How to Prepare for Soccer Tryouts

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If you approach soccer tryouts seriously, no matter what level you or your child is playing out, you can’t go wrong. Think of soccer tryouts as a physical and personal interview. Instead of simply showing up and trying your best, you can actually prepare and give your best.

How to Prepare for Soccer Tryouts

There are a variety of ways you can prepare yourself for a soccer tryout, but we’ve found two effective areas to focus on, above all else.

Mental Preparation

The first impression is the most important. Especially if the coach doesn’t know you from the past and you are completely new. Their first glimpse of you is crucial.

Soccer ball in a soccer field with some players in the background

The game definitely has sincere weight when it comes to mental preparation. Playing soccer itself requires a great deal of mental strength. Not only that, you have to be on the right path with your philosophy before you head out to tryouts.

  • Recognize your personal ambitions and desires as a soccer player. Sort out if you want to maintain the level you’re playing in or go higher. See if you’re open to new positions and new clubs.
  • If you’re thinking of trying out in a new club or team, call ahead of time. Introduce yourself personally to coaches and see if you can attend or at least watch a practice. Make sure you like the coaching style and level – seeing how the coach interacts and treats the players as they perform is crucial.
  • Set a goal and find a team that matches your philosophy. If they are more interested in winning as a team or development as players, this might be in your concern.
  • Do not choose a team simply based on social pressures and status. Let’s say all of your child’s friends moved on to a different, higher-level team. Your child might be unprepared for that. Find out what is best for them.
  • Some coaches or teams favor more physical strength and size while others may want technically sound players. Make sure your kid is fitting in with the coach’s vision.

Physical Preparation

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The physical preparation for soccer tryouts start long before the actual tryout weekend or day. Especially if you or your child is brand new to soccer, you need to start preparation at least a month before.

Soccer has tremendous benefits for your physical health. When getting ready for a tryout, you can’t neglect the physical part. Some tryouts might actually be several days long. You’ll need to be fully prepared physically for the long tryout.

On your journey to being physically prepared for tryouts, there are five different areas that you should focus on:

  • Technical Skills: It doesn’t matter if you are the fastest one on the field. If you don’t feel or look comfortable with the ball at your feet, all that speed goes to waste. You’ll need to be confident and comfortable with the ball so work on your dribbling.
  • Fitness and Agility: Especially since you might have to run a couple of fitness tests as part of the tryout, you’ll need to be fit. Some tryouts last a couple days or at least a few hours. Being able to play and perform well for long periods of time can make or break a tryout.
  • Finishing Skills: At the end of the day, you’ll want the coach to think you are dependable to put the ball in the back of the net. Before tryouts come, practice shooting in various situations and with various touches on the ball. Even if you aren’t a forward, you’ll need to know how to shoot well.
  • Delivering a good Pass: Soccer is a team sport. Delivering an adequate and accurate pass is one of the foundations of being a good player. Having the ability to play with both feet is definitely a plus so it is something you can work on.

A Coach’s Perspective on Tryout Preparation

It may seem difficult to read what is going on in a coach’s mind. If you see a coach looking at you during tryouts, the first thing to remember here is to not care—coaches don’t want players who are preoccupied the entire time about what the coach is doing or thinking.

However, if you want to know what a coach is looking for, here are a few things:

Two girls having at it with the soccer ball
  • Skill: The ground basis for judging if a player is right for his or her team is reflecting upon their performance skill-wise. Coaches are looking to see if you can trap and control the ball, take shots if you can pass and dribble well, and execute tackles.
  • Conditioning: Even if you aren’t the best player out there, if you are in very good shape, you’ll catch the coach’s eye.
  • Attitude: Are you “coachable?” A coach will want someone who is willing to take constructive criticism and run with it.
  • Speed & Agility: These two factors are essential in soccer—especially if you are not highly skilled. Being in perfectly sized soccer cleats can help you with that.
  • Dedication: Especially if a coach is starting from scratch in building a team. Coach needs players that will show up and put the team first.
  • Problem Player: If you are sassy or disrespectful, that personality can be a cancer in the team. Coaches will stray away from that kind of problem player.
  • Reputation: Especially since word travels fast in the soccer world, your character and reputation as a player and a person can also weigh in at tryouts.
  • Intelligence: This doesn’t mean school intelligence. This means being soccer and street smart on and off the field.
  • Personality: Ultimately, your personality will shine through on the field. The coach will not want bad eggs on the team.
  • The X Factor: No matter what it is, there is something that makes you unique on and off the field. Whether you are a hard-worker, very positive or can do flip-throw-ins, find out your x-factor and use it to your advantage.

Perform Well at Tryouts

Tryouts can be nerve-wracking. Even if you are a great player, you might simply have an off-day—and that’s okay! It happens to everyone.

Coach calling in all players for the tryouts

However, even if you are having your worst day on the field, a coach may be able to see through the mistakes. To be sure that they see who you truly are as a player, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Work as hard as you can and never give up. The one thing that a coach wants to see is someone who doesn’t give up—no matter how many mistakes they make. Remember, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
  2. Come with a positive attitude and a team mentality. Stay in communication with teammates on and off the field. Even if you’re new to the team, introduce yourself to other players and don’t be afraid to speak up on the field.
  3. Come in appropriate soccer attire for tryouts and wear some quality soccer cleats to improve your play. Sporting the correct outfit will not only prevent hindrances along the way but can also be a sign that you are serious in making the team. If the tryouts will be indoors, come in your trusty soccer shoes instead.
  4. Display confidence in your ability. Even if you make mistakes, confidently show how good of a player you are.
  5. Make sure you are fueled, hydrated, and fully rested. Being fully, physically prepared for the tryouts involve getting your body ready, too.
  6. Get yourself mentally and physically on the same wavelength of your trout. If you know the tryouts will be at 12:00 on a hot Saturday, try practicing at that time to get used to the heat. Otherwise, if the tryouts will be indoors, try to familiarize yourself with the size of the court, the flooring, and if it will be covered or not.
  7. Arrive early to prepare yourself individually for tryouts. This will also leave a good first and lasting impression on the coaching staff. You can prepare yourself mentally and physically this way.
  8. Be ready to try a new position. Try to place yourself where you play your best during the tryout but if your coach insists you try something else, be open about it. It’s important to show your versatility and openness.
Close up of a man wearing white socks and orange soccer cleats

Related Questions

Here are some related questions about soccer tryouts.

How Do You Warm Up for Soccer Tryouts?

Minutes before the tryout you should warm up by jogging and slowly advance to sprints. Then, you can practice with the ball doing passes, dribbles, and movements. Lastly, you can stretch and even do some yoga.

What Should I Eat Before Soccer Tryouts?

You should eat a plate of food rich in carbohydrates and no more than 800 calories. For example, you can have a chicken sandwich for breakfast and an apple as a dessert.

Also, it is important to remember that you should not eat large amounts of sugar or excessively heavy meals before the tryout. This could affect your performance.

What Do You Wear to Soccer Tryouts?

For tryouts, you should dress in a comfortable soccer shirt, shorts, and high socks. On the other hand, you should protect yourself with a shin guard and, if you wish, a mouthguard.

Finally, you must wear cleats that are both comfortable and allow you to perform well on the field.


The road to preparation will look different from player to player. You can physically train to perform well at tryouts a few weeks now and get yourself mentally prepared for the day of tryouts. The sport of soccer encompasses both aspects of mental and physical preparation.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.