The supporters’ chants rang out at Starfire last night as S2 wrapped up its first-ever training session. Roughly 35 trialists joined Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson on the field for warm-ups, drills and small-sided games in preparation for the new season.
“It was good to get the guys out the first day. We just wanted the first day to get the flight out of their legs a little bit,” said Hendrickson. “We have some talent here so it’s going to be interesting to see how it all pans out for the rest of the week, but we are looking forward to it.”
There were a lot of unfamiliar faces getting their reps in with S2 last night. Many were brought in from player combines, open tryouts or from trusted sources Ezra and his staff know from around the world. Being that all the players are new to each other (and many new to the Pacific Northwest), it will take some time for players to find rhythm playing together.
“There were some jitters and nerves out there,” said Hendrickson. “You could tell guys were a little worried and I’m sure some of the guys playing out here never had fans watch them train before. I am sure they’ll settle down as the week goes on and we’ll see some good soccer.”
Hendrickson, formerly a Sounders FC Assistant Coach, took some time with the roughly 20 fans that came out to support the new guys in the training session. Hendrickson looked cool, calm and collected on the pitch as he directed players, offered correction and took a hard look at the players in front of him.
“You are responsible for everything,” Hendrickson said of his new role as S2 Head Coach. “You have to make the final decisions on everything, but I am confident that I have surrounded myself with good enough staff to evaluate, identify and acquire good talent to make this a successful team.”
Over the week, Hendrickson and the technical staff will get a good look at players and determine who from the crowd will potentially be the future of the Sounders organization.
“Once we get [players] on the big pitch that will tell what guys can do when put in certain situations,” he said. “You want guys who seize the moment, face the challenge and grab it by the horns. We are looking for players who can step up to the moment, and when the whistle blows, they are ready to play.”
This Saturday at 1:00 p.m. PST, Ezra and the boys will take on University of Portland in a preseason friendly at Starfire Sports field three. If you can’t make the friendly, you can catch the rest of the week’s training sessions at Starfire on these dates.
Saturday will be the last day for many of these players to show the coaches their skills, and your last chance to evaluate the talent Hendrickson and his staff get to work with before making cuts.