Three Players From Eastern New York Win Scotland’s Excel Cup With East Region ODP
May 03, 2018 | by Randy Vogt
Three boys from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) traveled to Scotland with the 2002 Boys East Region Olympic Development Program (ODP) and won the Excel Cup during Spring Break from April 7 to 15.
Tim Kane and Justin Weinert are central defenders, while Stephen Betz is a central midfielder, and all three have developed their skills with Eastern New York ODP for the past four years. In club soccer, Kane plays for the Cedar Stars Academy of the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL), while Weinert and Betz are teammates on the Levittown Gunners of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL).
The Excel Cup, organized by Worldstrides, offered an opportunity for many of the best players from each country to compete against one another. Playing against youth teams of Scottish professional clubs, East Region ODP defeated Celtic, 4-3, then was shut out by Hearts, 4-0, before defeating Airdrie, 3-0, Alloa Athletic FC, 3-1, and topping East Kilbride in the shootout, 4-2, to take the Excel Cup.
ODP is considered the highest level of competition in state associations. Each year, players must be re-evaluated by the ODP professional staff of coaches for a position on each age-specific team. The identification process ends with the most elite players within the region competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by U.S. Soccer staff coaches for possible entry to the national team program. Crystal Dunn and Allie Long are two Eastern New York ODP players who are playing on the US Women’s National Team yet even those players who do not make the regional or national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even on to pro soccer.
The Scotland trip was not all soccer as the players and their families were able to tour Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, and Paisley in-between games.