The cream rises to the top

Written by Jef Hatch, Pilot staff writer October 02, 2012 09:51 pm

Luke Beaman, right, practices with his local recreational team. Beaman and two others were accepted to the Olympic Development Program in Medford. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Luke Beaman, right, practices with his local recreational team. Beaman and two others were accepted to the Olympic Development Program in Medford. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
With over 100 young athletes trying out for a limited number of positions, three soccer players from Brookings-Harbor displayed the skills necessary to claim a position on the 18-man roster of one of the most prestigious teams in Southern Oregon: The Portland Timber’s ODP Regional Training Center (RTC) team.

The Timber’s supported Olympic Development Program (ODP) is fed by six RTC teams from all over the state of Oregon and 13-year old Sean Colbert, 11-year old Izaiha Bruce and 11-year old Luke Beaman were selected to play on the team.

The teams are selected based on the birth year of the athletes with two teams formed this year; the 1999 team and the 2000/2001 team.

“This is the first year that they allowed the U12’s – that’s what Luke and Izaiha are in the local rec league – to try out for the ODP team,” Luke’s mom Cindi Beaman said. “Only two from the younger group made it, Luke and Izaiha.”

Luke made it clear just how tough the tryouts for his age group were.

“All the kids who tried out were really big,” he said. “They were bigger than my mom.”

While the competition was fierce, the coaching staff involved with the ODP were fair in their assessment.

“We were worried that there would be some bias because all the coaches are coaches for regular teams in the area,” Cindi said. “But they were really fair and saw the talent in all three of these kids and put them on the team.”

Beginning October 10th, the three soccer players will travel to Medford every two weeks through December. At the end of the training period players will have a chance to qualify for the ODP tournament team that will compete in the greater Portland area.

“Soccer has always been my dream, I’ve been playing since I was seven and I’ve always wanted to go pro,” Colbert said. “This is just one step closer to my career.”

Bruce was confident in his chances to make it to the next level of competition.

“I’m happy about making this team,” he said, “but I want to make it to the next level.”

The three have plans to carpool to training to help alleviate costs and are looking forward to the opportunity. 

“It will be challenging and exciting,” Luke said. “We’ll get more training time so we can get better.”