By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers’ recent tradition of sending players on to the Olympic Development Program is alive and well.
Just a few months after four Eureka ODP players graduated from the high school and moved on to the college soccer fields, three more are now following in their footsteps, including a pair of younger sisters.
The NorCal ODP roster was finalized last week and the players were notified on Friday, with Eureka sophomores Maia Hales, Ella Tollefson and Lila Ekholdt all included.
Hales follows in the footsteps of her older sister Brynn, who played at the ODP level the past couple of years and is now playing collegiately at Southern Oregon.
Tollefson, meanwhile, follows her older sister Aquene, who also has played with the ODP the past few seasons and is now playing at Dominican University in San Rafael.
All three of the current ODP players had to go through a series of tryouts over the past few months to make the final roster.
The NorCal team will compete in the West Region ODP Championships in Arizona in January.
All three of the current players still have some unfinished business to take care of before that, however.
They close out the high school regular season at Fortuna on Wednesday and will kick off the North Coast Section playoffs next week.
The Loggers are ranked No. 2 among the fall NCS soccer teams, second only to league rival Arcata, which edged Eureka for the conference pennant last week.
The two rivals have met three times this season, with Arcata winning two and the other ending in a tie, and they could very well meet again in the NCS postseason.
In addition to Aquene Tollefson and Brynn Hales, Eureka’s Klayre Barres and Keylei Carroll both also have competed with the ODP in recent years, along with Fortuna’s Sarah Killfoil.