The Times West Virginian

Sports

June 21, 2014

Harvath, ODP look to make way into record books

FAIRMONT — History is in the making for the West Virginia 1997 Olympic Development Program boys’ soccer team this weekend.

The team is the first boys’ program to advance out of group play, which was held two weeks ago in New Jersey, and just the second team to advance to regional after the 1996 girls’ ODP team did it in 2011. And with a win today, the team will become the only West Virginia ODP team to advance into the regional finals.

If they make history today with a win over Vermont in Delaware at 10 a.m., East Fairmont’s Colin Harvath will have his name in the record books.

The rising junior, along with two others from the surrounding area, is part of the 1997 (year of birth) ODP team, and he knows just how important this weekend’s tournament is to not only his team but to the state.

“That's what you want,” Harvath said of a chance to advance to the national tournament with two wins this weekend. “If you're on the region team that wins, those are the kids that get chances to play for a national team.”

The Olympic Development Program is full of talented soccer players throughout the country, and to make a name for yourself would be a huge accomplishment in the eyes of college coaches and even coaches of various national teams from all over.

But Harvath has accepted the challenge.

“It’s a lot faster pace when you play with these boys because they're a lot more technically sound than some of the kids on high school teams,” Harvath said. “But I can bring that back, and it can help us play faster and play better (next high school season).

“I’ve been playing this and some other travel soccer, too. It’s been busy, but it’s been good to work on my skills.”

For Harvath, whose East Fairmont team lost by just one goal in the state championship a season ago, anything he can do to get better will be worth his time, he said.

With a lot of planning, things fall into place with a busy schedule between balancing soccer workouts, football workouts, a high school life and a girlfriend. But his teammates at East Fairmont understand that one of their top players is spending his summer working hard rather than just loafing on the couch.

“I think my soccer buddies are OK with it because they know that I’m out there getting better,” Harvath said before adding a more definitive answer. “No, I know they’re OK with it.”

Playing travel soccer with the state’s top players will not only help Harvath in terms of improving upon his own game, but he’ll be able to see how the rest of the state is improving as well. Including players from PikeView, which beat out East Fairmont for the top spot in the state last fall.

“It’s actually funny because I remember a few of the kids,” Harvath said. “The first day I noticed that there was kid from PikeView. We talked, and we’re friends now. We talked about the game and learned from each other.”

To top it off, the head coach of the 1997 ODP team is a collegiate coach from the Division I ranks, Bob Gray, who serves as Marshall University’s head coach.

To be able to play in front of a college coach day in and day out provides confidence as well as new skills for Harvath and the other players.

“It’s awesome. It’s hard, too, though, because he expects a lot out of you,” he said. “He almost wants you to play like you're one of his college athletes.”

The experience is invaluable to a player like Harvath who has two high school seasons remaining.

“It’s a pretty good experience. There’s good players that come all from the state,” Harvath explained. “It helps challenge me, and I have to work a lot harder to prove myself.”

While the main reason for playing is to improve, winning a few games is an added bonus. If Harvath and the rest of the 1997 team can pull it off this weekend, that bonus will be a hefty one.

Email Matt Welch at mwelch@timeswv.com or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Post 17 #7 Post 2 #12 mw.JPG Post 17 falls short in Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.
    Post 17 Fairmont is hoping that they’ve now gotten all of its bad games out of the way, falling to Post 2 Morgantown, 10-0, via a 7th inning mercy rule, crowning Morgantown Area II American Legion champions.
    After playing 18 innings the night before, Fairmont couldn’t seem to get anything going at East Fairmont High School Sunday afternoon.
    As rain clouds loomed over the field, so, too, did one settle in over Post 17’s offense, Fairmont collecting just four hits the entire game.
    “Definitely not one of our better games as a team,” Fairmont’s Austin Norman said of his team’s performance. “We’ll come up tomorrow, hit and get on the same page.”

    July 28, 2014 7 Photos

  • Harrison’s 4 hits leads Pirates past Rockies, 7-5

    Josh Harrison had four hits, including a tiebreaking homer, to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5 on Sunday.

    July 27, 2014

  • MLB inducts newest members into Hall of Fame

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.

    July 27, 2014

  • Post 17 falls short of Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.

    July 27, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali wins Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France on Sunday, becoming the first Italian in 16 years to triumph in cycling’s greatest race by chiseling a lead over his main rivals a few seconds at a time and dominating them in the mountains.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: La Russa gives old pal Leyland a taste of Hall of Fame

    Jim Leyland didn’t expect it, at least not yet, but there he was in Cooperstown, New York for this week’s induction ceremony.

    July 27, 2014

  • JAMES UNDER RAINBOW -TS.jpg Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game: PHOTOS

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: Beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.
    After beating Bridgeport, 11-8, Fairmont secured a spot in next week’s state tournament. But with one challenge down, Fairmont moved on to the next: Playing itself into an area championship game.

    July 27, 2014 14 Photos

  • Knowing facts key to preventing sports injuries

    Youth sports injuries have been on the rise in recent years, leading parents, players and coaches asking one thing: How can we prevent these things from happening?
    A recent poll on the Times West Virginian website revealed that 41.8 percent of readers believe that there is no way to prevent injuries, while 26.47 percent said the best way to prevent injuries was to not play at all and 20.59 percent said that working hard was the best way to limit injuries.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • Pirates fall victim to Rockies, 8-1

    Nolan Arenado bounced back from a benching with three hits, including a home run, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Saturday night.
    Tyler Matzek pitched three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings. Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson also homered for the Rockies, who have won three straight.

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos