Want to turn pro? Want to know what Professional Soccer Tryouts are all about?
Learn about the process from pro's like me that have gone through it themselves and played in some of the best soccer leagues in Europe. Learn from all the success and learn even more from all the times tryouts didn't quite go my way but were an incredible learning experience.
Whether you're going on your first round of professional soccer tryouts or tenth here you will find information I learned the hard way that will help you sign that contract and achieve your dreams.
Whether you are currently playing with a club, academy, college or haven't yet found one of those and your dream is to one day play professionally then it's important you know the path others have taken to get there. Perhaps you want to join some of Europe's best professional youth soccer clubs then you're going to need to know what it's really all about.
Just like creating anything unique you can take experiences and advice from others and add your own personal spin to it to make it truly unique. Whether it's following the path others have taken or taking the path less traveled it's important to remember that nobody gets anywhere without some help, actually a lot of help.
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Whether it is Europe, South America, Asia or anywhere else there is one common thing that stands out about all professional soccer tryouts and that is you're not the center of the teams universe so try and calm down your racing nerves.
The feeling of pressure and anxiety to perform at your best at a tryout is something you won't be able to completely avoid but you can contain it. Like anything the more you do something and gain experience from it the more you will feel comfortable with doing it every time after that and tryouts are no different.
So first tell yourself you're not going to be perfect, there are things out of your control that you just need to roll with and above all be confident in yourself and your game.
Some other things to expect during professional soccer tryouts such as how long they will last really depends on the time of year and what team you're trying out for but a typical tryout will last about a week including on and off the pitch training and at least one 11v11 scrimmage match (maybe an exhibition game if you're lucky).
Some tryouts could last a day or two and others several weeks but the typical tryout is 5-7days. On top of the length of the tryout don't think you'll be the only one trying out, it's typical to have anywhere from 3-9 other trialists there and perhaps even more if it is pre-season and teams have invited several players to filter through.
Lastly don't expect the players on the team or coaches to be welcoming you with open arms being your best friend and patting you on the back.
All you are is another player trying to take someones spot and paycheque so don't be surprised if players aren't giving you a big hug and if they start to give you some suicide passes here and there throughout the tryout.
I have a few cuts and scars that were a result of a couple professional soccer tryouts where I wasn't exactly welcomed in with the red carpet.
You are there to make a team not pen pals. Believe me after you sign and you're not taking food off someone else's mouth you will see how close you start to become with your teammates. It's only normal for them not to like the new guy who might compromise their status on the team or their paycheque. Go into the professional soccer tryouts with laser focus about making the team and giving your all, worry about the relationships later.
Talk, move and play as if you are the Captain of the team you are trying out for. I know it is tough to go into a new team with your chest out but you can't go in their timid and afraid. Believe it or not the things that made you the captain (assuming you were) of your University or club team will be much of the same that will make you successful at this tryout. Shake peoples hand, show up early and exude confidence and leadership in all that you do.
Let it all out there, every moment every play. If the tryout doesn't go the way you want you can at least be happy with your performance and effort.
Sure you don't want to go crazy and trying to dribble everyone and rainbow every player but you want to be assertive, on the front foot and let your best performance shine through.
If you play nothing but safe passes and take no risks you'll always kick yourself after the tryout if you don't end up getting signed.
Sure how you actually play soccer is the most important thing but the little intangible leadership qualities matter as well.
The way you interact with the team and introduce yourself, showing up early, staying late, your work ethic, your positive verbal and non verbal communication to name a few.
Becoming a pro is more than just being a great soccer player, you need to carry yourself in a professional manner on and off the pitch at these professional soccer tryouts.
Okay so whether you make it or not you need to remember this is an incredible learning experience that not may other players get to have.
You will learn how close you actually are to playing pro, what other pro's do to take care of their bodies, the way they train along with the physical demands necessary to play at the pro level.
If you're really smart every night before bed you will write in a journal about all the things that happened that day and what you learned.
You will find after being to a few professional soccer tryouts that performing well is just a piece of the equation. Coach's and scouts have certain criteria and things they look for when deciding if a player is the right fit for their particular team.
Sometimes these attributes or variables have nothing to do with your performance on the pitch but other factors which you simply have no control over. If the decision whether to keep you or not comes down to a factor you can't control then you can't beat yourself up about it. These factors are:
1. The Need For Your Position - If they have 3 players already in your position you just might be out of luck no matter how well you play or perform.
2. Your Age - You be too young to be an impact player for them or too old where it doesn't make sense to keep you on.
3. Salary Demands for a Foreign Player (if you are one) - Many leagues have restrictions on how many foreign players can be on each team, typically it is anywhere from 1-5. Those players by rule have high salary demands and you may be good enough to make the team but the foreign spots are so important typically they reserve those for high end pros.
4. Clubs Financial Situation - You may be selected for the team and they are only able to offer you very little it doesn't make sense to join the squad.
5. Citizenship - Some leagues allow only players born in that country to play in those leagues or a certain amount must be on the roster, in that case you may not stand a chance.
6. Visa Requirements - This is a real dream crusher. There is nothing worse then a team wanting to sign you only to find out you can't get a work visa to play in that country. Certain visa requirements are tighter than others so it really depends where you're from on this one. To find a list of requirements to obtain a work permit in Europe be sure to read this article to get all the info you need, What Requirements Are There For International Footballers To Have Work Permits?
7. Roster Age Restrictions - Some leagues have rules in place to develop young players from their country so the rosters must have a certain amount of players under 21. Not only that other leagues also have stipulations that these players must play a certain amount of minutes or start a certain amount of games.
8. Local or Academy Golden Child in Your Position - You might be battling with a young kid who has grew up in the academy or lives right down the street and even if you're a little better then them they will go with the player they know and have developed.
All of these factors and others work hand in hand in determining your worth to a professional side. Rejection can a be a difficult pill to swallow sometimes but it is important to always take something out of the experience and build on it. Don't fall into a depression if things don't work out, I've been there, use it as fuel for the fire.
1. Being Too Passive - Trying to play safe and not make any mistakes won't get you signed that's for sure, low risk soccer won't get your dream fulfilled so go out there and be assertive and put it all out there on the line. No player ever got signed from a conservative pro tryout, all those players have are a story on why they didn't make it.
2. Being Intimidated - These pro's put their shoes on one at a time and grew up playing and loving this game just like any of us. There is no need to be star struck or intimidated by any player or coach to the point where it affects your focus or your game.
3. Bad Body Language - I've seen players kicked out of training and sent home because they through their arms up in the air or were a big suck because something didn't go their way or someone said something to them and they just blew it off. The way you act, speak and carry yourself play a big role in seeing if you're pro material to the coaching staff.
4. Unprepared Physically - It happens more than you might think! Although this seems like a no brainer coming fit to soccer tryouts is critical, especially if you are joining a team during their pre-season. One of the best things you can do to show yourself on a tryout is blowing the coaches away with your fitness. It is inevitable that you will be put through some type of fitness workout or testing, as a player trying out if you come in first and beat the other pro's you've definitely got the coaches attention now. This also takes the pressure off you to be perfect in training as you're already off to a great start.
5. Forgetting to Enjoy the Moment - Before you even get to unpack you might be on your way home or to the next trial and you didn't stop to smell the roses. It's important to take it all in no matter the circumstance of the professional soccer tryouts be sure to take pictures, write some things down in a journal and truly enjoy the moment you're in everyday no matter how it turns out.
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