Huntington Beach, CA – August 31 – The USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program has announced a host of changes ahead of the 2017-2018 season. Chief High Performance Officer John Abdou has revealed updated age groups, including a new “All-Star” segment, an expanded 11U program with festival, a futures program offering international opportunities, as well as a futures camp and an updated ODP manual (click here to download). It was also announced today that Bryan Lynton—veteran ODP, high school and club coach—has been named ODP technical director in charge of both the boys and girls programs.
"We're very excited to start the new season of ODP!” Abdou said. “Every year we take feedback from the community and make efforts to improve our programming, and our staff is enthusiastic to execute the new facets of ODP this year to enhance the development of athletes, coaches and referees around the country."
Updated age groups for the 2017-2018 season include Youth (born 2001 and later), Cadet (born 2003 and later), Development (born 2004 and later), and the newly formed All-Stars (born in 2000). Athletes will have the opportunity to move up between age groups if selected by an ODP coaching staff member, National Team staff member or high performance director. For example, a 2003 athlete can be selected to compete with the 2001 group.
The ODP All-Stars program is open to all athletes born in 2000 who are not eligible for selection to Youth Zone teams. Any athlete born in 2000 who attends an ODP Camp or who is invited to ODP Academy will be eligible for ODP All-Stars selection. After the last ODP Camp (January 2018), the top 56 athletes born in 2000 (48 field players/8 goalkeepers) as determined by National Team staff will enter a “draft” process. National Team coaches will then draft each athlete to one of four teams. This will ensure a competitive tournament and allow athletes to meet and play with other players from around the country. These four teams (comprised of 12 field players and 2 goalies each) will compete during the ODP National Championships in their own mini-tournament, which presents another opportunity to compete in front of National Team and NCAA coaches.
Each All-Star team will play four Round-Robin games over the course of the weekend, followed by a championship and third-place game. National Team staff members will coach the teams, and they will meet on Friday for one training session together prior to the games. Athletes selected to the ODP All-Stars (born in 2000) will be eligible for selection to the Youth National Training Selection Camp (NTSC). Cost of the competition will be $350, and ODP gear will NOT be mandatory to purchase.
Some zones will offer ODP training for both boys and girls ages 11 and under. At these training sessions, athletes will be exposed to ODP tactics and technical skills in an introductory manner. The clinics will culminate in a December festival where athletes will play some games prior to the Women’s National Team’s exhibition game against an international opponent. Check with your zone staff to see if this available in your area.
In addition, two futures camp opportunities are set for August 2018. A 14U Futures Camp will take place in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. That same month a 16U International Camp will take place in Europe against club teams from a region to be determined. The trip will be organized by DJ Global Wave Sports Professionals. More information on these events will be made available at a later date.
Registration is open now for all 2017-2018 ODP camps, click here for more information. Click here to download an updated ODP Manual.
About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc., is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 different championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 45,000 members, USAWP also is the sanctioning authority for more than 500 member clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport throughout the U.S., fostering grass-roots expansion while providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches, and officials. For more information, visit www.usawaterpolo.org.