All in the family

Loomis' Thompson brothers land spots on Olympic Development Program soccer teams
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — It would have been virtually impossible for the Thompson brothers not to become consumed by soccer. “There were always soccer balls around the house,” said Gregg Thompson, the father of three young foothills talents. “Even when they were just starting to walk they’d just kick balls around.” Ty, Tanner and Tommy started competing on U6 teams early in elementary school and haven’t looked back. The trio recently earned spots on California Youth Soccer Association Cal North Olympic Development Program teams in their respective age brackets. “It’s what everybody is kind of shooting for,” Gregg said. “ODP is where the college coaches look for their recruits because usually that’s the thinning out process where you find the best players in the various areas.” The program is nothing new for the Thompson brothers. Ty, the oldest and a freshman at Granite Bay High, made his fourth ODP squad this winter. Tanner, an eighth grader at Olympus Junior High, will compete in the program for the third year and Tommy, an Olympus seventh grader, is in his second ODP season. “At first I thought it only went to the state level, so I didn’t understand how big it was,” Ty said. “Then I realized that it went all the way to the national level and it really motivated me to keep going.” There are eight ODP districts in Northern California. Thirty players from each of those districts then try out in Morgan Hill for the state ODP team. That team competes against other state teams from the Western Region. Twenty players from each of the four regions earn a spot on the national team. “That’s who represents our country within each age group,” said Gregg, a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team and National Team through 1985. Tanner and Tommy have both made the regional team, while Ty was selected for the national team two years ago and traveled to Mexico for three games. “I’m hoping to go make the national team this year,” Tommy said. “I got cut last year.” Training begins in April with the first games in May. Regionals in Florida take place around Thanksgiving. The Thompsons, all midfielders, are three of 21 players from the Placer United Soccer Club selected to ODP teams, divided by common birth year. Tanner and Tommy play on the same Placer United squad and the competition between brothers heats up. “Probably too much,” Gregg said. “It starts out friendly and then whoever’s losing ends up not being so friendly.” “Tensions flare a little bit, but it’s nothing bad,” Tommy said. Ty, who plays for Placer United’s U16 team, is happy to watch his younger siblings follow in his footsteps. “It’s not as competitive with me,” he said. “It’s more competitive with them because they compete to be the best on that team. I’m proud of them. I like to see them do well.” All three brothers have already expressed great interest in playing collegiately and potentially competing at the international level in the English Premier League. “I’m hoping to play collegiate soccer at a powerhouse soccer school like Indiana, Stanford or UCLA,” Ty said. “Then, we’ll see.”