Are you trying to make a soccer team with no experience? Before you bail on the idea, I just wanted to let you know that it’s doable! I’ve seen many kids have the right attitude, mindset, work rate, dedication, and set of skills to land on a team. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed…but…again…it’s doable.
Key Takeaways From This Article:
- For new players, learn the basics of soccer before going into tryouts.
- Leverage your strengths and try to minimize your weaknesses during tryouts. For example, if you are fast but don’t have great ball skills (yet), run to the open space and make quick passes.
- Like any sport, soccer is a mental game. Get your mind right first and the rest will follow.
What’s even more fun to see is that, sometimes, they become the best player on the team by the end of the season.
In this article, I’ll show you ways you can make a soccer team with zero experience. As everyone says, you have to start somewhere! So, let’s get into it.
Understanding the Game of Soccer
The first thing you need to do is learn and understand the game. I would take an afternoon to learn the basics of soccer. Here’s a quick overview of the sport…
Soccer is a game that requires a combination of physical and mental skills, such as speed, agility, endurance, coordination, and strategy.
For ages eleven and younger, the game of soccer is usually played with six or nine players on each side.
For ages twelve and older, the game is played with two teams, each consisting of 11 players, including a goalkeeper.
The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by kicking the ball into the opponent’s goal. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins. The game can also end in a tie. Easy enough, right?
The field is rectangular, and it is divided into two halves with a center line. The two halves are further divided into a defensive half and an offensive half.
The game starts with a kickoff from the center of the field, and the ball must be passed or kicked to other players on the same team to move it towards the opponent’s end.
Players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands or arms (shoulders are okay), except for the goalkeeper who can use their hands within the penalty area. If a player touches the ball with their hand or arm, it results in a free kick or penalty kick for the opposing team.
In addition to the basic rules, there are several other rules that players must follow, such as offside and fouls. It is important to understand these rules to avoid penalties and to play the game fairly.
Here’s some more content about the rules of soccer:
- The 17 Laws of the Game
- Handball rules
- Direct versus Indirect kicks
- Soccer referee signals during a game
- Slide tackling rules
- Kick-off rules
- Goalie rules
By learning the basics of the game, such as the rules, soccer positions, and strategies, you can improve your chances of making the team and become a successful soccer player.
Building Your Skills
Practicing Basic Techniques
To make a soccer team without experience, it’s essential to learn and practice the basic techniques of the game.
Some of the fundamental skills that you need to work on include dribbling, passing, shooting, and tackling. These are the very basics and you should be up to speed on the fundamentals before your tryouts.
You can practice these things by yourself or with a friend. That’s the beauty of soccer!
For example, you can practice dribbling by setting up cones and dribbling around them. You can practice passing by finding a wall and passing the ball back and forth.
Improving Your Fitness & Conditioning
It’s crucial to be in good shape to perform well on the field. Soccer is a game that requires good stamina and conditioning. Players run up and down the field without many breaks.
To improve your fitness, you can start by doing some basic exercises like running, jumping jacks, and squats.
You can also incorporate some soccer-specific exercises like shuttle runs, sprints, and agility drills.
Additionally, you can try to eat a healthy diet and get enough rest to help your body recover and perform at its best.
Playing with Pickup or in a Rec League
Playing soccer casually with friends or in a rec league is an excellent way to improve your skills and gain experience. In these scenarios, there shouldn’t be a tryout so you’re provided an opportunity to play soccer.
It will also give you the opportunity to practice your techniques in a real-game situation and learn from other players.
You can also get feedback from your coach or teammates, which can help you identify areas that you need to work on.
Joining a rec league can also help you build your confidence and make new friends who share your passion for the game.
Remember, building your skills takes time and practice. Have patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep working hard, and eventually, you will eventually see progress.
Preparing for Tryouts
Researching the Team and Coach
Before trying out for a soccer team, it’s important to research the team and coach. This can give players an idea of what they can expect and help them prepare accordingly. Some things to consider when researching the team and coach include:
- The team’s playing style and strategy
- The coach’s coaching style and expectations
- The team’s recent performance and any notable players
- The competition and league they play in
By researching the team and coach, players can get a better idea of the talent level they are up against. For example, a player who has no experience probably shouldn’t try out for a top-level ECNL or MLS NEXT team.
It’s important to mentally prepare for tryouts. For youth soccer players, I suggest not overanalyzing tryouts. The best thing you can do is to try your best. I know that it sounds cliche but it’s so true.
Just focus on what you can control. 99.99% of the time it’s your work ethic. Maximize your time on the field, listen to coaches, and have a positive attitude. Sometimes it’s that simple.
Impressing the Coach During Tryouts
Showing Your Attitude and Work Ethic
One of the most important things to show during tryouts is a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
Arriving early, being prepared, and showing enthusiasm can make a big difference. Players who are willing to work hard and put in the effort are more likely to catch the coach’s eye.
If a coach speaks to you, respond with confidence and clarity. Try to step out of your shell and be confident.
Playing to Your Strengths
While it’s important to work on improving weaknesses, this isn’t the time. Instead, you should also focus on playing to their strengths.
Weaknesses can be improved with time. You probably don’t have much time…yet.
If a player is fast, they should use their speed to their advantage. If a player has good ball control, they should showcase their dribbling skills. If a player is aggressive, they should emphasize their tackling skills.
Coaches want players who can contribute to the team, so highlighting individual strengths can help you make a good impression.
Communicating with Your Teammates
Communication is key in soccer, and coaches want players who can effectively communicate with their teammates.
During tryouts, you should make an effort to talk to your teammates on the field, calling for the ball or providing encouragement.
This shows that the player is engaged and willing to work with others.
This is a biggie if you are a newbie.
Coaches want players who are willing to learn and take feedback. Players who are open to constructive criticism and show a willingness to improve are more likely to make the team.
During tryouts, you should be receptive to feedback and make an effort to implement any suggestions from the coach. Acknowledge what they said with a head nod and go out their to put it into action!
This will show your coach that you might be a diamond in the rough that has the potential to improve over the course of the season.
Dealing with Rejection
Accepting the Decision with Grace
Not making the soccer team can be a very tough pill to swallow, especially for someone with no experience.
However, it is important to accept the decision with grace and not let it affect your attitude or motivation.
It is crucial to remember that rejection is not a reflection of your worth as a person. As a new player, you went out on a limb to try something new. You should be super proud of your efforts.
Asking for Feedback
If possible, it can be helpful to ask the coach for feedback on areas to improve upon.
This can give you a better understanding of what you need to work on for the next tryouts.
However, it is important to approach the coach in a respectful and professional manner, without being defensive or argumentative. It’s also best if you do it as a player rather than your parent.
Working Harder for the Next Tryouts
After receiving feedback, it is time to work harder to improve your skills.
This may involve practicing more frequently, working with a coach or trainer, or participating in pickup games to gain more experience.
It is important to stay motivated and focused on your goals, even in the face of rejection.
If you want to be on the team next year, do whatever it takes to improve. This might mean watching soccer highlights on Youtube and then going out in your backyard for an hour to improve your skills.
Honestly, a lot can change in a year. I’ve seen it happen many times over. A motivated player comes back a year later and crushes it. It’s inspirational to see as a soccer coach.
Making a soccer team with no prior experience may seem like a daunting task, but it is definitely achievable with the right mindset and approach.
By following the advice outlined in this guide, such as practicing basic skills, watching and learning from experienced players, and showing a positive attitude, you can increase your chances of making the team.
Remember to stay committed, work hard, and never give up on your goal of becoming a successful soccer player.
With determination and perseverance, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Good luck on your journey towards making the soccer team! Everyone loves a Cinderella story!