Kyle Nicoletti recently finished up taking part in a U.S Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program in Virginia. Nicoletti, who will be in 8th grade at Thornton Academy Middle School in September, has been playing soccer since he was 4 years old Courtesy Photo

DAYTON — A 13-year-old soccer player recently finished up a stint at a U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program interregional camp in Virginia in mid-July, and is awaiting word on whether he will advance to the next step.

Kyle Nicoletti, a student at Thornton Academy Middle School, seems pretty laid back about it all, but playing soccer is important to him.

The next step would be to be chosen to go to Florida later this year as part of the 2009 National ODP team — the teams are numbered by the birth year of the players.

If selected, he would be joining players from the Virginia camp and other ODP regional showcases from across the country to train and practice.

Being chosen as one of just 35 players in Region One from Maine and other eastern states to attend the Virginia camp was pretty amazing, said Kyle. He and another teen from the Portland area were the Maine players selected for that event.

“Virgina was fun,” said Kyle. It was also hot, he said, 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the turf, 95 elsewhere, but when you’re doing what you love, you work through it.


What does he like about soccer?

“Winning,” he said with a smile.

He is a member of the Saco Soccer Club, and of Seacoast United.

Being chosen for the Virginia camp drew praise on the Saco Soccer Club social media pages.

“That’s incredible. Go get ‘em,” said one poster.

“Way to represent Maine,“ said another.


Kyle Nicoletti recently finished a up an Olympic Development Program soccer camp in Virginia. He is a member of the Saco Soccer Club and Seacoast United. Courtesy Photo

Kyle started playing from a young age, as many do, encouraged by his father, Jeff, who is one of Saco Soccer Club’s three coaches, along with Craig Burgess and Joe Nelson.

“I’ve been playing since I was 4,” Kyle said.

His mother, Danielle Nicoletti, explained further that the family was at their local recreation department when Kyle was just a little guy, looking at the options, when soccer surfaced.

“(His father said) you can do this, or this, do you want to try one,” Danielle recalled. “Let’s pick soccer, that sounds like fun.”

It has been fun. And the opportunities through Maine Youth Soccer and the ODP program make it more so.

Kyle plays a couple of positions, and explained them for those without soccer knowledge: He is a winger, who covers the flanks of the field, and an attacking midi, or midfielder — the latter an offensive position. “My job is to put balls up to the forwards and also score; an attacking midi can give assists and score,” Kyle said.


His father explained what happens if Kyle is chosen for the next step:

“If he is chosen from the interregional team, he will be a part of the 2009 national team selection,” Jeff Nicoletti said. “Sixteen players from each of the four (soccer) regions of the United States go to Florida to train where they select 21 players to be the official team representing the U.S.  in international competition.”

As for the Virginia camp, Kyle was invited to attend, and if it turns out Florida is not in the cards this fall, there is further opportunity to be invited and try out in ensuing years, he said.

There have been soccer players from Maine who have won national recognition. In November 2021, a Deering High School student, Elsa Freeman, was chosen for an ODP program in Orlando, Florida, and a few months later for the national training camp in Tampa, according to a Jan. 28 Portland Press Herald story by Steve Craig.

Soccer Maine officials were unable to be reached prior to the newspaper deadline, but the organization’s ODP director, Andy Halligan,  estimated  three or four  players a year are identified for regional programs, according to the Press Herald story.

Kyle said his other interests include skiing, he enjoys hanging out with friends, and he has played baseball in previous years.

His mother said soccer is always at the forefront.

“Basically he’s always playing soccer,” said Danielle Nicoletti.

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