ERFC players on the Olympic Development Team are, back row, from left to right, Sophia Venable, Alyssa Leverrett, Conner Hill and Ashlyn Spake, and, front row, Gracie Gilreath, Seth Highfield, Ara Rhodes and Lane Lawrence.
The East Ridge Futbol Club entered the holidays with good news from the Tennessee Olympic Development Program (ODP) team.
ERFC had eight players selected to the ODP team following statewide tryouts conducted in Hendersonville, Tn.
Conner Hill (1999), Alyssa Leverrett (2000) and 2001 pool members Ara Rhodes, Ashlyn Spake, Gracie Gilreath, Seth Highfield, Lane Lawrence and Sophia Venable were chosen after competing with the best soccer players across Tennessee.
The Olympic Development program is set up by United States Youth Soccer to allow for the identification of players at a state, regional, and national level.
East Ridge Parks and Recreation Director Stump Martin said he was totally impressed with ERFC having so many ODP team members.
“(Director of Coaching) Matt Yelton, (Director of Select) Dean Wilson, (Academy Director) Chris Hennessey and all of the coaches and parents should be commended,” Martin said. “Making this team comes from hard work and dedication and that’s what we see daily in the Camp Jordan soccer community. I’m extremely proud of the efforts these young athletes put forth.”
Being selected as a member of the state team is the first step in the process of competition. The players will now compete in inter-regional events against the ODP teams from Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
“We are thrilled to have so many of our players selected to be a part of the state team and I believe it demonstrates the future that we are building with our young teams at East Ridge,” Yelton said. “Our goal is not to be the biggest club in Chattanooga, it’s to produce the best soccer and players in the area.”
The next step for those on the state ODP team will be a Regional Camp in Montevalo, Alabama in June of 2014. If the players are selected for the regional pool they would continue to train and play with the top players in the Southeast. The US National Team utilizes the regional pool of players as a means to select a team to represent the United States.