By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR
BIG SKY – Six Big Sky soccer players were chosen this summer to be a part of the Montana Olympic Development Program state team pool, which seeks to identify the highest caliber players in the state as part of the Montana Youth Soccer Association.
Following tryouts in Butte in July, six young women found out in August that they had been chosen: Astrid McGuire, Cate Leydig, Maddie Wilcynski, Marley Chapin, Lola Morris and Maeve McRae. Now, they will have the chance to train once a month with other players in the state and compete at different out-of-state events during the 2022-23 season.
The director of Big Sky Futbol Club, Jed Hogan, said the ODP program has been a big help in developing soccer in Big Sky.
“Here are young ladies who have pretty much been on Big Sky teams since the beginning and they are competing with the best in the state and making it,” he said. “So it’s a kudos to the coaching at the Big Sky Futbol Club, as well as the benefits for those girls that they get to go play at the highest level.”
This season, McGuire, Wilcynski and Leydig are playing on the Lone Peak High School soccer team and Chapin, Morris and McRae play for BSFC. Twelve-year-old Marley Chapin, who is on the 2010 girls team—ODP organizes teams by birth year—will travel to Mesa, Arizona to participate in the training camp and Veterans Day Showcase on Nov. 10-13.
“I am looking forward to playing at a higher level with girls my age,” Marley wrote in an email to EBS, adding that she’s excited for this opportunity.
Marley’s mom, Carrie Chapin, said that Marley is a versatile player since she plays two positions, goalie and striker.
“I think her spirit and her energy that she brings to the field really shines,” she said. “She’s a go-getter, a positive player, and really gives it about 120 percent always.”
Wilcynski, who is on the 2007 girls team, said this is her third year participating in the ODP program. Last March, she had the opportunity to travel to Milan, Italy and play soccer overseas with the 2006-2008 team.
“I look forward to another season with the state team and attending even more showcase and tournament events in Arizona, California, and Nevada,” Wilcynski wrote to EBS. “Adding competitiveness to my game and getting touches year-round is one of my favorite things about ODP as is playing with 2007 girls from around the state!”
The Montana ODP Senior Academy for players born 2004 through 2007 will start after the conclusion of the high school soccer season in early November. The Montana ODP Junior Academy for players born 2008 through 2011 will also begin in November and all age groups will train once a month and attend events between November and March. Eventually, players in the ODP program could be offered the opportunity to advance from the state level to the regional and even the national level of youth soccer.