By: Daniel Stickradt
SOCCER: Michigan Jaguars’ trio enjoy experience with ODP Interregional call-up
Diac, Hogle, Marinkovich earn their wings as top 100 national prospects
BY DAN STICKRADT
Stickradt Media Group /
Michigan Jaguars Communications
CASA GRANDE, Arizona — Alex Diac, Jona Hogle and Shane Marinkovich share a lot in common besides being teammates in the Michigan Jaguars club soccer organization.
The talented trio have emerged as not only as three of the top players in the state in their age bracket, but in the Midwest as well.
Diac, Hogle and Marinkovich recently gained the experience of being selected to the Olympic Developmental Program Interregional event back on Thanksgiving Weekend in Casa Grande, Arizona, and have taken the lessons learned back to the local pitch to not only help the Jags’ program, but to further advance their soccer careers.
All three Jaguars players compete for the club’s U-13 2003 Green Team, coached by Jame Renton. All three have aspirations of successful high school careers and to one day end up on a college roster somewhere playing the sport they love.
The trio began the quest in the summer of 2016, climbing the ranks from 150-player pool in Michigan to making a 30-player pool for the ODP Region II. A total of 18 players from the 14-state Region II group made the cut for the Interregional event, including five total from Michigan.
Having three players from one club is a rarity.
“I got a chance to play somewhere different, a little out of my (natural) position,” said the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Giac, who plays holding central midfield for the Jaguars during club season but was pushed to center back for the Interregional. “It was an honor to get to go out there with two other players from the Jags and play against some of the top players in the country in my age group.”
The 8th grader from Sarah Banks Middle School in Wixom, Mich., will attend Walled Lake Central High School in the fall in 2017.
“I want to make varsity (as a freshman) in high school and I think my personal ODP experience will help me get there. I learned a lot about my (abilities) and what I need to work on. It was a great experience,” said Giac, who was one of the taller players at the Interregional for his age group.
For Shane Marinkovich, learning his strengths and weaknesses will help him in the near future. The 5-foot-5, 120-pound 8th grader at South Lyon Millennium Middle School has yet to hit his growth spurt, but is using his quickness and athletic ability to turn heads between the pipes.
“I got a chance to split time in goal in each game (at the Interregional),” said Marinkovich, who will attend South Lyon High School in August of 2017. “I got to experience playing against some great players from across the country and got a chance to train with some great coaches there. It will help me (down the road). You learn a lot about yourself (as a player) and what you need to work on to be a better goalkeeper. You grow up fast at a (five-day) camp like this. You have to be at the top of your game if you want to be called back. There’s not a lot of goalkeepers at the Interregional, only a couple per team. That was an honor to be chosen, but it also makes you work harder because you want to get another chance.”
Gaining a couple of intense and educational days to train with 15 other fast-rising players from around the Midwest, the Jaguars’ trio also got the chance to showcase their skills in three games against the ODP Region I, Region III and Region IV squads in the U14 ODP camp.
The Region II side defeated Region III 5-1 in the opening contest of the opening game of the ODP Interregional, but lost 2-1 in both remaining games against Regions I and IV, respectively. In both contests Region II saw the opposition claim game-winning goals inside the final minute of play — one which came on the final play of the contest.
Jona Hogle still has 20 months before he reaches high school. Currently a seventh grader at Centennial Middle School and a future prospect for South Lyon East High School, the 5-foot-4, 120-pound prospect shined in the midfield in his first Interregional showcase.
“It was different because you practice for a couple of days with players you have never played with before, then play three games in front of the coaches,” said Hogle. “It was great for me because I got the chance to play against great competition, some very fast and talented players. You learn about where you are with your game and what you need to work on (as an individual). I feel very blessed to have been chosen for this. I know it will help me (going forward).”