By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 18, 2013-While the question of local winter sports fans is how many gold medals the United States will win in the Sochi Winter Olympics less than a year away, an American team has already won a gold medal in Sochi. The Region 1 Olympic Development Program (ODP), made up of the best Girls-Under-19 players from Maine to Virginia, won the Kuban Spring Tournament even though Region 1 is just one part of the United States and they were playing other countries’ Girls-Under-19 national youth teams.
Krystina Iordanou of Upper Brookville, Erin Neville from Commack and East Islip’s Kayla Saager, all from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), played for Region 1 ODP and made us proud.
In ENYYSA, ODP tryouts continue in March. Hopefully, many of the kids selected across New York State this spring will play on the Region 1 ODP team in the future.
Region 1 ODP arrived in Moscow on March 3. Coached by Ken Kreiger, who might be best-known for being the father of US Women’s National Team defender Ally Kreiger, Region 1 ODP transferred the next day to Sochi, a long corner kick from the Black Sea. On March 5, Region 1 ODP played Russia in the Sochi Olympic Stadium, where next year’s Winter Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be held. The 1,000 local fans went home disappointed as Region 1 ODP shut out Russia, 1-0. Region 1 ODP then tied Turkey and Slovakia, both by 2-2 scores, to win Group B.
Region 1 ODP proved they were a formidable team and very good at taking penalty kicks as they advanced via the shootout. After tying a local side, Krasnodar, 1-1 in the quarterfinals, they advanced in the shootout, 4-2. The semifinal produced a scoreless tie against the much older Iran Women’s National Team but Region 1 ODP advanced 5-3 in the shootout with Krystina Iordanou’s winning kick sending the Americans to the final. The final on March 16 ended in a 2-2 draw vs. Ukraine as Region 1 ODP won the Kuban Spring Tournament, 4-2, via the shootout.
Somehow, the Americans kept on advancing even though their opponents knew which corner of the goal each girl preferred to aim for in the shootout. Congratulations to Region 1 ODP on this wonderful championship!
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.