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Tryout Season

It's that time of the year. The silly tryout season...

I always get questions about my opinions on clubs and teams offering tryouts. It is hard to navigate where a good place would be for every single player. There are a few things that come to mind when thinking of tryout season. This season starts to become earlier and earlier with clubs/teams trying to tie down "new" players to their programs. There are fall tryouts as early as the first week after the new year with a deposit that's due the following week. You have coaches sending player's messages on Instagram and friend requesting parents on Facebook promising them the world and that they can give them a better situation. This should automatically be a red flag for players who are looking for a new environment. Until New Jersey Youth Soccer and US Soccer cracks down on this, it will continue to happen unfortunately.

First, if you plan on leaving or cutting a player you need to let the coach or player know well in advance. There is a respect factor that comes into play in this game. You never want to leave on bad terms since you may want to come back in the future.

Families need to do a lot of research before trusting anyone who is doing a tryout. Stop making a decision based on a teams got soccer points. Especially at such a young age. Got soccer has ruined a lot of development in this country. When that is the first topic of conversation when speaking to another parent, that should be another red flag.

What does the current roster size look like? Are you actually a potential player or are you profit for the team? A squad should not have a "pool" of 23+ players to select from unless they are a legit MLS academy. Are those teams also accepting more players midseason after the roster is already full? What are the other players doing outside of just training? Are you paying the full price as those who are playing week in and week out? Are you paying the same price as the "A" team when you do way less events and training than them?

Are you interested in development or are you interested in winning? Another question to ask yourself. Status can be more important for bragging rights than development for some. Saying that you play for team x who has amazing facilities even though you'll only be a training player. Winning is a great mindset to have. Of course you want to win, but wins and loses should not come into the picture until way down the road at maybe u17/u18. The base of your pyramid should be focused on that strong development. Playing kick ball and winning matches can only take you so far. I have made some mistakes as a young coach where I thought winning was everything. It was the environment I came out of college with and of course the pressure from parents. Players who are truly invested need to play to continue to develop.

Are clubs promising you college when you are only in 5th grade? The college recruitment system is a totally different game now. You have the transfer portal, international students, and 5th/6th year seniors who are now being thrown into your competition as a potential student athlete. No one can guarantee you college. So stop believing it. I have seen some amazing players not get recruited over the last few years even after making the jump to clubs who have marketed college to them. No shirt you wear is going to put you in that position that is a D1 full ride. College recruitment comes down to you. Be honest with yourself...

There is so much that you would truly have to debate with yourself to make this decision. Stop falling for the marketing fc teams and start making an educational decision for your future. Ask the right questions. Make the right decisions. There is so much more to this tryout season and most of these topics are just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully this little insight will help guide you through most of the traps out there.

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