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Doms Takes PDP Education to US Youth National Team

Note: This is the fourth in a series of articles highlighting NorCal Premier Soccer’s Player Development Program alums who have gone on to play at higher levels in the sport.

From an early age, NorCal Premier Soccer Player Development Program alum Maya Doms was always around the game.

Described as a “soccer junkie” by some of her coaches, the versatile attacking player had always shown talent to play at the highest level, but it was her modest nature that kept her from thinking she had the quality to play with the best.

That changed when the Davis Legacy star and 2018 U.S. Soccer Young Women’s Player of the Year nominee Doms was invited to participate in the PDP.

“Before PDP, I wasn’t a confident player at all,” Doms said. “I didn’t want to go.”

Working on a recommendation process in which a player has to be judged by their coach as a talent and then scouted to make regional camps, PDP is a program that brings together only the brightest and best of the talent in Northern California to train and play against their peers in a free-of-cost environment.

Doms was invited years ago at the lowest age group possible and progressed to be a part of the most recent U.S. U-17 National Team program, serving as a co-captain for the squad in Uruguay last month.

“My mom would tell me that it was a good opportunity and my coach would tell me I had to go to get the experience,” Doms said. “And I’d drag my feet there.”

Doms quickly advanced in the program, and first broke out as a 13-year-old playing up two age groups in a tournament in Medford, where she quickly established herself as a go-to attacker for PDP.

“It was probably one of the first times she had left the area,” said PDP coach Justin Selander. “She was nervous and young, but she scored three or four goals up there in two games and started at the No. 10. It was pretty obvious to see when she was 13 how special she was going to be.

“She would penetrate with these runs and make a lot of things happen,” Selander said. “She’s by far for me, one of the craftiest girls I’ve ever seen and just has a sheer desire to score.”

Added Doms: “Once you go into that atmosphere and get used to it, you get so much confidence. I went from feeling like I was the worst person there to gaining so much confidence.”

Up in Medford, the roots were planted for Doms to continue with the State PDP squad, where she was one of a select few players selected for an international trip to Japan in 2016, where she again banged in the goals against professional academy sides in the Far East.

“It’s undeniable that she has tons of talent,” said PDP Director Paolo Bonomo, who witnessed Doms star in Japan. “She’s athletic, but the thing that stood out for me is the commanding personality that she always had in the game.

“That’s what I always liked about her, she likes to take players on one v one, she’s likes scoring,” Bonomo added. “I’m glad that she’s where she is and if she keeps on that path, she will have a big future in front of her. I see her a little bit like Alex Morgan.”

Doms’ confidence and attacking ability served her well as she was then recommended to participate in a US Club Soccer id2 camp and then earned a scholarship to Stanford, before working her way into the national team picture, with coaches still deciding whether or not she will graduate into the frame of action for the U-20 cycle.

“The coaches at PDP are super experienced and do some great drills that we do at national camps, which prepares you a lot,” Doms said.

And no doubt were there eyes on Doms when she took the field in Uruguay.

Though the U.S. eventually didn’t advance from its group, Doms proved instrumental in a 3-0 win over Cameroon, constantly creating chances with her tricky attacking play.

The Yanks fell to North Korea and group-winners Germany to miss out on a place in the quarterfinals, but Doms proved to be one of the go-to difference makers in playing 171 of a possible 270 minutes in the tournament.

“The experience was really good,” Doms said. “I definitely learned a lot in our team.”

And that experience from PDP will come back for her final year of club and high school soccer before she heads to the Cardinal in the fall.

After that, who knows?