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Making the Team

The beautiful game can get very ugly when it comes to selecting a team. Even at the recreational level, select teams are largely chosen before the first try-out even starts. Coaches select players that were in last years team and the players they are familiar with. Then, the few open spots are available to all those that try-out (often 20-50 players). In groups of that size, a coach may only have a few seconds to view each player. Often, the word of a parent or other selected player makes the difference.

At the club level, getting time with the coach may be next to impossible. Most teams do not announce open tryouts and may only reserve one or two spots for a specific positional player. Beyond that, any potential player must unseat an existing player which may be next to impossible.

At the High School level, each coach takes a unique approach. Some coaches may try to keep a club together to take advantage of the players familiarity with each other. Others may have a set evaluation criteria based on individual skills. Other coaches may try to take as many freshmen as possible expecting to train them over time.

College recruiting is even more difficult. Unless a player is at the Premier level or on an Olympic Development Squad, the coach may never know about them. One way to break the ice is to attend the coach’s camp. This allows the player to learn the coaching style and to display their skills. A poor showing at the camp may eliminate a player’s chance of ever playing for that coach.

Below is the unedited experience of one of our former students.

“I played soccer for four years at Quartz Hill High School. My first year I made the junior varsity team which was really difficult. I had been playing soccer since I was five years old and I started club at the age of twelve. We had nearly sixty kids trying out for the fifteen open spots on the team. I quickly found that high school soccer was not all about skill, but also very political. I was lucky and was accepted by most of the kids and quickly earned a nickname of "Harry Potter" because I was fast, scored what they considered magic goals and of coarse I resembled Harry Potter. This helped me because the coach noticed the weird nickname and it must have stuck with him. As a sophomore it was easier to make the team even though we had a new coach because I was now a returning player. My junior year we had yet another coach. I was immediately put on the JV side when we started tryouts. One of my friends, who played club with me, was on the Varsity side told the coach to bring me over to the varsity side. I went on to be the defensive MVP and all-league defender that year. All because of whom I knew and who knew me. As a senior I played varsity as well and earned the coaches award with my fourth coach in high school soccer. So in my opinion making the high school soccer team is tremendously dependant on politics. A large pat of it is getting to know the coach and the other players and building a trust with them.”

If you have a story to tell, please submit your experience to AVID Soccer for possible inclusion.  We are most interested in your college recruiting experience and the tools, contacts that helped you.  All submissions remain the property of AVID Soccer.

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Last updated: 07/15/2011.