Tennessee Soccer Club (TSC) has announced that Jonathan Preston and Forrest Wells, both soccer players at Brentwood Middle School and TSC teammates, will head to Cost Rica March 1 to represent the United States as part of the Region III Olympic Development Program (ODP) for the 2003 boys age group. All players are grouped according to birth year.
This is a huge accomplishment for the young athletes. TSC’s Anna Haddock from Greenwood High School (KY) was most recently in Costa Rica with the 2001 Girls Region III ODP team.
“I am personally very proud indeed of both Jonathan and Forrest on being selected to the Region 3 ODP team that will be traveling to Costa Rica. Both are highly talented young players with a very bright future ahead of them. I wish both of them the very best of luck,” says Sandy Pollock, TSC’s Director of Coaching.
“Forrest has been with Tennessee Soccer Club since he was a U7. The coaching he has received at the club has been fantastic, “ says Rick Wells. “My wife Kathy and I are happy he has gotten this opportunity and we know it will be a great learning experience.”
“It’s an honor to represent Region III and this trip should be more than just soccer. I’m looking forward to the cultural side of things and seeing Costa Rica,” says Forrest. “It feels great to represent Tennessee and Tennessee Soccer Club. When I started this process at the district state level my expectations were low since my birth year is 2004, but having made it this far has really helped my confidence.”
United States Youth Soccer has 3 million members and is the largest member association in the United States Soccer Federation. Annually, each state holds tryouts and selects an ODP team. The state teams within the region then compete against each other while being observed by youth soccer coaches. The coaches then formulate a list — or pool — of players that exemplify the elite players in each region.
The Region III pool list is comprised of 120 boys from 11 different states. Region coaches selected 18 boys from the pool to represent the United States in matches in Costa Rica — with Wells and Preston coming from the Williamson County-based Tennessee Soccer Club. To have one player on a roster from a club is an honor; to have two is an accomplishment.
“I’m excited for Jonathan. He is looking forward to the soccer fellowship and having the opportunity to see matches and sites in Costa Rica,” says Casey Preston.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to play against Costa Rican teams,” adds Jonathan. “I look forward to the challenge.”
In his short tenure, Stuart Brown, the TSC Executive Director has implemented programs focusing on fitness, player development, internal leagues, optional skills sessions and competitive team matches outside of Tennessee. This progressive training is one reason that Tennessee is a rising state in youth soccer. Brown also serves as Jonathan and Forrest’s team coach.
Being chosen to play for the United States in international games tops off an already successful year for this midfield duo. Jonathan and Forrest were starters for Brentwood Middle School, who won the Williamson County Soccer Championship, while their TSC Showcase team clinched first place in the TN Division 1 State League.
The boys will travel with the Region III team to several cities in Costa Rica for matches and take time to volunteer at an orphanage before they return home.
Haddock was chosen for the Region III ODP team when Brian Lee, the Region III ODP Girls Coach saw her play at the National Championships last summer and invited her to participate in the Inter-Regionals in Boca Raton, FL.
“Costa Rica was an incredible experience for me. In addition to loving the fast-paced and competitive soccer, I enjoyed seeing and engaging in a different culture. Along the way I made some great friends I will never forget,” says Anna Haddock.
“We were so thankful to the ODP program and her coaches for the opportunity to play internationally, building on field relationships and off field friendships with talented players from across the Southeast region,” says Dana Haddock, Anna’s mother. “It was an experience of a lifetime for her.”
Dean Blain, TSC’s Girls Director of Coaching notes, “To be selected for the Region III ODP team is a great honor and highlights the quality, hard work and dedication that Anna exhibits each time she takes the field for practice and games.”
This past summer the TSC U-18 Girls team won Tennessee’s first National Championship.