Schedule and Locations to be posted soon
Tryouts will take place at Drakes Creek Park (DCP) in Hendersonville, Moss Wright Park (MWP) in Goodlettsville, and Richland Park (RP) in Portland. Questions or additional information can be obtained by emailing the Executive Director, Steve Henson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
ALL TRYOUTS ARE FREE
May 17th - 20th - All Players born 2010-2014 (2014's will be evaluations)
May 24th - 27th - All Players born 2010-2013 TUSC North
May 31st - June 3rd - All Players born 2003-2009
Exact dates/times/locations will be updated and posted soon.
Please use the link below to register your player. You will need to register your family in addition to registering for tryouts. Select the tryout session that your player or players need to attend and then you will be directed to register your family. You will register a parent first and then add the players. This will allow you to sign up multiple players if you have them.
2021/22 Fees to be posted in late Spring
2021/22 Coaching list to be posted ASAP
*Although we highly encourage all players to attend tryouts, we also understand that some players are unable to attend tryouts due to vacation schedules or other commitments. This does not prevent players from playing in the 2021/2022 seasons. Please register for tryouts even if you are unable to attend and then contact Executive Director, Steve Henson for more information at 813-675-5103 or email@example.com or Director of Operations, Jonathan Wayland at firstname.lastname@example.org
**A special note for U5, U6, U7, U8, U9 and U10 players and parents**
U5-U7 (players born in 2015 - 2017) players do not have to tryout at TUSC. Online signup and registration occurs in June and July.
U8 (players born in 2014) players will attend tryouts this year for an evaluation process heading into the Fall season.
Attendance during tryouts at U8, U9, and U10 is more a statement of intent to play than a selection process. We will generally take every player that wishes to play in these age groups because it is impossible to predetermine their future success and we would like to provide a fundamental base for all players to enjoy and learn the game.
Si necesita asistencia personalizada con el proceso de registro o tiene preguntas, nos complace brindarle asistencia individual y confidencial en español. Envíe un correo electrónico a un miembro del personal en español aquí. email@example.com
Thank you to our tryout partner Primrose Schools of Hendersonville.
Matrix for Age Group Placement:
Find your player's birth year on the table below to determine their appropriate tryout division.
|Birth Year||Age Group 2020/2021 Season|
|2017||U5||Eligible to participate in TUSC U5 Hotshots Academy INFO|
|2015 & 2016||U6 & U7||Eligible to participate in TUSC Junior Academy INFO|
|2014||U8||Eligible to participate in TUSC Pre Academy INFO|
|2013||U9||Eligible to participate in TUSC Academy|
|2012||U10||Eligible to participate in TUSC Academy|
|2011||U11||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2010||U12||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2009||U13||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2008||U14||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2007||U15||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2006||U16||Red, Blue, White Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2005||U17||Red, Blue Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2004||U18||Red, Blue Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
|2003||U19||Red Teams (dependent on Numbers)|
- Tips for Finding the Right Club
- Tryout Information for Parents
Tennessee United Soccer Club is committed to providing each player access to the highest level of competition. As we recognize that each player develops at their own pace, we truly mean we are committed to providing each player access to the highest level of competition appropriate for where they are within their development cycle. As players develop differently, we know that a clumsy 10 year old, may wind up being a star midfielder as a 15 year old, if nurtured properly. Equally, a star 11 year old may find other passions at 14 and decide that soccer is less important or may have just been more mature then the other 11 year olds and their 14 year old team mates have caught up with them. We also recognize that, by its very nature, soccer is competitive and that competition is a natural motivator. In order for players to grow, we believe they must be motivated to do so. Tryouts leverage competition as a motivator to encourage players to examine where they aspire to be and to work toward those aspirations.
Providing each child with a fair opportunity to reach their personal goals is equally important to TUSC. We believe those players that demonstrate the skills, the passion and the personal responsibility to compete at higher levels deserve to be prepared to do so. We also believe those that may not be as skilled yet, but demonstrate a passion for the game and show personal responsibility, need to be nurtured so they too may reach their goals. For these reasons we believe annual tryouts are a fair and equitable means for providing all players with the opportunity and venue to develop and compete within their skill, passion and level of commitment.
- Tryouts are for both boys and girls from the ages of U9 through U19.
- Tryout results are determined from observations by all professional coaches within TUSC, and qualified professionals from outside the club, for players performing in related practices and small sided games. We already possess a good deal of information about players already in our club. In reality we are looking to see how new tryout participants compare against the baseline for other players and teams in their age group.
- Player selection is determined by the pro coaches of TUSC, only. To maintain the integrity of the selection process it is important that there is no influence or perception of influence from any parent on pro coaches decisions. Therefore parents, are welcome to observe from a distance, but should not approach the coaching staff before, during or after the tryouts. If you have concerns, please contact the DOC who will be able to address your concerns after team selections are published and confirmed.
- The following criteria is used to assess the players, this helps the player recognize what areas of the game they are being assessed on.
- Players will be rated by each coach in each area of assessment depending on their ability.
- Players are placed into competitive small-sided game situations (4v4 7v7 9v9) practices. Where appropriate and that time allows.
- Games will be mainly 4v4, 7v7, 9v9, (depending on the relevant age group) allowing for lots of touches on the ball for the players, this will allow the coaches to observe the player in game situations and how the player adapts, and how they can perform during this time.
- Small Sided Games (4v4) will have no set positions, but will work from positional themes and within this, the player’s positional sense will be observed. Rotation of a player’s positional sense will occur naturally within the games and be encouraged.
- Within the game the players are encouraged to interchange then return to a basic shape when the time is right. We are not only looking at what skills the players have, but more importantly where, when, why and how they use them, this is the true measure of a soccer player.
- On the first day of tryouts, players are required to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of their tryout in order to register, and to warm up before the start of the session. Players will warm themselves up each day before their tryout session begins.
- All players are required to wear shinguards and will not be allowed to participate without them. Each player should also bring a soccer ball and water to each session.
While the task of watching and evaluating decision-making within a live game can be quite difficult for the average parent-coach, the following 12 criteria form the basis of a realistic playing evaluation. Evaluating players’ strengths and weaknesses in an authentic setting not only provides information on which players can actually play, but allows opportunities for coaches to target for help those areas which hinder performance. Think how realistic it is to tell the parents of a player that their kid is on the B team because they don’t yet understand how to create space, or they can’t keep possession of the ball when under pressure, or their tactical understanding does not allow them to play in combination with others, or they simply take too many touches and play too slowly. Contrast that message with the information that they can’t run fast enough, or juggle well enough, or run fast enough through a line of cones. In reality, the differences between the scores of young players may be one or two juggles or one or two seconds; we must ask if those differences really tell us anything of substance about that person as a soccer player?
- Does the player understand how to SPREAD OUT? Where should the player be to give the team a playing shape and create space between the defenders? Does the team have players on either side and/or front and back?
- Does the player understand how to CREATE SPACE TO RECEIVE A PASS? Does the player move to help the passer make a connection? This may involve losing a defender to create space, or simply demonstrating an awareness of where the passing lanes are.
- Does the player understand when to CREATE SPACE AT THE RIGHT MOMENT TO RECEIVE A PASS? Does the player move at the right time to help the passer? Or do they run into spaces before the ball can be played? Or do they run too late and the passing lanes disappear?
- Does the player understand WHEN TO SUPPORT A TEAMMATE AND WHEN TO STRETCH THE OTHER TEAM? Is it time to take defenders away from the ball? Or is it time to support the player with the ball? Or is it time to run forward and look for a through pass? A critical question here is whether the player’s movement allows the team to keep possession or not?
- Is the player MOBILE within the game? Does the player cover a lot of ground? Does the player only move when the ball is close by? Does the player move in anticipation of combination play with teammates?
- Does the player have a high TRANSITION WORK-RATE? Does the player put out much effort? In particular, does the player transition quickly from attack to defense or defense to attack?
- Does the player have any VISION of the game? Does the player open their body and look for teammates before they get the ball? Does the player look for teammates when in possession or does their poor skill level leave them fighting to control the ball? Is the player looking for opportunities to score goals, or quickly pass forward to teammates?
- DEFENDING SKILLS-1: How well does the player defend against their immediate opponent? Do they look to intercept passes? Or deny the opponent space to turn? Or prevent forward passes?
- DEFENDING SKILLS-2: Does the player help teammates defend? Do they understand how to help teammates by covering passing and dribbling lanes? Do they follow opponents running into scoring positions?
- DECISION MAKING: Does the player understand when it is time to possess the ball and play sideways or backwards, or when it is time to go forward? Do they understand when it is time to pass, dribble, or shoot? Do they read the position and movement of teammates and opponents?
- SPEED OF PLAY: How effective is the player in this game with these opponents and teammates? Do they have the skill to be effective? Do they dominate or struggle because of their size or because of their skill? Do they play quickly or slowly? How many touches do they need to pass, dribble, or shoot?
- Finally, what SPECIAL QUALITIES does the player have which may hint at positional possibilities? Some examples: Does the player score goals (striker)? Does the player control the ball quickly (midfielder)? Does the player defend well (defender)? Does the player dribble with confidence and creativity (attacker)? Is the player a good passer (central player)? Is the player comfortable playing with their back to the opponent's goal (attacker)? Is the player tricky with the ball (winger or attacking midfielder)? Does the player like to play in goal?
ULTIMATELY, COACHES PICK THE PLAYERS THEY WANT ON THEIR TEAM
Notification of selection to the Club will be made shortly after completion of the tryout. Acceptance of that selection will indicate parents’ willingness to fulfill the commitments required of you and your child as members of the club as dictated by the policies, procedures and by-laws which can be found elsewhere on this website.
Ideally Initial player notification will take place no later than the Friday proceeding the tryout week. The coach will call and email the invited players. Where multiple teams are being formed in each age group the process will take longer as; Players selected for the Red team in the age group must accept or decline the invitation, then Blue team, and so on. In reality we attempt to hasten the process with the signature of a commitment letter but some players are inevitably out of town or on vacation during this time. Once a Red team roster has been filled with the requisite number of players (either based on numerical minimums / ability level or a combination of the two) decisions can then be made concerning the remaining players.
- How To Assess Soccer Players Without Skill Tests
Tom Turner, OYSAN Director of Coaching and Player Development
This article was originally created for presentation at the 1999 USYSA Workshop in Chicago. The piece was revised and expanded in December 2000.
Evaluating soccer players can be a challenging process, particularly when the criteria used for evaluation are not based on the demands of the game. Soccer is a very fluid game when it is performed well; to play at speed, players must have skill and vision and tactical insight. However, with novice and experienced coaches alike, there is a tendency to look at soccer as a series of discrete skills or actions, separate from the game as a whole. This can lead to the development of evaluation criteria that are based more on “scores” than “performance.” While a deep knowledge of the discrete components that comprise the game of soccer is important, and, in fact, serves as one marker that separates the more experienced coach from the novice, there is an inherent danger in thinking about the game in discrete terms when evaluating players. This is particularly true in try-out situations when “skill tests” are seen as more objective and often utilized to protect inexperienced coaches from unpopular decisions. Let’s take a look at passing as an example of the folly and futility of individual skill testing for the purpose of selecting players for teams.
A common skill test for passing is to count how many times the ball is exchanged between two players in 60 seconds using the inside of the foot. In soccer games, the purpose of passing is to score goals, to take opponents out of the game, or to keep possession of the ball. There are six surfaces of the foot that can be used to pass the ball (inside, outside, heel, toe, instep and sole) and the ball can be passed using a variety of spins, speeds and trajectories. If we separate the tactical aspects of play (when and why do I pass there?) from the technical aspects (what surface and texture is required?), the basic elements of the game are decoupled and we are left with activities that involve technical repetition without tactical context. In addition, when we choose to test passing skills with a particular surface, it is often at the expense of the others. This can send the message to players that the other surfaces are either less important, not recommended, or not to be considered. Think about coaches who discourage, and would certainly never test for, passing with the toe, and then consider all the ways the toe can be used as a viable option in problem solving! To take this to the extreme, if we decide to be fair and test all six surfaces, how long will this process take and what time will be left for assessing all the other technical, tactical and physical aspects that constitute the elements of play?
Looking from a different perspective, think of practicing passing with one surface as similar to learning to strike just one key on a keyboard. We may become good at striking “G,” but it doesn’t make us think about how to find “G” in the context of creating a complete sentence, or how “G” is situated in relation to the other keys. Ironically, practicing only one technique in isolation is actually reinforcing for coaches because players do improve their ability to perform that particular action. However, the downside to predictable technical repetition in young players is that those who learn the game in less predictable ways are more likely to develop a deeper understanding of how to adapt their range of techniques to solve novel tactical problems; in short, they become more skilful! While street soccer may be a thing of the past, think no further than the upbringing of the average NBA player to form an appreciation of its lost value. Creative, skillful players develop in response to an environment where techniques and tactical awareness develop in unpredictable ways “together” though hours of unstructured free play.
So how does this relate to try-outs? My premise is that quantitative (numerical) measures of ability do not work very well in evaluating soccer players. Timed sprints, kicks against a wall, kicking for distance, number of Coerver’s in a minute, and various competitions, such as 1v1 Combat, are all examples of activities that have been used to assess whether players can play soccer or not. However, knowing that Suzie can sprint 50 yards in 8 seconds, juggle 5 times with her right foot, kick 25.5 yards with her left foot, and run through a line of cones in 12 seconds tells us very little about Suzie’s ability as a problem-solver under pressure. For that, we need to watch her play soccer and evaluate how her technique impacts her decision-making.
While the task of watching and assessing decision-making within a live game can be quite difficult for the average parent-coach, the following criteria form the basis of a realistic playing evaluation. Assessing players’ strengths and weaknesses in an authentic setting not only provides information on which players can actually “play” soccer, but also allows coaches the opportunity to target for remediation those areas that are observed to be absent or a hindrance to good performance. Consider how realistic it would be to tell a parent that their child is on the “B” or “C” team because they don’t yet understand how to create space, or they can’t keep possession of the ball when under pressure, or their tactical understanding does not allow them to play in combination with others, or that they simply take too many touches and play too slowly. Contrast that message with the information that their child is on the “B” or “C” team because they can’t run fast enough, juggle well enough, dribble through a line of cones under control, or because they finished bottom of a competitive heading ladder. In reality, the differences between the scores of young players may be one or two juggles or one or two seconds, or one or two feet. We must ask if those differences really tell us anything of substance about that person as a soccer player?
The suggested games for observing players under the age of ten are 2v2, 2v2+1, 3v3, 3v3+1, 4v4, and 5v5. While 5v5 is the best option to assess 9 and 10 year-olds, younger or very inexperienced children might find these numbers too complicated. For players older than ten, games of 8v8 and 11v11 should be used to complement games of 5v5. The smaller-sided games can be played to a line (dribble over the line in control to score), to a target player on the end line (pass to the target player to score / use the other team’s target as a support player), or to a goal (with or without goalkeepers). Eight versus eight and 11v11 should always be played to goals and with goalkeepers. The field sizes will vary, but generally 2v2 is played on a field of 15x25 yards, 3v3 on a field of 20x30 yards, 4v4 on a field of 25x40 yards, and 5v5 on a field of 30x40 yards. The 8v8 field is 50x70 yards.
Here are some criteria used for evaluation.
Because players under the age of 10 have not developed a sense of group tactics, the following criteria deal with individual technical and tactical issues.
- Does the player understand which goal to attack and which to defend? Have they established a sense of soccer DIRECTION?
- Does the player try to CONTROL THE BALL when it comes to them, or do they look to kick it away?
- Is the player COMFORTABLE WHEN DRIBBLING the ball? Does the player try to keep the ball close to their body?
- Does the player try to use a VARIETY OF SURFACES when turning and running with the ball?
- Is the player TWO FOOTED?
- Does the player ATTACK OPEN SPACE when they have time and space to dribble the ball forward?
- Does the player recognize when to DRIBBLE AWAY FROM PRESSURE? Does the player have the spatial awareness to perceive pressure and move into an open space with the ball?
- Given time and space, does the player have the technical skills TO BEAT AN OPPONENT and maintain possession?
- Does the player MOVE INTO OPEN SPACES to receive passes? Does the player stand behind other players or do they perceive open space and move away from the crowd?
- Does the player naturally MOVE WITH THE GAME, or do they kick the ball and stand still?
- Does the player SCORE GOALS? Does the player naturally look to score goals and do they have the vision and technique to score by design?
- Does the player try to RECOVER THE BALL when the other team has possession?
In addition to the elements used to assess players under the age of ten, the following criteria should also be used to assess players older than ten.
- Does the player understand how to SPREAD OUT? Where should the player move to give the team a playing shape and create space between the defenders? Does the team have players on either side of the field and in the front and in the back?
- Does the player understand how to CREATE SPACE TO RECEIVE A PASS? Does the player move to help the passer make a connection? This may involve losing a defender to create space or simply demonstrating an awareness of possible passing lanes.
- Does the player understand when to CREATE SPACE AT THE RIGHT MOMENT to receive a pass? Does the player’s movement help the passer? Do they run into space before the ball can be played, or do they run into space too late and the passing lane disappears?
- Does the player understand when to SUPPORT A TEAMMATE AND WHEN TO STRETCH THE OTHER TEAM? Does the player understand when it is time to take a defender away from the area of the ball because other teammates are in better supporting positions? Does the player understand when to receive passes to feet in front of their defender and when to receive passes into space behind their defender? Does the player’s choice of supporting positions allow the team to maintain possession?
- Is the player MOBILE within the game? Does the player cover a lot of ground in a purposeful way? Does the player only move when the ball is close to them? Does the player move in anticipation of combining with teammates?
- Does the player have a high TRANSITION WORK-RATE? Does the player expend much effort? In particular, does the player transition quickly from attack to defense and from defense to attack?
- Does the player have VISION for the game? Does the player turn their head or open their body before they get the ball to help see teammates? Does the player look for teammates when in possession or does their poor skill level leave them fighting to control the ball? Is the player looking for opportunities to score goals or to quickly pass to teammates in more advanced positions?
- SPEED OF PLAY and DECISION MAKING. Does the player understand when it is time to possess the ball by playing forward, sideways or backward? Do they understand when it is time to pass, dribble or shoot? Do they read the position and movement of teammates and defenders and constantly adjust their own positions? How many touches do they need to pass, control, dribble or shoot?
- INDIVIDUAL DEFENDING SKILLS. How well does the player defend against their immediate opponent? Do they look to intercept passes? Do they understand how to close down their opponent and remain balanced? Do they demonstrate controlled aggression when tackling for the ball? Do they deny their opponent space to turn? Do they position themselves to channel their opponent away from dangerous areas? Do they position themselves to deny forward passes when in the middle of the field? Do they understand how to use offside space?
- GROUP DEFENDING SKILLS. Does the player help teammates to defend? Do they understand how to cover teammates? Do they understand how to defend passing lanes? Do they follow opponents running into dangerous supporting positions? Do they understand how to play within a zone?
- PHYSICAL QUALITIES. Do they help the team because of individual qualities, such as speed and size, or because they have neat skills and a “feel’ for soccer? In the long run, will their existing range of techniques help them become a competent soccer player, despite their current size? In the long run, will their physical qualities and athleticism compensate for less-than-polished skills? Do they have the endurance to play soccer for extended periods without taking long rests or asking for a substitution? Are they agile and balanced, or cumbersome in their movements?
- PSYCHOLOGICAL QUALITIES. Are they competitive? Are they coachable? Are they focused and intrinsically motivated? Are they responsible? Are they a positive or negative influence on teammates? Do they view improvement or winning as more important? What are their goals for soccer and where do they want to be in 5 or 10 years? Do they practice their skills alone? Do they have other talents and interests in life?
Soccer is a game of decisions influenced by vision and technique. The most gifted technical player at the girls ODP regional camp in 1998 was quite stunning with the ball on the practice field. With her green soccer shoes and smooth technique, she was easy to identify; unfortunately, she was a non-entity during the games because she could not find her moments to get involved, she played too slowly, she was immobile, and she made very poor decisions. This, sadly, was an example of someone who had apparently grown up juggling and practicing dribbling skills at the expense of learning to play the game. Without question, she would have been the #1 ranked player at camp had the team been selected on skill tests. While technical players are obviously important at the higher levels, young players must learn to solve the problems of small-sided games as they develop their skill level, not afterwards. Learning to assess individuals on the basis of their performance in live games is an important step towards helping coaches recognize true soccer talent; an important step towards picking teams based on realistic soccer criteria; and an important step towards helping coaches develop an individual focus for the seasons’ practices. Soccer has many, many elements that contribute to superior performance and this interrelationship cannot be overlooked when assessing players’ ability.
- How Coaches Assess Players
ROBY STAHL, BOY’S DIRECTOR OF COACHING, OHIO ELITE SOCCER ACADEMY
One of the difficulties that players face is realizing how coaches are assessing their talent and potential as a student-athlete. How you perform under game conditions sets the yardstick on how you will be measured. The game demands infinite variety technically, tactically, physically, and psychologically. The game features the excitement and power of two teams trying to score goals on the attacking side and defying that goals will be scored on the defending side.
Coaches will see in this competitive environment which players are totally committed on maintaining or regaining possession of the ball. Under the pressurizing challenge of opponents who are restricting the space and time for players to read and to assess a situation and to adapt themselves successfully. Can they collect a ball safely, initiate a pass, a run, a turn, a feint, carryout some surprising unpredictable moves, in order to help themselves or a teammate score a goal?
Good defenders will be able to read and anticipate attacking methods, pursuing and chasing the ball immediately, closing down the attacking space, smothering the attacker’s reaction time, intercept passes, steal the ball back, and quickly initiate the attack. All successful coaches are looking for those players who have the skill and desire to attack and to defend.
Every good defender in possession knows how to switch from defending to attacking play. Their agility and skill allow them to run forward, dribble at opponents, play one-twos by using up front players, shield the ball, and to have the courage to shoot at goal and score.
Players are complete only when developed in all areas. Outstanding skill with a weakness in speed, strength, and power makes a player less desirable. The same holds true of players who are physical specimen only to have below average technique. And what of the player with good physical prowess and skill, yet who has no idea of the tactical elements of their team’s play? Even less desirable are those players who fall apart psychologically under pressure, “hiding” or lashing out at opponents, teammates, referees, coaches, or parents during the big game.
These elements are developed by exposure to highly challenging daily training sessions and frequent highly combative matches. This will insure the development of the following vital components of the highly recruitable player.
You must be able to bring a ball played to you under control instantly and smoothly. This is the ability to collect and move in a different direction without stopping the ball completely, yet still maintaining it securely. Develop the technique of receiving a pass at top speed. This means not slowing down to collect a ball coming on the ground, bouncing, or in the air. You must be able to protect the ball by shielding it and developing deception in order to get rid of your opponent.
You must be able to successfully complete short and long range passes. This incorporates all of your ball skills, including heading, bending, chipping, and the ability to drive the ball to a partner. You will find that at a high level, it is easier to control and make quick decisions with a ball that is driven to you, rather than weakly played. Develop the skill of one-touch passing.
This is the ability to feint, burst past opponents, change directions and speed at will, and break through packed defensive lines. Can you exhibit quick feet, combined with a sense of comfort under pressure, to penetrate into space to open opportunities for yourself or a partner?
The ability to head at goal after crosses, heading high, wide, and deep for defensive clearances, heading balls as a one-touch pass (both into space or to a partner’s feet) in order to create shooting chances. Can you effectively demonstrate the ability to do this under the duress of the game?
Nothing makes more of an impression on people than the skill of goal scoring. This aspect takes in the correct technique of striking the ball in various ways; driving low balls, hitting volleys, half-volleys, half-chances, chipping, bending, heading, etc. Good goal scorers can also finish with their chest, heel, toe, and thigh. Coaches are looking for that player who can exhibit composed aggressiveness, swift and secure decision taking at the opportune times. The successful goalscorer has the mentality of a great used-car salesman, very aggressive and not afraid of failure.
Tactical insight incorporates the anticipation, reading, and execution of certain clues that happen during possession and non-possession of the ball.
A. Player not in possession:
- Makes himself available for the ball, perhaps by a diagonal run or a crossover run.
- Realizes when it is crucial to offer close support and when to stay away.
- Recognizes the proper time to execute “take-overs” and “overlaps”.
B. Player in possession:
- Has good peripheral vision, allowing him to recognize the correct time to switch the ball to the other side of the field.
- Has good penetrating vision, allowing him to see and utilize players who are far down the field.
- Recognizes the correct time to play directly, and when it is important to hold the ball (shielding or dribbling), or when to run at top speed past players opening up passing angles for his team.
- Sees opportunities to play “one-twos”.
During the immediate pursuit, and desire to regain possession of the ball, the player should recognize:
- When to race forward to intercept the pass.
- When to mark the opponent tight in order to discourage the ball from being passed to him (pressure).
- When, where, and how (posture) to tackle.
- When to jockey the ball carrier and force them away from the goal (patience).
- The quickest avenue of attack upon regaining the ball.
Physical fitness for the soccer player must condition that person to play better soccer. Too many times fitness takes the form of running that has nothing to do with the modern demands of the game. Fitness must be designed to help a player’s self-assertion when controlling the ball against tackling opposing players throughout the duration of the game. All physical elements must be balances in order to become a complete player. Fitness and ball control must grow together!
The ability of a player to commit himself diligently throughout the game in attack and defense with no sign of fatigue and impaired ball control. That player must constantly be running into open spaces demanding the ball or pulling and committing opposing players to create openings. Even though this is also a tactical commitment, it will only be successful if you have the endurance capabilities to run for ninety minutes. The coach will be examining your physical exertion as you are being exposed to tactical problems you are trying to solve in the game.
The ability to accelerate quickly and maintain that acceleration of the various lengths the player’s position demands. As an example, the forward needs acceleration with changes of speed over three to twenty yards. Elements include:
- Pure straight ahead running speed
- Lateral speed (changing direction).
- Change of speed (slow to fast, fast to half speed).
- Deceleration (“stopping on a dime”).
After these basics are attained, speed must be practiced with the ball!
The ability to change directions quickly. Twisting, turning while dribbling, readjusting your body to control an awkwardly bouncing ball, and getting up quickly after a tackle are a few examples. This area is enhanced by flexibility exercises such as stretching, ball gymnastics, and skill training with the ball. Conditioning training must be combined with skill and tactical training!
The ability to effectively use your body to win physical confrontations. Strength is exhibited during tackling (1 vs. 1), winning the aerial duel (heading), and changing directions effectively (explosion). It is also important to learn how to effectively use that strength to your advantage as is demonstrated in using your arms to hold a player off while running at top speed with the ball or in shooting for power. Much of your strength and power training can be combined with technique training!
Attitude and Personal Traits
Regardless of a player’s performance, their skill, tactical, and physical display, other factors heavily influence a coach’s decision to recruit a given athlete. Coaches will look at their mental and psychological make-up, their mental ability to quickly and correctly read and assess situations, their motivational drive and will power, their self-confidence and emotional stability. Competition reveals character!
Each coach loves to identify key players with personalities and qualities that cause them to become team leaders. The following personality traits are the most recognizable:
- Drive: Pure will power, eager to achieve goals, a burning desire to achieve success, strong self-motivation, commitment, dedication, determination.
- Aggressiveness: “Go getter”, strong self-assertions, takes risks, wants to dominate opponents, works hard and ruthless in attack and defense, Danger - bad losers that are inclined to retaliation and revenge fouls, loses self-control, general lack of discipline.
- Determination: Seeks the direct way towards goal, no compromising, doesn’t hesitate when making decisions, willingness, fully concentrated, success-oriented.
- Responsibility: Intelligent, can read the game tactically (anticipation), conscientious, reliable, wants security, cooperative, ready for compromise, stable and skillful player.
- Leadership: Intelligence, dedication, pride, bears responsibility for the team, influences the environment, anticipation, intuition, independent and spontaneous, convincing and dominating player, hard worker, no surrender, composed, self-controlled, endurable, communicative, respected, trustful.
- Self-Control: Discipline, emotional stability, composure, discretion, defying conflicts.
- Self-Confidence: Secure ball control and determined application of skills and tactics under pressure (both external and self-imposed). Danger - these players tend to underrate opposing players, show a lack of willingness to be coached, and can become easily complacent.
- Mental Toughness: Persistency, consistency, commitment throughout the game, no surrender, tough self-assertion.
- Coachability: Ready to learn and to achieve goals, self-motivated, attentive and receptive, willingness, interested, spontaneous, committing themselves, likes to discuss problems, hard worker, self-disciplined, creative, constructive, progressive.
- Conscientiousness: Sensitive, nervous, pre-contest anxiety, diligent, always wants to give their best, modest, reserved, fearful, pondering, self-critical, depends on success, reliable player in solid environment.
- Trustfulness: Reliable, self-confident, will be respected and attracts sympathy of teammates, untiring commitments, composed and self-controlled, determined influential and communicative, open-minded and approachable, good team spirit.