While we battle influenza and Missouri weather, one Springfield Soccer representative is packing to head for Costa Rica. Heath Melugin (Kickapoo, Springfield SC, MSU signee) and his 1990 Region 2 ODP team are leaving for the annual Spring International Tour Sunday February 10th that will take the 18 boys to San Jose’, Costa Rica for a week.
Heath, who signed his commitment papers Wednesday morning with Missouri State University, will be the lone Missouri representative on this trip although Kansas native Peter O’Neill, who plays for the Class 3 State Champion Rockhurst Hawks will also be part of this trip. There will be 4 games in a 7 day period with training every day. Opponents will include the Costa Rican U21 National team as well as teams from the Costa Rican professional league. For an idea of what Heath and his teammates can expect, there’s a great summary of last years trip to Argentina
The Olympic Development Program (ODP) mission statement is to provide a healthy environment for developing all players in camp. To identify and track the top youth players for selection and identification through camps as well as interregional and international competitions. At this stage, it becomes another opportunity to be seen by college coaches at a very high level of competition. In Heath’s case, he noted in my conversation with him that he is looking forward to the opportunity to see Costa Rica and continue his preparation for Coach Leamy’s program at MSU.
Heath first tried out for the ODP program during Middle School and was chosen for the Regional team the summer before his freshman year of high school. If you are interested in learning more, check out the Missouri Youth Soccer Association program, which is holding tryouts this weekend.