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Q/A: Former NJ ODP Player and NJYS Intern Devon Lis

This past summer, former New Jersey ODP player Devon Lis interned with New Jersey Youth Soccer. We spoke to Devon about her experience as a NJYS intern, as well as her thoughts on ODP and the game of soccer itself.

What is the most valuable lesson learned this summer working with New Jersey Youth Soccer ODP?

  • The most valuable lesson I learned was how to communicate with others in order to complete a task. Many of the tasks I had to complete involved using a number of sources and then creating multiple drafts in order to get to the desired product ready for submission. In order to get to the finished product, you have to be willing to ask for advice and implement the changes that need to be made.

What is the goal of the current ODP program? How does ODP -- from your perspective -- fit into the current landscape at soccer?

  • The goal of the current ODP program is to shape players into great soccer players who are competitive and successful in challenging environments. ODP not only helps to create well-rounded players, but also gives players tools they can use outside of soccer to succeed in the future. I will never forget when one of my ODP coaches said to me, "It is all about being comfortable in uncomfortable situations." That has stuck with me not only in soccer but throughout my life. ODP is also a great way to meet new people and experience different coaching techniques and practices.

What are your future career goals?

  • I am currently a rising senior and I am committed to Georgetown University for soccer. At Georgetown, I plan to go into either business or law. I look forward to one day owning my own firm or company! In the future, I will continue to remain an active part of the soccer community whether in the role of a coach or something more behind the scenes.

What advice would you like to share with future interns?

  • I would tell future interns to enjoy the experience! Although some of the work will be new and different than they are probably used to, it can be fun and challenging. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to clarify instructions, and most of all to have fun! It is a good way to take on a new level of responsibility revolving around a field they really already know a lot about. The people from ODP really want to hear feedback from players that have been involved in the actual process.

What are your best soccer memories? Did you ever participate in ODP?

  • My best soccer memories are from the countless places soccer has taken me. One of the best trips I ever went on was my trip to Costa Rica with the ODP Region 1 team. Our team played teams from all over the world and ended up winning the tournament. Although it was nice to get a great result, the real fun was experiencing other countries' cultures and how they approach the game differently than we do in the US. During the trip, we also went white water rafting and visited a school for kids with low-income families to play soccer with them. It is incredible how many people I have met and the experiences I have been a part of through my involvement with soccer.

How popular is soccer? Has the sport's popularity grown significantly in the last few years? What needs to happen to make soccer the preeminent sport in America?

  • Soccer is very popular among children and teens today. If anything, it seems every year soccer becomes more and more competitive at a younger age because players have more resources to practice and to improve. To make soccer the preeminent sport in America today, I think we need to continue to offer teams like ODP as a way for kids to compete and develop a passion for soccer. If players are given the right opportunities and the sport is played with the goal of teaching players the right way to play, there is no reason anyone would not want to be a part of this sport. At all levels, there are opportunities for players to be successful while also learning life lessons.

Interested in interning with New Jersey Youth Soccer? Find out more about becoming an intern or volunteer.