This year, Bryn Mawr soccer welcomes back Riley Barger, as well as new comer Danielle Hogarth, both of whom participated in the intensely competitive Olympic Development Program this past summer. The ODP challenges soccer players from all areas to compete for a prestigious position on the national squad. Of the just under 1,000 girls trying out for a spot on the national team, only 36 will ultimately be chosen.

Upon concluding an already demanding summer schedule with their respective club teams, Barger and Hogarth began training at State Camp where they were selected as two of the 40 girls invited to the U.S. Region I Pool. With every player boarding at camp, attending seminars, and focusing during practices two times a day and three scrimmages each morning, the ODP State camp demands an unyielding commitment to excellence on the field as well as off.  Less than 25% of the entire camp attendees are invited to continue tryouts at Regionals.  Four Regional Pools in the U.S. are created from the best players out of each geographical area. Pitted against the toughest competition from their region, each of the girls continued to stand out and were invited to attend National Camp, alongside a mere 8% of the elite soccer players participating in the ODP program.

Competing at this level provided the girls with an irreplaceable opportunity to be amidst one of the most demanding athletic competitions in the country; fighting against some of the best young soccer players world-wide.  Both played outside of their normal position during these tryouts, expanding their horizons as team players.

“Playing at midfield in such an intense environment really helped me to build confidence,” said Barger.

Additionally, the changing in positioning afforded the two an opportunity to increase their field awareness by gaining a better understanding of the jobs assigned to each member of their team.

After a demanding summer training with the ODP, both Barger and Hogarth are looking forward to bringing their developed work ethic, insightful mental game, and amplified confidence to the already experienced Bryn Mawr varsity squad.