Many players often complain about how difficult it can be for Americans to play professional soccer. The general concensus is that the larger clubs seem to prefer hiring retired premier league players over scouting for homegrown talent. The LA Galaxy II is changing this way of thinking by offering open tryouts.
Chris Howe, Manager, Programs and Player Development for the LA Galaxy was good enough to answer a few questions regarding this process.
What inspired your club to try Open Tryouts?
We wanted to provide opportunities for undiscovered soccer players to showcase their talents. We receive 100’s of emails per month from players wanting to tryout out for the team so we created a platform for the players to do just that.
How many years has your club offered these Open Tryouts?
We are currently in our 4thyear of administering the tryouts. We have tried different systems in the past but we feel we have continually progressed to provide the best opportunities for the players.
What do you look for in a player when determining whether or not to invite them to training camp?
We are looking for accomplished players, players that can play quickly and make intelligent decisions based on what is presented in front of them. We are looking for players who have a spark, can impact the game and can show quality in their control of the ball. Athleticism helps, but isn’t a necessary requirement.
Have any of the players you have selected and then invited to training camp made the team?
Yes, we’ve had players signed to Galaxy II as well as our academy who we found in various open tryouts. Through our professional network, we’ve also been able to provide opportunities for players to sign with other professional teams in the US and abroad. If a player isn’t quite the right fit for us, we’ll do our best to help support them and pass them along to other teams if we think they can succeed.
Have any of the LA Galaxy II players moved up to the LA Galaxy team?
If yes, were any of those players that were identified through these Open tryouts? Yes, every season of Galaxy II’s existence has seen players progress to the 1st team. In the 2017 season, 12 players were contracted to the 1st team that were previously with Galaxy II. As of yet, a player found in the open tryouts has not progressed to the 1st team, however we are hopeful this will change in 2019 after Diedie Traore found in LA Open Tryout 2018) has had spells training with them.
Do you think professional players have any personality traits in common? If yes, what are these?
I would say the majority, but not all. Obviously they have to be highly driven and motivated to succeed but to the degree of which does vary, in my opinion.
Many people feel that the style of play varies from country to country. Would you agree with this statement?
Generally yes. The conditions that each country has to deal with vary by the continent, so for the most part yes however I do feel the narrative is similar and becoming very comparable.Embed from Getty Images
What strengths do you believe US players have that those of other countries do not?
I think in general the US produces a higher level of athletic people than most countries. If you look at the Olympics, the US is always at or near the top in terms of winning that competition. The US College game (and even high school to a certain extent) is based very much on fitness and athletic ability. Aside from the players themselves, I think they have such an advantage in terms of the facilities at their disposal. State of the art training amenities for youth clubs, high schools, colleges and professional teams are mostly at a premium. The US does a fantastic job of investing into youth and providing the right facilities to be able to succeed. Education and sport are often couple together, so being given the opportunity to continue both is very unique and a massive draw for international students.
What areas of play do you believe the US still needs to develop in order to compete at an international level?
For me, I feel it’s more of a structural starting with youth soccer and moving up. The US can compete internationally, they have and will continue to do so. It is a little sporadic in terms of their consistency but they have and are capable of producing on the world stage.
What advice would you give the aspiring young player who wants to play professionally?
You have to dedicate yourself constantly to your craft. It’s not about where you are currently but about planning for yourself to progress to the next step or phase. Mental toughness is a necessity which must be coupled with hard work and a relentless attitude to succeed. Listen to and respect your coaches and above all, be a good person.
Selected players from the open tryouts will be invited for further evaluation. These invited players will have their flight, hotel and food taken care of by the LA Galaxy, and will have the opportunity to continue their trial and potentially earn a professional contract!
For additional information go to: Tryouts
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