Soccer Soph Splits Time between 3 Teams

Beck Chambers, Staff Writer

If you want to find Vivek Lashkari, you should start by looking on the soccer pitch. The athletically inclined sophomore is a member of 3 different teams, including a squad in the elite Player Development Program (PDP).

Lashkari described PDP as “a program made to get kids to the next level and expose them to the college coaches.”

Lashkari has been playing with his PDP team for a year, while still playing with his club team (Lamorinda Soccer Club) and Campolindo’s varsity squad.

The PDP program was formed in early 2014 with an aim to be a 2nd option to the Olympic Development Program.  With the 2 program options, Lashkari had to decide which was the right fit in order to effectively balance school and sports.

Soccer is an important part of his life. “I have made a lot of friends and have gotten better as an individual and as an athlete,” he said.

There are 5 National Premier leagues: the Elite Club National league, New England Premiership, New York Club Soccer League, Norcal Premiere league, and Northern Illinois soccer league. All these leagues across America filter into the PDP development program from those areas. Most of Lashkari’s PDP team is made up of athletes from the East Bay, so that is where the team holds practices and games.

There is an intense selection process for the PDP teams. Tryouts as being held every year in the winter, and each player must be invited back to attend each individual tryout. According to Laskari, even when a player makes the team, the coach has the power to cut him anytime. However, being on a PDP team can increase one’s chances of being brought up to the U.S. National Team.

Although the program can be demanding, Lashkari is a “strong defender and reliable in the back, and is probably going to Harvard,” said his teammate Soloman Langston.

Laskari has already made an impression on veteran Campolindo coach Shane Carney. “[Laskari is] incredibly smart and mature despite his age as a sophomore and will be very important in the back line, while also taking up a leadership role as well,” Carney said.