While our women’s national team was doing us proud in Germany over the past few weeks, some of our finest talent aspiring to such levels were at the Olympic Development Program regional camp in DeKalb, Illinois.
One of them was New Albany’s Brandy Orth Becker, who was one of 18 girls selected to represent Kentucky at U16 level.
The speedy Orth Becker, who plays forward and left wing, scored a decisive goal in the game against Kansas, while also featuring in a tie against Wisconsin and a loss to Michigan.
This is her second year on ODP team, which she described as “a great experience” but also “a real challenge.”
“It’s fun to play other state teams from all over the country,” said Orth Becker. “It’s pretty humbling to be a part of a team that represents a state.”
It’s also pretty tough trying to make the cut.
“It’s hard to start with a pool of 75 or so girls and see that pool get smaller and smaller as months of try outs go by and as cuts are continuously made,” she said. “It’s hard to make friends with players from another part of the state and watch them get cut.”
The team is finally narrowed to 18, who compete together at tournaments and college showcases before going on to regional camp.
“The ODP coaches don’t baby you,” she revealed. “They expect your best and more. This year’s coach Mike Weisman has a class “A” coaching license and knows the game down to a science, while last year’s coach Jay Hoffman is the head coach at Centre College.”
She added that as much fun as it is playing teams from other states, it’s even more fun making friends from those states.
“I always like trading jerseys with friends I’ve made at the end of the camp,” she said. “This year I came home wearing an ODP Wisconsin jersey.”
The junior plays varsity soccer at Assumption High School and is co-captain of the track team, participating in the 4×100 and 4×200 at this year’s state finals. She has “great hopes” for the Lady Rockets this fall.
“We are mostly all returning juniors and seniors,” she said. “We’ve played together for at least two years and know and trust each other mentally and physically. When we played together as freshman, we were undefeated, so I think we’ll continue to play well together.
“Our coaches Kenyon Meyer, Ollie Barber, and Holly Hayden pull us together and inspire and elevate our level of play even more.”
Clubwise, Orth Becker started out with southern Indiana’s Net-Surfers and spent the last two seasons playing in Louisville.
However, encouragingly, once she got the call that her old coach Walter Iglesias would be mentoring at her age level at Net-Surfers, she knew she was coming back.
“I have trained under Walter for years and have tremendous respect for his talent and knowledge of the game,” she said. “I was really excited when he decided to finally coach a girls’ team.”
Others from the area to be chosen for ODP squads this year (some were unable to attend camp) included Borden’s Grant Hollkamp (Kentucky ’97 boys), a promising talent who once again made the Region II holdover pool; Brodey Zink (Georgetown), Benjamin Rhoads, Sean Brown (both Jeffersonville), who were all chosen for Indiana ’98 older boys; Parker Bussabarger-Davidenkoff, Tyler McGeorge (both Floyds Knobs) and Andrew Kennedy (Lanesville), all Indiana ’96 boys; Matthew Jerrell (Scottsburg), Logan Rauck (Memphis), Zachary Adamec, Alex Duckworth, Roman Arvizu (Jeffersonville), all Indiana ’97 older boys; Zach Yagle (Floyds Knobs), Indiana ’97 younger boys; Jordan Reger (Sellersburg), Indiana ’97 older girls; Skyler Davis and Brian Fischer, (both Jeffersonville), Kentucky ’95 boys; and Hayley Anderson (Sellersburg), Kentucky’97 girls.