Down 1-0 at the half, the CalSouth 99 boys were in their last 40 minutes to represent CalSouth, in the 2016 Olympic Development Program (ODP) Region IV Championships. Heron Martinez, knew it was do or die time.
There would be 4 more goals scored by both teams, 2 equalizers from CalSouth, but a late goal from Washington, in the 78th minute would crown the Washington B99 youth soccer team, the 2016 ODP Region IV Champions, and Heron’s run with the CalSouth ODP team was over.
Little did Heron know, this would not be the last time he would get a chance to represent CalSouth.
A month after that hard fought week in Phoenix, AZ, Heron received the call, a chance to play on the Region IV ODP team, to play in the US Youth Soccer ODP Championships! The US Youth Soccer ODP Championships will be held in Florida, November 30 through December 4, 2016.
Heron will proudly represent CalSouth & Oceanside Breakers as a member of the Region IV ODP team, which consists of the top 24 players from the 14 states that make up the Far West Region!
A Special Player
Heron started playing competitively for the Oceanside Breakers at the U10 level. He plays for Coach Frank Zimmerman and the Oceanside Breakers B98 Black team.
“Heron is a special player” Coach Z said, “He works hard in practice, has the highest level of skill and those two qualities make him a threat to change a game at any moment! He is also very humble and shares the ball when the game requires.
“Heron understands tactics at a reasonably high level, so the combination of knowing when to shoot, pass or dribble, then having the ability to shoot with spin, with power or with placement; to pass with appropriate pace and accuracy, and then to be able to dribble with the skill level he has honed is ridiculous!
“For a player who can dribble like he can, it is very special to see that kind of player willing to let the ball go when the game requires them to. Heron is fantastic!”
In 2015, Heron helped his Breakers B98 Black team compete and finish undefeated, (7-0) in the National Premier League (NPL) last Spring. Their 1st place, undefeated season, earned them a bid to the NPL Finals in Colorado this past summer, the first time in Oceanside Breakers history. The team also won the club’s first Manchester City America’s Cup championship and are currently in first place in the California Regional League.
Steve Hoffman, CalSouth Director of Coaching Education and Player Development shared his thoughts about Heron as well. “Heron Martinez is a valuable asset to Oceanside Breakers. He has represented himself, his family and his club tremendously while in the ODP program. This is a huge step for the club, and it shows that Oceanside Breakers are making great strides for their top players. Congratulations to Heron and Oceanside Breakers for his selection to the ODP Regional Event.”
Heron’s Second Year as a Part of the Olympic Development Program
Heron has been part of the Olympic Development Program since 2014. He was discovered by ODP scouts while playing for Breakers B98 Black at UC Irvine in the Coast Soccer League’s Premier bracket with Breakers B98, and was subsequently invited to tryout. The ODP program holds tryouts. From those tryouts, players are chosen to play in their respective age pools. These ODP teams then go on to play against the OPD programs from other states. During the ODP Region IV championships, CalSouth came up short, but Heron’s play stood out, and he was honored by being selected to the 2016 ODP Region IV All-Tournament team. Now, for the first time in Oceanside Breakers history, we will have one of our very own, represent Cal South as part of the Region IV ODP Team!
Heron’s favorite part about ODP are the intense training sessions. He said, “There is something to be said about playing with players who compete as hard as you, but they have not been your teammate your whole career.”
About Heron Martinez
- Favorite Color: Breaker Blue
- Favorite Food: His mom’s tacos
- Best thing about Oceanside: Beach
- Favorite Ice Cream: Cookies N Cream
- Favorite Candy: Kit Kat
- Favorite Subject in School: Soccer
- Best thing about Breakers: The people
- Favorite Team: Barcalona
- Favorite Player: Neymar
Heron’s favorite part about playing for the Oceanside Breakers: His teammates! “The Breakers B98 Black team are a special group in that they really love each other,” Coach Z said. “They have gone camping and on team trips, nights out bowling, cookouts just to build our team family’s love for one another. Heron is always there and having fun with his teammates. That bond has helped the team achieve, which is great. But it is also nice to start seeing them earning accolades individually as Heron has with this ODP Regional Team placement.”
After interviewing Heron, I must attest to his professionalism and completely humble attitude. He is very proud of his accomplishments, but took the time to thank the people who have helped him achieve all that he has.
Heron would like to thank Coach Z for always being there for him, not just as a coach but as family, and for teaching him everything he knows.
Good Luck Heron, all of us here in Oceanside are proud of you, and rooting for your success!
GO BREAKERS! #Breakermade