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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
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
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.