WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Virginia Legacy Soccer Club will host tryouts for its 2015-16 soccer teams May 1 through May 7.
Legacy, which features roughly 550 athletes across 34 teams, will host tryouts at one of four sites on the Peninsula: Warhill Sports Complex in Williamsburg, Hines Middle School in Newport News, the James City County Recreation Center and a currently undecided location in Poquoson.
Bobby O’Brien, Virginia Legacy technical director and Jamestown boys soccer coach, said tryouts are open to boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 18. Tryouts are free for participants.
Those interested are asked to pre-register online at least 24 hours before their first tryout. Each tryout session will last about 90 minutes, and players are encouraged to attend as many tryout sessions as possible.
A competitive club soccer organization, O’Brien said spots on Virginia Legacy teams must be earned and players who played on Legacy teams last season should not come into the tryouts with a mindset of having a safe spot on the team.
For younger players, tryouts will mostly involve testing technical skills such as passing and receiving.
“After we test their technical skills, we basically put them into situations where we can see them play,” O’Brien said. “We’ll try to put them in some small-sized games – 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 – those types of things.”
O’Brien said the tryout process is different for older players, who should be prepared to step on the field and compete right away.
“We basically just start playing with the older kids,” he said. “We want to see how they react to game situations, game pressure, timing and spacing. They need to show up and be ready to play.”
Despite the competitive nature of the tryouts and organization, O’Brien does not like turning kids away by the end of the evaluation period and tries to keep as many players as possible.
Whereas other clubs have a defined number of sports and will outright cut players who are not deemed good enough to make the team, Virginia Legacy tries to keep kids in the organization to keep facilitating growth as players.
“Certain clubs in certain other environments say ‘We don’t want a second or third team.’ I’ve been around the area far too long to understand a kid at 13 is not the same kid at 16 or 18,” O’Brien said. “It’s all about the environment and for them to be having fun and getting better.”
For O’Brien, cutting players completely from the club goes against what Virginia Legacy strives to provide for the community, and said such a thing rarely happens within the organization.
Even if an athlete is not selected for a particular team, Legacy tries to provide backup scenarios or opportunities that will still give the player a chance to hone his or her soccer skills.
For prospective players, one important trait stands out for O’Brien above even technical skills.
“Enthusiasm,” he said. “We love being around kids that want to be out there. It makes our job much more enjoyable. If it’s something your mom or dad is making you do, it’ll translate to your performance on the field.”
For more information on Virginia Legacy tryouts, click here.