Path to US Youth National Team comes through San Diego

Despite a bit of rain the US YNT Regional Minicamp took place this past week at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center. 80 players from the West region were brought in to showcase their talents in the U14 age group. The US YNT Talent ID Managers and Scouts were there to coach and evaluate the ’06 (birth year) talent pool. From here the players selected from this West Regional will join the top players selected from the Central and East Region for the first US YNT U14 National Team ID Camp in June. This is the youngest age group and the starting point Youth National Team ID Program.

How did the players get there?

The players in attendance were selected based on their quality performance with their respective club teams and from their positive rating at US YNT ID Centers. We recently published an article with detail on the scouting process. YNT ID Centers are held periodically all over the country. For example, in So Cal they are held in San Diego and Los Angeles. The YNT ID Center players come mostly from the US Soccer Development Academy and are invited for the one day event to compete against each other in front of YNT Scouts. Top performers are then selected to come to the Regional YNT Mini Camp. Of the 3 Regions, the West is the first of the Mini Camps with the Central and West Regions to follow in the coming months.

Participants at the West Regional Talent ID Mini Camp

What happens at the Mini Camp?

At no cost to the player, they are provided travel, room and board for 5 days and are introduced to what a Youth National Team Camp is like. The facilities, coaching principles, nutritional education, regenerations sessions, video analysis and individual mentor meetings all replicate what takes place through the YNT Programs. It’s worth noting that the US has a National Team in each age group from U14 to U20. This Mini Camp introduces what the players can expect if they are called to partake in a full national team camp. There are 4 zones within the west region that are grouped together into teams that compete in a round robin type tournament. The areas are divided into Northwest, Nor Cal, L.A, and Southwest. Players form Nevada, Arizona, San Diego and Orange County are in the Southwest and Diego Orosco from SD Surf Soccer Club had this to say about his experience:

It was awesome playing with kids from all over and making new friends with guys I have only played against before. I learned a lot of cool tips from the classroom work on performance. The level of play was high and really challenged us to be prepared and do our best. Playing on the same pitch the pros do was fun too.”

What if they are not selected to move on to the YNT Camp?

Players at this age have so much development ahead of them. For example, some players may have an edge now physically (as notable in the image below) while others still have a growth spurt ahead of them. Over time players develop physically and technically so a long term objectives are considered. No player loses future consideration because they were not selected to move on to the YNT Camp. Players will continue to be monitored as they develop at different rates and the performance trajectory is non-linear. The US Soccer Talent ID states its philosophy here.

Surf Soccer Club players Connor Luoto, Evan Pickering and Diego Orosco participate in 2020 US Soccer YNT West Regional Mini Camp (photos: Mike Orosco)

These players were given a special opportunity to play with some of the top talent the country has to offer. The experience should only encourage them to continue enjoying “the beautiful game”. Best of luck to all of the participants and to those who will be selected to join Youth National Team Camp with the top players from all 3 regions this summer.

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