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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

Ferrell makes ODP team for second straight year

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Sikeston freshman Jordi Ferrell
SIKESTON -- Jordi Ferrell, a Sikeston High School freshman, has been chosen to the 1990 Olympic Development Program girls state soccer team for the second consecutive year.

A two-sport athlete, Ferrell is also a starting guard for the Sikeston High School girls varsity basketball team, coached by Tiffany King.

Even though she was a member of the team last year, making it this season was no guarantee.

"I thought I had a pretty good chance of making it," said Ferrell, who is a midfielder on the soccer field. "I worked hard every tryout. I don't like to slack very much so every tryout I went out and gave 110 percent so I liked my chances."

Ferrell drew notice as a junior soccer player while playing for the J.B. Marine Soccer Club in St. Louis. She trains locally with Paul Nelson, Southeast Missouri State University assistant women's coach.

"I have a had the pleasure of coaching Jordi for the last 4 years and in that time I have seen a person with great determination and a true love for the game excel," said Nelson. "She has developed a keen sense for the game and her touch and vision underscores her ability as a dominant attacking midfielder. She has a very bright future in the game and I will certainly see her playing at the Division 1 college level someday."

From a field of about 200 participants from across the state, Ferrell made the cut of 30 in late November for the training team and then was selected to the final 18 for the development team, coached by Luke Cano, in January. Although the final roster was unavailable at press time, last year's team, along with Ferrell, included girls from St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.

Competitors must have been born in the year 1990 to qualify for the team.

Top Missouri club team coaches made the player evaluations, judged on team play, speed, technique, ability and attitude, during scrimmages and training sessions.

"It's very exciting," said Ferrell. "I think it's really neat to be one of the better players from Missouri. Hopefully I'll go to the regional camp this year and be one of the better players in the region."

According to Missouri high school rules, the development team cannot practice during the school soccer season which runs from April through June. There is one scheduled practice in February and then every weekend after the conclusion of the Missouri high school soccer season.

The Olympic Development Program is an extension of U.S. Soccer with the purpose being to identify and evaluate talented youth soccer players throughout the United States.

The process begins in state team selections with the top players advancing to regional and youth national teams.

Selection to the state team requires Ferrell to attend all training sessions, exhibition matches, invitational tournaments and sub-regional camps.

Each of four regions in the country organizes and conducts regional competitions among the states in their region with the goal being to select the top players in various age groups to represent the region in national and international competition.

The culmination of making this year's Missouri team will be the regional camp in Dekalb, Ill., in July.

Ferrell and her fellow selectees will be evaluated at the regional camp by approximately 30 college coaches and have the opportunity to be among 40 players chosen from the 13 state teams to attend an evening of highly-

competitive games.

From those games, an all-region team will be chosen to compete against other regional teams.

There will be a national tournament in Boca Raton, (Fla.) if Ferrell's team can get through the regional competition.

The ultimate objective of the Olympic Development Program is to provide the United States National Youth Teams with players that can compete at the highest level in youth world championships. For the players, another benefit of the ODP Program is the exposure gained for entrance into future collegiate and club programs.

"Over half the coaches at the ODP camp are Division I coaches and the rest are Division II and III so she's getting looked at," said Jordi's father, Buzz Ferrell. "Hopefully in the long run there's a good chance she'll get a look. This past fall we went to St. Louis three times a week for four months. It's a lot of driving but she gives her all, so we'll keep going."