ODP finds its netminder in mountains | TahoeDailyTribune.com

ODP finds its netminder in mountains

Soccer is a tough sport to play in the Sierra Nevada because of the short period of time players can use the local fields.

From about late November to late March, the grass lays dormant under cover of snow.

Most strikers just head indoors during the winter months to hone their crafts, but for Sierra Shipley it’s a little more difficult.

The South Tahoe High school sophomore needs the grass to practice her skill – playing goalkeeper.

“It makes it a lot harder for me (being from the South Shore),” Shipley said. “Especially because I need grass, I just can’t go inside and practice like everyone else.”

But all of Shipley’s hard work paid off last week when she was named to Nevada’s Olympic Development Program team. She was one of two keepers named to the team.

The team, coached by University of Nevada Las Vegas soccer coach Dan Abdala, was chosen from over 60 players and Shipley was the only player from the Tahoe area to make the squad.

“It gives me a chance to play somewhere,” Shipley said.

Shipley began playing organized soccer when she was 7 years old in the South Lake Tahoe AYSO soccer league.

She made her first all-star team at age 9 before she joined the Netrippers that same year. Last season, she spent the fall defending the pipes for the South Tahoe Viking junior varsity team.

“Without my experience with the Netrippers (and at South Tahoe), I would never have had the chance to make the ODP,” Shipley said. “I wouldn’t have the experience and the skills.”

Now, she has the opportunity to show her skills to the rest of the state – and maybe someday at the Olympics.

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