Two players from Des Plaines America Futbol Club, Zaul Perez, 12, and Jessica Felix, 11, were selected for the US Soccer Olympic Development Program’s 2012 Illinois State Team. Perez and Felix, representing Des Plaines, were selected based on an intensive, multi-month try-out process against players from all over the state. They went to the regional ODP camp at Northern Illinois University during this past summer, where they trained with and competed against state teams from across the country. The players were evaluated for their technique, game tactics, fitness and athletic ability, and their overall attitude. “Illinois ODP is for serious soccer players who love the game and hope to play in college, professionally, or for the US National team,” said DPAFC Coach Julio Perez. “This is Zaul Perez’ second year with the program, but players have to try out every year,” he said. “No one is guaranteed a spot.” Selection to the ODP is not given to a player based on his club affiliation or tournament wins, even though the DPAFC U13 team did take home the 2012 Nike Cup Championship, for the second year in a row.
ODP tryouts and training sessions are conducted by Illinois ODP staff coaches, recognized for their ability to identify and train players with superior skills. They include club, high school, college and international coaches who have at least a National 'D' license although the majority have the top level 'A' license. The coaching staff and selection process is overseen by the Illinois Youth Soccer Director of Coaching. The Illinois Olympic Development Program is the start of the identification process for the National and Olympic Teams. The Illinois Youth Soccer Association conducts the program for US Soccer under the jurisdiction of the US Olympic Committee. The purpose of this prestigious program is to identify players based on open tryouts and develop them to represent their state, region, and the United States in soccer competition.
“DP America FC congratulates these two outstanding athletes, who are definitive role models for their team mates,” said Coach Perez. The Des Plaines America FC has a U13, U11, and a U9 team this year. The team is always looking for players to add to their rosters. Indoor practice, during the late fall and winter season, is at the Lattof YMCA of Metro Chicago at 300 Northwest Highway in Des Plaines. Interested players should visit www.DPAFC.com for more information.