. Due to a decision made final this weekend, the U-14 and U-15 programs will be combined. Twenty-eight athletes from each age will be selected to attend a weekend training session, then a weekend jamboree in April with State Training Program coaches and scouts. The U-14 and U-15 district team will be selected from those two events. As for the U-16 and U-17 district teams, they will be selected in a new way too. Instead of being selected at district tryouts, players will be observed and evaluated during Washington State Youth Soccer league games. There will also be open tryouts for those players not in the league. Donna Sanman, the District Four coordinator of the girls’ teams, said, There are a lot of changes, but in a way, it’s not that big of a deal. Some parents will like it, some won’t. Sanman said that the organizers thought about not holding the ODP tryouts this week, but decided against it – giving the kids a chance to play. Rather than say, ‘Hey, the state changed it – so goodbye,’ we decided to err on the side of caution, Sanman said. So we’ve turned it into a positive for kids. The coaches, ex-coaches and other evaluators who watch the kids play this week will still select some players to put on a list, Sanman said. The list will be sent to the ODP program. The whole idea is to have success for the kids out there, she said. It’s a wonderful combination of all our districts working together. They put aside team affiliations, get out there and play the games. Sanman added, I love to see all the kids out there. The announcement didn’t stop Katy Pryde and Kira Bendixen from coming out to the tryouts Monday evening. Pryde wore number 67 on her back. Bendixen’s number was 72. Both attend North Kitsap High School. Pryde said she came out because I’m looking to get to a better skill level and work with different coaches. Bendixen said, I just wanted to see what level play I’m at. Both had just played a game, then finished it up with a series of sprints across the field. Bendixen evaluated her own performance: I didn’t play as well as I could have. I went to three camps and I think I showed more there, she said. But I’m trying. She also said, I did better than last time. There were more than 100 girls there then. Pryde had also been to another tryout. She said, I’ve been practicing and playing all year round, so I’m pretty prepared. It was a good experience. “