High school soccer tryouts are usually held sometime before the start of the season. The coaches test your skills and abilities to see how you’d fit into the team, and if you do well, you might just make it. Here is my guide on what to expect and how to stand out at soccer tryouts.
There are specific features that are part of a high school soccer tryout. First, you’ll have to show your athleticism, then you take part in some soccer drills, and finally, you may have to participate in an exhibition game so the coach can evaluate your skills.
There are millions of high school children involved in soccer across the United States. In this article, I want to explain what a high school soccer tryout is like as well as show you how to prepare and stand out to your coach.
To perform at your best during a high school tryout, you must make sure you have the best cleats for you. That’s why I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to make sure you choose the perfect pair. Check it out here – How to Choose the Perfect Soccer Cleats (in 4 Simple Steps).
The 5 Parts of a High School Soccer Tryout
While there is no universal format for high school soccer tryouts, soccer tryouts are straightforward once they start. You come to the school, do what the coach asks of you, and wait for the results. I’m going to give you a brief guide on what you can expect from such tryouts.
There are five parts to a high school soccer tryout:
- A warm up
- A series of different exercises
- Specific soccer drills
- A practice game
A tryout will usually begin with a brief introduction from the coach.
The coach will introduce himself and give you a brief summary of what you can expect.
Then you should be prepared to introduce yourself. It’s either going to be a simple roll call or a full introduction for the coach to know who they are working with.
A warm up
After this, you’ll usually go through a warm-up session before proceeding with the actual drills and exercises of the tryout.
Be aware that different coaches, even within the same school, have different approaches to tryouts. Because of this, I can’t give you an exact format because it varies greatly.
If possible, find someone who has been through the tryouts at your high school and find out how it was for them.
A series of different exercises
You can then generally expect a series of different exercises where the coach will test your athleticism. These exercises will mostly involve running and sprinting.
You will likely be asked to undergo a Cooper test (what distance you can run in 12 minutes) at this stage.
Many coaches put the high school students through a short HIIT-style workout at this stage as well. This is similar to the type of training that professional soccer players take part in every day, as you can see from this article I wrote.
Specific soccer drills
This will be followed by specific soccer drills. These drills may include:
- set pieces
- and/or intercepting
This list of drills is not exhaustive as different soccer coaches have their own preferences. But this list should give you an idea of what to expect.
A practice game
The tryouts will usually end with a practice game.
This allows the coach to see your skills and abilities in a real game scenario.
Although you encounter different things in different schools and with different coaches, most will run you through this specific format, and this should give you a good idea of what to expect.
After everything is done, be sure to find out when the results will be published, so you know whether you made the team or not.
If you’re thinking about joining an ECNL team, you need to check out my article – What is ECNL Soccer and How Does it Work?
When Are High School Soccer Tryouts Held?
High school soccer tryouts are usually held in August, before the beginning of the season. There is no exact date as each school determines its own schedule, but they typically coincide with the start of the school year and the autumn season.
The best way to check out the exact dates and the tryouts schedule is to follow your schools’ official announcements so that you can be sure about the precise itinerary.
How Do You Prepare for High School Soccer Tryouts?
The process of preparing for high school soccer tryouts is not an overly complex one, but you do need to know what you’re getting yourself into and what is expected from you.
Check out the rules for your school
The first thing you should do is to check out the rules of your school.
Namely, each school posts the rules of participating in a local team, and you should know precisely what is expected of you.
The main requirement – along with good results on the field – is that you keep a certain acceptable academic level, i.e., soccer mustn’t interfere with your education.
There might be some additional rules, but that depends on the school, so be sure to check out all the official documents to see whether you can adhere to the rules or not.
If you can, be sure to make a plan on how you will balance everything.
After you’ve done this first part, start training.
You need to prepare for the usual Cooper test (what distance you can run in 12 minutes), but coaches might also ask you to run or sprint some shorter distances. Check out my article – How to increase stamina for soccer – to help with this area.
It is good that you’re prepared for each of the challenges and ready to run both far and near.
Make a schedule for yourself, adhere to it, and be prepared for the running drills.
My 30-Day Soccer Fitness Program would be perfect for giving you the boost of fitness you need before a soccer tryout.
The physical preparation doesn’t stop there.
Practice technical drills
Depending on your preferred position, you should also do some other specific exercises, mostly technical drills.
If you don’t know any useful drills – I’ve put together a list of some of the best drills here. To really get one step ahead, consider getting hold of an online soccer course such as this one that will take your skills and abilities to the next level.
It’s best to look for things the professionals do, as you’ll be best prepared, but adapt them to your current abilities, and don’t strain yourself.
My article – How a Soccer Player Trains – is a great resource for understanding the process all the professionals go through in training.
Read up on the rules of soccer
Read up on the rules of soccer if you’re not entirely familiar with them. I’ve put together an easy-to-understand guide to the rules of soccer here if that helps. And I’ve also created a guide specific to High School Soccer rules that you can also have a look at.
You can also watch some games and clips online to see how it’s all executed in real-life situations.
The important thing is that you’re relaxed as much as possible and that you do your best.
If you find yourself getting stressed, stop and take some deep breaths, and remember that you can only do your best.
How to Stand Out at a Soccer Tryout
There are only so many things you can do to stand out, besides actually being the best. But if you’re not the best, I have some advice for you to increase your chances.
To start with, have a look at this video below. In it, the presenter gives some great advice on how to really stand out at a tryout. After the video, I want to reinforce some of the points and add a few of my own.
You should also check out my article – How to Make a Soccer Team: 14 Tips to Impress the Coaches – for a more detailed plan of how to persuade the coach to choose you for their team.
First of all, try to get plenty of sleep the night before and relax as much as you can under the circumstances.
It is completely natural if you’re a bit stressed out, don’t worry about that! As much as you can, try to stay calm and remember that you cannot do wrong if you do your best.
Arrive appropriately dressed.
If there are regulations about what clothing you should wear, find out what they are and stick to them; if not – just bring a regular soccer uniform, and you’ll be fine. I put together a list of everything you need for a soccer game here if you want to double-check you have what you need.
Also, if you are prepared, you won’t have to continuously keep asking what you need to do and how you should do it. If you are doing this, the coach might notice that you haven’t prepared and therefore think you don’t care about your position on the team.
This also relates to what I’ve said about being coachable – listen to your coach and follow their instructions.
To show the coach that you are disciplined, you should arrive on time, which is always early in these cases.
Don’t be a maverick during the tryouts. Even if you do good, the coach might not appreciate your lack of discipline. Also, show that you’re a team player – don’t keep the ball to yourself!
Soccer is a team sport, and you have other players on your team you can play with.
Another thing you should show is your eagerness.
Show your coach that you want a spot on the team.
- Pay attention to what you’re being asked
- During breaks, jump around instead of sitting.
- Volunteer for anything that needs to be done to help
Be a team player
Pass the ball to other players instead of just looking around the field. Use every opportunity you can to show the coach that you’re a team player and intend to give it your all to make the team.
When trying to stand out, you need to show the coach your commitment and that you’re reliable so that the coach knows he can count on you in challenging situations, so he knows that you are going to do what is necessary to help your team win.
Have a winning mentality, concentrate on team play and fair play, and also – be coachable.
It is essential that the coach – who is the primary authority on the team – knows that he can rely on you and that you won’t be a troublemaker within the group.
I hope I’ve provided you with enough information to help you prepare for the high school soccer tryouts. Go out there and do your best, and you’ll have no regrets!
And don’t forget to check out my 30-Day Soccer-Focussed Fitness Program to really set yourself up to be ahead of the game!
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