I can't wait for my soccer tryout tomorrow! I'm so excited, wait I mean nervous, no no excited but also scared out of my mind. Hey slow down, what you're feeling is completely normal, take a deep breath and start picturing all the great things you're going to do tomorrow and how proud you're going to be of your performance. One of the biggest challenges of any soccer tryout is dealing with the nerves and anxiety that come with it, the more tryouts you will go on the sooner you'll realize those never go away but do start to disappear once the tryout actually starts.
All you can really do is take care of the things that are in your hands such as how hard you work and your attitude during the tryout. If you've ever wondered what coaches are looking for or not looking for then you're in luck because everything you will need to know to impress them is here, even some things you can before you step onto the pitch. So sit back and relax and enjoy and if you're reading this the night before your soccer tryout and you haven't gone for a run or touched a ball in over a month then there's nothing to worry about because unless your name is Neymar you ain't making the team!
1. Great Attitude
2. One Outstanding Physical Quality (Speed, Strength, Vertical, Athleticism)
3. Above Average On Field Ability (Decision Making, Soccer IQ, Technical Ability)
4. Fits The Teams Culture
5. High Work Rate
Coaches may try and evaluate you using certain drills, find a list of typical soccer tryout drills here in this article, 9 Soccer Tryout Drills.
1. Show Up Early - Make a good first impression by showing up early to the tryout and preparing yourself for the next two hours both physically and mentally. Get whatever specific warm up you need in along with calming your nerves down before you start to show what you've got. Not only will this help you perform better on the pitch it will also put you in the coaches good books straight away showing your commitment and dedication.
2. Introduce Yourself - Be sure to introduce yourself to the entire coaching staff with a handshake and your name so you stick in their minds should they see something decent from you out on the pitch. This will also go a long way in helping with the impression they make of you as a well mannered and approachable kid.
3. Come Prepared - Coming prepared doesn't just refer to bringing cleats, indoor shoes, running shoes, clothes to train in and a water bottle but also about showing up physically and mentally ready. Physically you want to of course be injury free and being fit by having a high level of conditioning, it's not uncommon for a soccer tryout to have a fitness component where you're competing against other trying out. This is a great way to stand out or fall behind the pack if you're not fit, this may be your one first impression so be sure to come in ready to go. You also want to be mentally ready for whatever might come your way whether the tryout is demanding or you end up on a losing team during the scrimmage or if you're just having a bad day you need to stay steady mentally and keep pushing forward and perform on the next play. Showing up physically and mentally prepared is critical.
4. Don't Force It - Try not to force the spectacular pass, dribble or shot every time you can but let the game flow naturally and let your instincts make the best of each moment. The last thing you want is to turnover the ball or make foolish decisions the first 3 or 4 times you touch the ball and feel like you're climbing uphill the rest of the entire soccer tryout.
5. Outwork Everyone - There will be so many things out of your control during a soccer tryout such as the weather, the opponents, the exercises you'll be doing and much more. One of the things you will be able to control is your work rate and that goes a long way in the coaches eyes when trying to pick out players that would be good fit for their teams. Make it a promise to yourself that you will be the hardest working player at the tryout no matter what. You may not make every perfect pass, shot or decision but you can control how hard you work so with all the challenges of the day be sure to commit to this one thing that is in your hands.
1. Bad Body Language - It's not a good look that with every bad pass played to you or any mistake that affects you that you're throwing your hands in the air in disgust or shaking your head in disgust. Whether you or someone else makes a mistake nobody likes a teammate who publicly shames them so don't make it a habit because coaches will pick up on these little things and write you off and peg you as a bad apple straight away.
2. Talking Back to the Coach - If you want to set the record for shortest soccer tryout ever then make sure to talk back to the coach if he says something to you on or off the field. You're basically auditioning for the team when going through a tryout and if you talk back to the coach after they've asked you to do something or given you some instruction you can just start packing up your things right then and there. In there mind they won't stand for talking back from a senior player on their team never mind someone who is supposed to be on their best behaviour and not even on the team, just nod your head and do as you're told.
3. Being Too Nice To Everyone - This isn't the prom, don't go around trying to become best pals with everyone, you're there to perform so focus on the task at hand first. Be polite and professional but no need to know everyone's favourite food and colour at a tryout, you're there to make the team so focus on that, becoming friends with people will come later.
4. Arguing With Players - Whether you started it or not, whether you have a point or not don't get into a shouting match with someone on the pitch. No matter who is to blame you will look like part of the problem and that's not where you want to be listed as in the coaches book so stay cool and avoid all conflict that may reflect poorly on you.
5. Trying to Do Too Much - Because you're there to showcase your ability most people think you have to win the race in the first five minutes by nutmegging players and doing all this fancy tricks and moves. There may be a time and a place for a bit of flash but what coaches are really looking for are the players that play the game the right way by playing quickly one and two touch, with a high work rate, that play both sides of the ball and have some leadership to them. You do those things 90% of the tryout and mix in a little trickery here and there for the other 10% you will be in great shape come the end of the soccer tryout.
So, the team decided not to hold on to you after the soccer tryout. Well, I’ve been there. Before coming down hard on yourself there are some things you need to ask yourself.
First, did you perform as well as you possibly could?
Second, did you learn something from the experience?
Third, did it give you fuel for the next one?
As bizarre as it may seem, you will learn more from a pro soccer trial you don’t succeed in then the ones you do, I know I have. My first two trials in Serbia were unsuccessful but they gave me the “know how”, experience and the fire to be successful at my third one where I ended up signing. Those experiences have helped me in other trials down my career and are the reason I had success in more difficult trials since then. Without those crushing experiences I don’t get to where I eventually did, playing in the 1st Division in Europe. Not all tryouts are going to go your way, several tryout will teach you important lessons.
Lessons You’ll Learn to Take to Your Next Soccer Tryout
Reflection is the better half of a player so analyzing your performance at your pro soccer trial is important. This will give you clarity, experience and confidence to take to your next opportunity. So, on your next trial when you come into a new situation you’ll feel comfortable like you’ve been through it all before, because you have. There is something to be said about feeling relaxed and knowing what is peeking around the corner at trial and in life. Because when you know what is waiting for you, it’s so much easier to laugh it off and focus then to be frightened at let the moment get the best of you.
Here are some lessons I learned form my tryouts:
1) There is a lot more to it then on the field performance
2) You find out where you stack up against the rest and if you truly belong
3) It’s more of a mental trial then anything else, if you can control your mental game and play with confidence you’ll be fine
4) The atmosphere can be difficult to adapt to so expect adversity
5) Don’t let your nerves get the best of you
Do I Belong?
Now this is important, if there’s nothing else you take from a trial it’s this one simple question you need to ask yourself. Do I belong? Now think about it, don’t just say yes or no based on a poor performance or a blown up image of yourself. Reflect on the trial and see if you were just overwhelmed by it all and felt like “man these guys are from another planet”, or “I got this, what’s all the buzz about, this is all me”. This can give you all the push and confidence you’ll ever need if you could relate to the second statement. If not, you need to be real with yourself and decide whether this is something you’re willing to put yourself through again because it can be difficult.
If you’re sitting at home right now even more motivated then the first time you went then you know that you’re on the right track and that you DO BELONG! That feeling alone can do great things for you at your next shot, so don’t you ever forget it.
Sad? Mad? Pissed? Good!
I’ll never forget the words that were spoken to me at my first trial where I didn’t end up staying on. “Son, look, you’re clearly talented, but we are gonna have to let you go” Biggest mistake you ever made I was thinking to myself, along with some other choice words that no priest would love.
Shook his hand. “Thank you for the opportunity” I said and that was that.
I was there 2 weeks, before they asked me to stay another week then ended up letting me go. That pain stayed with me for a while along with all the doubts that came with it. Maybe that’s that I first thought. Then as more time passed I realized that moment was the turning point for my professional career. Experiencing agonizing disappointment was the stepping-stone to something greater and a feeling I never wanted to feel again. So what's the advice or lesson here? You can react in two ways, and although you didn't exactly get to choose whether you stayed on or not, but the reaction is all your choice. You could get all down on yourself and pack it in or you could look on the bright side saying you went in with nothing and came out with quality memories and experience that will help you going forward. Nobody starts at the top in anything, sometimes you gotta work as a janitor for a couple years before they let you in the door, then it’s about fighting to get exactly what you want no matter what on the next pro soccer trial. I always say the most important quality any aspiring pro needs to have is perseverance.