Hepler, Twenhafel named US Youth Soccer ODP All-Tournament

February 17, 2016

Two Alaskans were named to the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program All-Tournament Teams for this year’s ODP Region IV Championships, which took place last month in Phoenix.

ODP is where best players from each state go to compete against the best players from other states in a tournament or camp. Region IV is comprised of 16 states north and south of Colorado and everything west.

“So in a sense making the all-tournament team equates a player to one of the top 18 players in the western states,” Dan Rufner told me.

Rufner, of Service High fame, is the administrator for the Alaska Development Program.

The two Alaskans recognized for all-tournament were Lauren Hepler [‘00] and Samuel Twenhafel [‘01].

From this event players are invited to a Region IV camp (usually about 50 players per age) to make the Region IV team which then competes against other regions and in international events. From that players are selected to the national camp and eventually the national team.

“So for two to be named to top 18 here is a good step to making the 18 on the Region IV team,” Rufner said.

“Overall, Alaska, typically like the Jamaican bobsled team as a small state competing against big the dogs, had the best tournament we’ve ever had with numerous wins and close games against powerhouse states in the west.”