2009 ODP Regional Championships

odpnm-100px Close to 100 youth soccer players from around the state and surrounding areas represented New Mexico in the 2009 ODP Regional Championships in Phoenix, Arizona, over the Martin Luther King weekend.  New Mexico sent six teams this year, split evenly by gender, to the Regional competition.  Some of the highlights of the tournament for New Mexico teams:

The '95 girls had a great showing in their first time competing at this tournament.  Having games against Arizona and Nevada to begin with, coach Greg Rusk was pleased with the way the girls dominated their opponents but was disappointed with the two games ending in ties.  The next three games were against top Regional teams in Cal South, Oregon and Colorado.  The girls came out with something to prove, having felt they hadn’t done enough in their previous games.  They beat Oregon, lost to Cal South, and should have tied Colorado but a last minute goal was unfortunately disallowed.  All in all, a good bit of experience from which these players will grow.

The '93 boys, coached by Gabe Hall, included several players who had not played in this tournament before, so he relied on his more experienced back line to help the team advance through the tournament.  Coach Hall and his assistant Don Koontz knew they needed to continue to play the well-organized soccer that got them thorough the bracket if they were to have any chance of making the finals.  Unfortunately, the team came out tentative against Cal South and, as the players soon found out, at this level teams take full advantage of mental mistakes.  Cal South made them pay and advanced to the finals.

The '95 boys, coached by Rich Fortescue, had a talented group of players at his disposal but a brutal bracket schedule.  Although the boys lost to Cal South in their opening game, they showed great resolve by making it to the semifinals with a win against Hawaii and a tie against Colorado.  In the semifinals they could only find their best game in spurts, eventually succumbing to a very talented Washington side.

Congratulations to all the New Mexico players, coaches, and administrators for continuing the tradition of New Mexico ODP and making us all proud!


Photo Gallery from the Tournament: