How many kids – adults too, for that matter – would not leap at the chance of getting the opportunity to show off their skills to scouts from professional clubs? A professional soccer tryout gives a glimpse of the door to fame, fortune and fun that is the life of the elite player. Certainly, hard work, a short career and many downs as well as ups might also appear on the curriculum vitae of the top-level soccer player, but becoming a professional remains the dream for many, many youngsters. As parents and coaches, we would do all we can to get our kids the professional soccer try-out for which they long.
A look at this video gives an interesting insight into getting that chance.
Getting A Professional Soccer Try-out –Routes to Securing a Trial
Of course, the days of the hard-bitten scout turning up of the schools’ cup final, or the Sunday league trophy winner’s last game of the season are long gone. Money plays a part now, with top clubs realising the commercial potential of offering coaching courses associated with their name, where they can receive the double whammy of some additional income on top of the chance of finding a gem.
So, in this changing landscape, here are some ways a young player can get a professional soccer try-out. Who knows, it might open the door to glory.
One: The Soccer Camp
Many commercial companies will offer, for a fee, a short coaching course (sometimes just a day). They will promise that the camp will be visited, sometimes even run by, scouts and other people associated with professional clubs.
Their websites often have stories of players spotted and taken on in club academies. Success is rare, but that does not mean that the promising soccer players of the future won’t have a great time. Expect to pay around $130 for a day.
Two: The Club Connection
The next level of this approach into getting seen by a proper scout is to go direct to your clubs of choice. Most big ones will offer camps which will genuinely be staffed by people in their employ, or at least contracted out to them.
The quality of coaching will be good, and if you genuinely show some serious potential, that information will get back to the powers that be. Often, the bigger clubs will be set up with airport transfers and the like, which shows their desire to stretch the net as far and wide as possible. These clubs often take place during the summer and are residential courses. In the UK, where many clubs operate, they are housed in big public (that is, fee paying) schools.
As such facilities are likely to be good, with a big pool, large grass and Astroturf playing areas and a substantial set of indoor facilities. Accommodation will probably be in small dormitories. But there is a downside. Expect to pay up to $2000 for a week’s course. We believe that this sort of money is fine if the expectation is for a week of quality coaching and fun, plus a chance to make new friends in an active environment. If the money is being spent to satisfy the wish of getting a professional soccer tryout, then the motive is wrong.
Three: Employ an Agent
A very risky and expensive choice. The agent will have a network of scouts (which might be of any quality, and variable length) and will put forward (for a fee) the player seeking a professional soccer try-out. The agent will, of course, then be entitled to a percentage of future earnings if, by some chance, this does prove to be a good route into a club.
Four: Speak to Your School or College Physical Education Department
Clubs know that their academy players mostly come through either the school or club system. Therefore, they will seek to establish good links with these institutions so that, when that special player comes along, their coach contacts them before anybody else.
Five: Prepare a Video
Anybody can take a good quality video these days. So many apps are available for phones and iPads that even those with limited technological ability can produce something impressive. So, if a player has that special X factor, film them. Try to include a combination of in-match highlights, individual skills and working hard at training.
Scouts look for an excellent first touch, a range of technical skills, athleticism and commitment. Ensure the video includes examples of all of these, then send it off to as many clubs and contacts as possible. Most will ignore it; some will view it. Of these, a tiny proportion will take their interest further.
But it is a way to show off soccer skills.
Six: Send an Email
As simple as that. Include, of course, everything that sells the player to their prospective club. Again, the chance of a reply is remote, but it does happen. There’s little lost from trying.
Seven: Join a Private Academy
Again, an expensive approach, and an unregulated one. Pro Direct Soccer, the Nike Football Academy, Football CV Soccer Academy…there are a fair number of choices, although they tend to be based in or near big cities so a preparedness to travel is a must. (Which, of course, translates to mom or dad becoming a taxi service for their young Ronaldo or Rapinoe).
While we would not deny that some kids do get their chance for a try-out through these companies, we should not forget that their aim is not to find new stars, but to charge a substantial sum to coach kids. An annual outlay of up to $20000 is not unusual.
For that money, regular training sessions are usually offered, and facilities are usually good, with 3G pitches and excellent indoor facilities. A place on a soccer camp might materialize and some of the matches played will be trial matches at which scouts from top teams will be present. But…if a player is good enough to get a chance at a professional soccer tryout, then the likelihood is that he or she will be spotted through another method.
Certainly, for those who believe that they are buying success for their kids, they are likely to be disappointed. Expensively so.
Eight: A Specialist Company such as Fieldoo
Again, a commercial company but one which has built up a strong data base of agents and players. This will put their clients, for a fee, in touch with a good agent (hopefully) who will assess ability and find an appropriate trial. Other companies operate, and a google search will identify those that work nearby. Word of mouth recommendations are the best way to proceed.
Nine: The Old-Fashioned Way
Without doubt the best way to get a trial is to do so through a coach. Join a team, work hard, show commitment and concentrate on skills and technique, teamwork, athleticism and mental strength.
By becoming a successful player, the coach’s respect is won, and somewhere down the line, either directly or through another friend, there will be a connection to a scout, to an ex-pro or some other person with their own link to a club.
That person will come and take a look, assess if a player is good enough, and give them a chance if they are.
Ten: Work Hard
The thing is, a scout could be watching at any time. The clue is in the name. These well-connected types scout for talent. And when they see it, they know what they are looking for. Certainly, they are most likely there on recommendation from the coach, but it might not be just that player who catches their attention.
So, by always giving their best, always working hard and listening to advice, that chance might just come along.
But there is a catch. Getting a trial is just the first step on a long and usually disappointing journey. Only very, very, very good players even get this far. If a player gets through this stage, and is invited to an academy, the standard is tremendously high, and is exceeded probably only by the drop out rate as clubs cull their academy players regularly and, usually, savagely.
Very few make it…but for those who do….
A dream comes true.
p.s. Learn more about how to escalate your game to the next level here.