It can be challenging for aspiring players to realize their goals when wanting to be chosen for a soccer team. This is true at high school and college soccer, as well as the big leagues. However, knowing what to expect and what you should bring to the table if you find yourself at a tryout can set you apart from the competition.
So, here I’m going to show you how to impress a soccer coach and get on a soccer team.
To make it onto a soccer team and impress the coach, you need to show that you have the right attitude and mentality. You need to be a leader, support your teammates, and have a winning mentality. You also need to showcase your soccer abilities and show the coach how well you understand the game.
My aim in this article is to make things as easy as possible for you to make your chosen team. So, I’m going to focus on 14 essential tips that you need to follow if you want to be noticed by the coach.
So let’s get into it.
14 Tips to Get On a Soccer Team
It is one thing to believe you’re a great player, but it is another thing to be a player that coaches want in their teams. Unfortunately, not all people understand this concept.
When a soccer coach is looking to recruit a player for their team, they are looking at far more than just how skillful a player is.
Throughout a tryout, they will be looking to understand your personality and character as well as how well you work within a team.
To give you the best chance of making the team, within this list, you’ll find tips for your overall mentality as well as your abilities on the field.
With that out of the way, here are our 14 essential tips that every soccer player needs to make the team and impress the coach.
1. Be Mindful of Your Attitude
The first three things we’ll look at might seem a little cliche because many people will mention them.
However, a lot of what a coach looks for in a player revolves around them as a person rather than their soccer abilities.
Keep that in mind whenever you go for tryouts.
No coach wants to deal with a problem maker. Any sign you are unwilling to listen or learn will reduce your chances of making the team straightaway.
Your attitude off the field also says a lot about your character.
Your character tells the coach a lot about you. If you have a lousy attitude off of the field, it might be a sign that you will have a bad attitude on the field.
When you go for tryouts, try to be mindful of your attitude.
I’m not saying that you should be submissive and not say a word. That also won’t help.
The best way to show your leadership qualities and great attitude is by supporting your peers and respecting the coaching staff.
Check out my article – What are High School Soccer Tryouts ACTUALLY Like? – if you’re about to try out for your high school team.
2. Impress the Coach With Your Work Rate
If you can impress the coach with your work rate, coaches will love you.
When you lose the ball, how quickly can you get a back?
What are you going to do to get it back?
What is your movement like off the ball?
How often do you walk instead of run?
These are all things that coaches are looking at.
Thankfully they are also things that anyone can work on, and you should aim to improve them to increase your work rate on the field.
A great example of this is French soccer player N’Golo Kante.
We can look at some of the most well-known players globally and what coaches find desirable about them. However, I want to talk about N’Golo Kante because he is a dream player for just about any coach or manager regarding his work rate.
There is a saying about Kante: “70% of the world’s surface is covered by water, the rest of it is covered by Ngolo Kante.”
While it may sound funny at first, the saying reflects Kante’s work rate and ability to cover the entire soccer field.
On the flip side, you have players like Mesut Ozil, who was a phenomenal talent but received a lot of criticism for his work rate, especially during the later years of his career.
This lack of effort ensured he never reached the heights he was capable of.
3. Leave No Doubts About Your Work Ethic
Your work ethic can be related to your work rate, but it is a little bit deeper than that because it refers to your abilities off of the pitch.
For an example of this, we can look at Cristiano Ronaldo, who has one of the best work ethics in the world of soccer.
In fact, Ronaldo is one of the first people to arrive at the training ground and the last to leave throughout his entire career.
He wants to play, he wants to work as a team, and he wants to win games.
His work ethic is unrivaled in soccer, and you don’t need me to tell you how far that has got him throughout his career!
4. Understand Your Position and Role on the Team
For example, if you play as a left-back, you should know when to attack and defend. Likewise, you should know when to overlap and when to cut inside.
To understand your position better, you should do some research, especially if you haven’t been playing soccer for a very long time.
However, once you understand your role, your overall performance will significantly improve, and you will definitely impress a coach.
You should also check to see what teams are looking for players that play in your position. Trying out for a team looking for players in your position can significantly improve your chances of being selected.
5. Improve Your Ball Control
Now we are starting to get down to specific soccer abilities.
First, it is essential to work on your ball control. It can dictate how successfully you bring the ball down from the air and how close you can keep it to your body while running.
There is one drill that I love doing to work on my ball control, and I recommend you incorporate it into your training as well.
The drill is known as soccer ping pong or soccer tennis.
Soccer Tennis Drill
For this drill, set up a net using cones, poles, or an actual tennis net if you have access to one.
Instead of using a bat and ball as you would use to play ping pong or tennis, you will be using your feet and a soccer ball.
Have at least one person stand on either side of the net and kick the ball back and forth between both players.
You can touch the ball with any part of your body permissible within the rules of soccer, but you can only take two touches at a time: one to control the ball and one to send the ball back to the other side.
The ball may only bounce once on either side of the net as well.
6. Show the Coach You Are Comfortable Moving With the Ball
How you move with the ball is almost as important as your ability to control the ball.
If you receive the ball and are stiff and slow in your movements, this will not impress the coach. However, if you look comfortable with the ball, you will start to catch coaches’ attention very quickly.
Coaches will look closely at where and how you move the ball into spaces.
Let’s say two players are marking you.
There might be a space that you can push the ball into, and doing so will give you more time on the ball to pick out a better pass. Comfortably moving the ball into the spaces is good movement on the ball, which will impress the coach.
7. Focus On Your Movement off the Ball
Many beginner soccer players forget that their movement off the ball is just as important as their movement with the ball.
A big part of this comes down to understanding your position, which we spoke about earlier.
Also, in the coach’s eyes, your movement off the ball is related to your work rate.
The better you can read the game, the better you will get yourself into a position to defend against your opponent adequately. Therefore, your reading of the game and positioning have to be spot on.
Soccer coaches hate to see a player just standing around when they should be trying to get in a good position as fast as possible to support their team and create opportunities to score a goal.
8. Don’t Go Overboard Displaying Your Skills
Many players love to do skills.
If you watch professional players in training sessions or in their free time, they can perform some incredible skills. But you’ll also notice they rarely bring these skills into a game.
There are even some soccer freestylers out there that can probably perform a greater range of skills than even Ronaldo and Messi.
Just check out these ones on the video below.
But have you noticed that freestylers struggle to become professional soccer players?
Sounds weird, right? If they are incredible in terms of skills, shouldn’t they be good on the field?
Well, it doesn’t work like that.
If you watch players like Ronaldo and Messi, you will notice that a lot of the skills they use during a game are relatively simple.
To impress a coach, you need to focus on what separates Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi from the soccer freestylers on YouTube that never made it a pro soccer player. Understanding this can help your chances of being chosen.
Sure Ronaldo likes to do stepovers and his own variation of the Cruyff turn. But these are not highly technical skills per se.
What separates them from other players is that Ronaldo and Messi know when to do skills. Timing is everything.
Even if you are better at doing stepovers than Ronaldo, you need to know precisely when to pull it off.
Impress the coach by using your skills sparingly and only when it gives your team an advantage.
Check out my article – Top 10 Soccer Tricks and Skills – for a range of skills that will impress your friends.
9. Impress the Coach With Your Speed
In soccer, speed isn’t everything, but it can give you an advantage.
Anytime you get to work on your speed, make the most of it. It may give you the edge that puts you above the competition in a tryout.
However, don’t worry too much if you are not the fastest player.
If instance, if you play as a striker, speed isn’t everything.
You could be a target man and focus on crosses and playing with your back to goal. At the same time, if you are fast, you could be a striker who relies on pace. If you are not one, you should be the other, and a coach will notice this.
You cannot force it, and ultimately, the coach will select the type of player they need.
If you are a defender, playing at right or left-back, you need to have pace, to defend against a fast player but your physical attributes play a more critical role as a center-back.
So, while it is true to say that a coach will judge you by your speed, remember it is not the “be all, end all”. It only becomes important in wide positions such as the right and left-wing or the right and left-back.
10. Increase Your Fitness Level
If you put two players together and they have the exact same talents, quality, and skills, but one is fitter than the other, the fitter player is more likely to be selected for the team.
If you go to a tryout and are not fit enough, it will raise questions with the coaching staff.
They might not like it, and they will probably wonder why you decided to come to trial when you are not fit. Is it something to do with your attitude or work ethic?
Aim to be as fit as you can when you go for any tryout.
To help you out with this, I’ve created a 30 Day Soccer Fitness program that gives you a daily step-by-step guide to follow that will take you to the next level of fitness from wherever you are right now.
The program is based on the same training techniques that the professionals follow.
If it’s good enough for the pros then just imagine how good it will be for you!
Check it out now by clicking this link or click on the button below.
You won’t regret it!
11. Work on Improving Your Weak Foot
A player who can’t use their weak foot can slow down the play significantly.
Think about it; if you can only use your preferred foot every time you pass, shoot or cross, you have to push the ball onto your preferred foot, position your body and only then pass or shoot.
If you are at a tryout and the coach sees you making a few accurate passes, crosses, or even shots with your weaker foot, they will notice it, and they will appreciate it.
12. Learn How to Pass Accurately
When talking about passing accuracy, it’s worth thinking about Xavi and his ability to thread the ball in between narrow spaces to set the strikers free, but it runs a lot deeper than that.
Passing accuracy is something that every player, including the goalkeeper, needs to learn.
You should be able to pass the ball accurately over distance from one side of the field to the other. Doing this is called switching the play.
At the same time, you should be able to make quick one-time passes that can stretch the opponent’s defense.
Anytime you make a pass, you want the ball to reach its intended destination.
Maybe you will be able to complete a game with a 100% pass accuracy in the same way that Xavi could.
13. Show the Coach Your Range of Vision
Speaking of players like Xavi, you want to have vision.
Your vision translates to reading the game, and it might not be easy during a trial because it does require a little bit of team chemistry.
Still, the coach will notice your vision almost instantly.
Let’s say you are at a tryout as a central midfielder, and you can see specific spaces. Say that you pass into the spaces, but nobody runs into them.
Don’t worry; the coach will know what you were trying to do, and they will see that with a little bit of training, they could get the team to anticipate your passes.
14. Work on Your Shooting Technique
Finally, you have your shooting technique.
It does not matter where you play on the field; you need to show your shooting skills.
Remember, being able to shoot the ball hard does not mean you are good at shooting. Technique is crucial.
There are various types of shots when it comes to soccer. However, there are two that you should focus on. The laces shot and the finesse.
A finesse shot is used when you are in the 18-yard box, and you want to slot the ball accurately. The laces shot is used for power.
Players spend hours working on each type of shot every week. To impress the coach, you should work on your shooting.
Skills That Soccer Players Need to Impress the Coach
These skills are simple yet effective.
Once you know how to do them, take the time to learn when to do them.
Remember, timing is what sets the best players apart from the rest. So, here are the skills that you need to learn to impress a coach.
● Cruyff turn
● Ball roll
● Step over
● Reverse elastico
Once you become comfortable doing some of those, you can even start creating your own combos. For example, a ball roll-step over.
For a list of my favorite soccer drills check out my article – Top 10 Soccer Drills: For any age or ability.
Not being chosen for the team is hard. The thing is, all athletes, even the best, deal with rejection at some point in their life.
If it happens, use it to make you stronger.
But you will stand a much better chance of being selected if you follow these tips.
For more helpful tips on impressing coaches at a tryout have a look at one of my previous articles: