Soccer tryouts, soccer tryout evaluation form and criteria for evaluating soccer players are discussed. These are usually for high school, select, travel or advanced soccer players ages 10 and older. An evaluation form is sometimes called a scorecard or rating form.
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Preface: Every soccer tryout system is imprecise and has its flaws, and we believe it is difficult to attempt to use an overly detailed evaluation form. It can be very distracting and cumbersome for the evaluators. SoccerHelp believe's it is better to use a broader approach that focuses on the key factors that can predict success.
Ratings: SoccerHelp suggests a "thirds" system of rating players in the top third, middle third or lower third of the group being evaluated.
Evaluation and What to Look For: In our opinion, some criteria are more important than others, especially for certain positions. For example, speed, "strength on the ball" (ability to shield and control the ball) and winning the ball are very important for all positions, and a Fullback must be tough and not afraid of contact. A Center Midfielder should be able to pass the ball, to hold the ball under pressure, have good field vision and, ideally, be able to win a lot of ground and air balls. If you play your left and right Midfielders as "wingers", they should be fast and able to run with the ball ("speed dribbling") and to cross the ball. There are several types of good Forwards, but the main quality is the desire to do whatever is necessary to score; blazing speed can be good but slower players can make great Forwards if they position themselves well, are quick or have good anticipation and play well with their backs to the goal (this type of Forward excels in front of the goal). A Sweeper should be fast and not afraid of contact. A Stopper should be tough and able to make good long passes and come up into the attack. If you are not familiar with all these terms, you might want to check out the SoccerHelp Dictionary. There is much more about the qualities to look for when assigning positions in "Assigning Soccer Positions" on SoccerHelp Premium.
Using SoccerHelp Games: SoccerHelp Practice Games are a great way to evaluate players. How players perform in competition, under pressure, at "game speed" is the important question (some look good in Drills, but not in Games).
Tryout Tips and Questions:
- Keep in mind that the players who have the best skills may not be the best players in matches (i.e., those who look the best in Drills may not be the best under pressure or perform the best at "match speed").
- You want to determine who will play the best in games, not who practices the best.
- How can you determine who has the best speed, is aggressive and has good field vision and instincts? You can't tell these things if you only have small sided scrimmages on a short field. We suggest you scrimmage some on a larger field to watch open field speed, movement off the ball and long passing.
- Do you want to choose players who have the best current skills, or the most potential for helping the team? Skills can be taught if a player wants to learn and will practice, but speed and aggressive play are tougher to teach.
We suggest you structure your tryouts so you can evaluate the following:
- Speed: Speed is important at high levels of play. You can teach skills and improve speed, but natural speed is an advantage. A simple way to determine who is fast is to have a 40 yard race without a ball (do it twice or in small groups).
- Toughness, Aggressiveness and Bravery: This is critical. A player who can't win the ball is at a disadvantage. The Premium games 2 Team Keep Away and Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalie can help evaluate this. You probably don't want timid players on your team.
- Who Can Win the Ball and Who is Good at 1v1 Attacking and Defending: The Premium game Win the 50/50 Ball or be the First Defender 1v1 Attacking and Defending will show you who can win a 50/50 Ball and who has good 1v1 Attacking skills and good 1v1 Defensive skills. I would definitely use this at tryouts to evaluate who can win the ball and who can defend 1v1.
- The Ability to Play Fast While Under Pressure: Better teams will play faster and you have to assume your ball handler will quickly be pressured. Look for players who can play fast by making quick, correct decisions under pressure. Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race™ can show you who can play fast, who can One Touch, who is an Aggressive Receiver, who can pass accurately while running, and who can follow instructions and take tips from the coach. Look for players who are used to one-touch passing or who can learn to play that way -- one-touch is a faster way to play and players should be taught to play that way at young ages instead of always 2-touching. At higher levels of play, the teams that can play faster usually win. The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race™ practice game is a great way to evaluate who can one-touch pass. It is also a way to evaluate who moves to the ball on passes, who passes ASAP, and who is an aggressive receiver . If you play this game in your tryouts you will learn a lot about the player's ability to combine with teammates for a fast attack. This is a game and score is kept, so the players have to play fast while under pressure, like they will have to be able to do in a real game. You can play this game 3 times in about ten minutes. There is a video of this game at Soccer Drill to Teach Receiving, One Touch & how to Pass While Running Video
- Control Dribbling and Speed Dribbling Being comfortable with the ball is HUGELY important. Playing the Dribble Across A Square™ game is a good way to evaluate this -- play it 2 times to six with the square 10 steps wide and then twice with the square 14 steps wide. That game can be used to evaluate control dribbling, shielding, recognition and acceleration into Open Space, composure in traffic and while under pressure, and Field Vision. There is a video of this game at Best Soccer Dribbling Drill - Dribble Across Square Video Preview
- "Strength on the Ball" This is different from physical strength. It is the ability to retain the ball when under pressure. It has to do with skill, positioning and physical strength. Dribble Across A Square™ and the Premium games 2 Team Keep Away and Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalie can help evaluate this.
- Evaluating Skill See number 4 above. What is important is NOT who has skill without pressure, BUT who has the skill to play fast while under pressure. This is why you want to use drills and games that cause players to play as fast as possible while under pressure. I advise against evaluating juggling - that won't tell you who can play, just who can juggle. Also, dribbling around cones and any activity that doesn't involve pressure won't tell you much. I can do great soccer moves in my living room that I can't do under pressure.
- Passing to Open Space and Movement off the Ball: Being able to pass to open space (instead of just passing to feet), anticipating passes to open space and "movement off the ball" are critical at higher levels. Players who can play this way have an advantage over those who can't. It is a way of thinking, as opposed to "passing to feet". Playing this way allows a team to have a much faster, more fluid and more creative attack. Watch for this in the 2 Team Keep Away and Small Sided Scrimmage Without A Goalie Premium practice games.
- Who is coachable and can follow your instructions: You probably don't want players who won't listen or are trouble makers.
- What positions the players have played and like to play.
A Soccer Tryout Evaluation Form that You Can Copy and Paste into Word or any text editor: Below is a Soccer Tryout Evaluation Form that you can copy and paste Word and adjust to fit your needs. You have our permission to use this for your personal use BUT if you put it on the internet you must credit SoccerHelp.com as described at the bottom of this page so you don't violate copyright law. We like to help, but so many people steal our work that we have to enforce this. We hope you understand.
Soccer Tryout Evaluation Form
(Assign weights to the criteria and adjust the form to meet your needs)
Team Name: ____________________________________________________________ Player/Number: ____________________________________________________________ Date: ____________________________________________________________
Criteria Top Third - Middle Third - Lower Third A. All Players 1. Attitude     a. Coachable?     b. Gets along with others?     c. Team player?     d. Hot head? (yes or no) _____________________________________________________ 2. Speed 3. Winning the Ball     a. Balls on the ground     b. Balls in the air _____________________________________________________ 4. Strength on the Ball _____________________________________________________ 5. Defense     a.1 vs 1     b. Team Defense _____________________________________________________ 6. Skills     a. Dribbling/Turning     b. Passing on the ground     c. Lofted passes     d. Crossing ball while running     e. Throw-ins     f. Movement off the ball     g. Passing to open space     h. Heading (if appropriate) _____________________________________________________ B. Attackers Only 1. Finishing Ability 2. Desire to Score 3. Success in Front of Goal 4. Breakaway Ability _____________________________________________________ C. Midfielders Only 1. Field Vision 2. Distribution Skills 3. Ability to "Create" _____________________________________________________ D. Fullbacks Only 1. "Defenders Mentality"     (Tough, won't back down) 2. Clearing the Ball 3. Long Lofted Passes _____________________________________________________
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