Soccer Tryouts Tips For Select Soccer and Travel Soccer

Soccer tryouts, soccer tryout evaluation form and criteria for evaluating soccer players are discussed here on SoccerHelp.

Soccer tryouts are often held for select and travel soccer players ages 10 and older, and are sometimes held by recreational soccer leagues to evaluate players so teams can be balanced.


Soccer Tryouts Evaluation Form For Select and Travel Soccer

Soccer Tryout Drills

Soccer Tactics For Select Travel and High School Soccer

How To Coach Soccer Positions

Videos of Some of our Soccer Tryout Drills & Training Methods

700 Testimonials from Soccer Coaches for Our Training Program

The Premium version of this article has links to the referenced SoccerHelp Premium Practice Games, to the "Soccer Tryouts Evaluation Form For Select Soccer and Travel Soccer" and to other Premium material referenced.

Letter From Girls U-14 Select Coach, North Carolina, USA

Hi SoccerHelp,

We are at the "challenge" level in NC which is a select team, but still places emphasis on development. I will be having a tryout at the U-15 girl's level after the spring season and would like to come up with some drills/soccer games along with an objective scorecard to judge individual girl's abilities. Have you come across any thing like that?

U14 Girls Challenge
North Carolina, USA

Our Response:

Hi Jim,

Much of Soccerhelp is for Rec Coaches, but a lot of Travel coaches are members and we even have 2 members (that we know of) who are coaches of youth teams associated with English professional teams. We have added a new section to Premium titled "Soccer Tryouts Evaluation Form For Select Soccer and Travel Soccer".

As for soccer games that will help you evaluate abilities and potential, there are many SoccerHelp Practice Games that you can use that will tell you a lot about the players. The advantage of using SoccerHelp Practice Games instead of drills is that the games involve competition and pressure, so they give you a better idea of how a player will perform under pressure in "match conditions" and at "game speed".

Try these Premium Practice Games:

  1. "2 Team Keep Away" (will show you how well players can transition and who is good at maintaining possession, leadership on the field, teamwork and winning the ball)
  2. "Dribble Across A Square" (dribbling, shielding, speeding up when out of traffic and turning)
  3. "Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalie" (everything except goalkeeping, but especially natural positions and who is a good, tough defender). See 3.C. at "23 of the Best SoccerHelp Tips and Tactics", for more about how to use this game to evaluate players.
  4. "Chip Shots/Brave Defenders" (who is a brave defender and who can chip the ball)
  5. "Dribble Past Defenders No. 2" (1 v 1 attacking and defending)
  6. "3 Man Direct Attacking Game" (Who has natural attacking skills, desire to finish, speed to run onto a crossed ball, finishing skill and ability to make a good cross. Also, who is coachable.)
  7. "Dribble & Tag Reverse" (dribbling, shielding and tackling)
  8. "Corner Kick Simulation" (desire to score, natural instincts in the Penalty Box, aggressiveness and heading)

Also, on Premium, read No. 3 at "23 Of The Best SoccerHelp Tips & Tactics". This has ideas for evaluating players and 6 critical things to look for. It also describes qualities to look for in Tryouts. Do you want to select players who have the best current skills, or the most potential to help the team? Skills can be taught, but speed and aggressive play are tougher to teach.

We suggest you structure your tryouts so you can evaluate the following:

  1. Speed: Speed is important at high levels of play. You can teach skills and improve speed, but natural speed is an advantage.
  2. Aggressiveness: Also important. A player who can't win the ball is at a disadvantage.
  3. "Strength on the Ball": This is different from physical strength. It is the ability to retain the ball when under pressure. It has to do with skill, positioning and physical strength. "2 Team Keep Away" can help evaluate this.
  4. The Ability to Play Quickly: Better teams will play faster and the ball handler will quickly be pressured. Look for players who can play fast by making quick, correct decisions under pressure.
  5. Passing to Open Space and Movement off the Ball: Being able to pass to open space (instead of just passing to feet), anticipating passes to open space and "movement off the ball" are critical at higher levels. Players who can play this way have an advantage over those who can't. It is a way of thinking, as opposed to "passing to feet". Playing this way allows a team to have a much faster, more fluid and more creative attack. The Premium "Pass to Space, Run With Ball and Shoot Game", "2 Team Keep Away", and "3 Man Direct Attacking Game" can help teach passing to open space and movement off the ball.

Please let us know if these games or ideas on Premium are helpful. Try the "Dribble Across A Square" game at practice. I promise it will help a lot and it is a good warm-up. Also, "2 Team Keepaway" is great for teaching fast transitions.

See "Soccer Tryouts Evaluation Form For Select Soccer and Travel Soccer" in Premium for more ideas and related topics.

There are 6 critical things to watch for if you play the Small Sided Scrimmage to evaluate players --

  1. Who likes to play defense and is a brave, tough defender (a good defender doesn't have to have great ball skills and in Rec soccer can have weak skills, but look for those who are not afraid of contact and who will step in front of a shot and block it with their body; see Assigning Positions for more)
  2. Who has talent as a scorer and which side they like to play (especially true if you have a good left footed player) or if you have a player who is a natural "striker" and would be a good center forward (read Assigning Positions)
  3. Which players are good passers and which are poor passers
  4. Who is a ball hog, not a team player or a disruptive influence
  5. Who has very weak skills or is afraid of contact even if they have good skills (you do not want to put either of these at Fullback, see Assigning Positions).
  6. Who is an impact player in terms of winning the ball, forcing turnovers, and breaking up the opponent's attack. This may be a player who is simply" good" and can play a variety of positions or it may be someone who would make a good CMF, DMF, Stopper, or CFB; in any case you probably want this type of player in the Center of the field (between the 2 goals, as opposed to the Wings). In Rec soccer, if you have an impact player who is fast and brave, but lacks skills, they can still be a great Defensive Mid or Stopper or CFB if you use them to break up your opponent's attack and let them clear the ball or just kick it straight ahead instead of asking them to pass if they aren't able to do that. One time my U14 Rec team lost to a team that had a great Stopper like that. His primary sport was baseball and he was very fast and brave but lacked skills. He broke up all our attacks and we lost 2-1. He roamed the entire Middle Third and it was very hard to get past him. I had never thought about how effective that could be until then - it was the perfect position for that player.

Best wishes,