Seattle Sounders FC 2 hosted its second day of open tryouts for the 2016 season at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila on Saturday, and two players survived the cuts to join the team’s first preseason training session on Monday.
The two-day open tryout saw more than 200 trialists compete for a spot on the S2 preseason roster. According to S2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson (above), they came from far beyond just the Seattle area.
“They’re from all over,” Hendrickson said. “We’ve got guys of all ages, and all different backgrounds.”
One trialist in particular, came all the way from London for his shot at S2.
“That’s the beauty of open tryout,” Hendrickson said. “You have a wide variety of players that come and try to be apart of the team.”
Trialists faced a difficult task before they could even be considered for the roster. The Saturday group had been whittled down from over 200 to just 64 (60 field players and four goalkeepers), and just two survived to actually participate in preseason.
“Last year we invited a couple of players [to preseason],” Hendrickson said “We have one player already from the Vegas Open, who we are going to invite to preseason. That’s what we’re looking for, guys to bring to preseason, put them through a couple of weeks, see how they fit in with the group, and see if they have what it takes.”
To observe the attributes of the remaining trialists in a real game situation, Hendrickson and company divided them into teams and conducted full 11 v 11 scrimmages.
What exactly where they looking for?
“Talent,” Hendrickson said. “We’re looking for guys who fit the S2 mold, which are young players with potential. Players that we see whom within a couple of years could be on the first team. Are we always going to get it right? Maybe not. But we hope to get maybe 95 percent of players we bring in, up to the first team within 2-3 years.”
To turn S2 walk-ons into first team regulars is a tough challenge for any coaching staff, but Hendrickson believes it begins with the player.
“One of the things we tell the players when they come is, ‘You’re here to make the first team,’” Hendrickson said. ‘”If that’s not an aspiration of yours, here’s the door.’”