PDP wraps up 2016 schedule with regional playdates
The last event in the calendar year of 2016 for NorCal Premier Soccer’s Premier Development Program will also be a first for many of the kids involved.
While some of the elite players selected for Sunday’s PDP regional playdate for athletes born in 2004 and 2005, many will experience soccer at a higher level than they have ever played after making it through a rigorous tryout process that culminated with last month’s PDP regional mini camps.
“For a lot of the players, it’s their first chance,” said PDP Executive Administrator David Robertson. “They’ve been training, they’ve been through evaluation process and a smaller selection have been selected for the weekend. For a lot of them it’s about going up to represent the region but also represent their club.
“What you find is you get some high quality games,” Robertson added. “We have people from our state staff scouting, sometimes people from the US Training Center scouting. It’s a really good professional environment. It’s just the first chance for a lot of the kids to pull on the jersey for the region. It’s a nice milestone for a lot of them.”
Roughly 22 players from each of the six teams from the seven different regions (regions 3 and 4 combine into one team) have been selected for each roster, down from about 40 who were invited to each mini camp last month.
Because the squads are selected from groups of players who maybe haven’t played together much before, the regional playdates also represent a chance for youngsters to try new things.
“A lot of them will get the chance to play in different positions,” Robertson said. “What we find is that a lot of the players that we get are attacking-minded players so obviously they have to play 11-v-11 so we have to have some defenders. It puts them out of their comfort zone a little bit, it challenges them, which is always a good thing as well.”
Over the course of the PDP season, each squad will play each other team once each — with two total games for each team Sunday — towards crowning a regional champion at the end of the season.
Region 6 is the defending champion for both boys and girls, but regardless of who wins, a festive atmosphere with parents, coaches and referees participating in good sportsmanship, is expected as has become the norm with the regional playdates.