Philippi, WV – Ethan Gregory of Barbour County was selected to represent the Region 1 Olympic Development Program soccer team. The team will be representing the United States in Costa Rica from February 10th to the 17th.
Region 1, also known as the East Region is comprised of 13 states. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Olympic Development Program (ODP), was the first ever development type academy program created by US Youth Soccer. This nationwide program boasts participation from every state. Each state is responsible for discovering and then training the best soccer players in their respective age group.
Gregory made the squad thru a year-long process, which started by making the West Virginia Olympic Development Program team. From there, players work to be selected to participate in different events representing West Virginia, including the Region 1 Tournament in Princeton, NJ. During the summer, Ethan attended the Region 1 Camp at Kutztown University. Out of the 350 players that attended the camp, Gregory was one of 50 players named to the Region 1 player pool.
Along with the initial selection as a Region 1 Pool Player, he was also chosen to represent Region 1 at the ODP Inter-Regional Tournament in Casa Grande, Arizona during Thanksgiving week. He spent the week training and then competing in matches. His Region 1 team won the event with wins over Region 4 (West) and Region 3 (South), and a tie against Region 2 (Midwest).
In early December, all 50 pool players were called into a weekend training session in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The coaching staff used this training, along with performances from Region 1 Camp and Arizona in determining the roster for the international trip. Gregory received notification soon after that he had been selected.
The United States East Region team will depart from Newark, NJ on February 10 and land in San Jose, Costa Rica. During the week, they will train daily and play in 4 separate matches against Costa Rican soccer clubs. The clubs the United States will face are Saprissa, Alajuela, Cartago, and Heredia.
Ethan Gregory is the first Barbour County resident to be chosen to participate on a soccer team to play internationally while representing the United States East Region. Gregory began playing soccer in the Barbour County Youth Soccer league, and currently plays travel soccer for FC33.