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I wanted to write about this piece because I had wanted to write about it since this had happened but never got the chance.
I was in 5th grade when I hadn’t taken soccer competitively yet, mostly just playing for fun with my friends. That all changed when I went to try out for this team, in the tryouts, they would first evaluate you. Basic stuff, doing laps around the field, and other evaluation type stuff, like testing your ball control. After about 45 - one hour of the evaluation, the coaches screamed,
“Everyone line up, time to scrimmage!”
Scrimmaging in soccer is just like scrimmaging in any other sport, around 8 players per team in soccer vs another team with 8 players, not the full 11 players like a pro soccer game but also not 5 players like a street soccer game. Some of the other kids at the tryout grunted and moaned at the thought of scrimmaging, but that is just because they weren’t as good in an actual game, so they were nervous. The coach handed everyone a number as we were lined up, my number was 27.
“Okay, everyone has their number, time for teams.”
I think he based the teams off of what he had seen from the evaluation, because I didn’t see more than one good player on the same team.
“You, go over there with numbers 21, 45, and 17.” He said to me as he pointed to the 3 kids.
“Alright, you got it.” I replied to the coach while turning around to jog to the 3 kids. As I start to slow down when I get closer, I yell,
“Alright what positions you guys play?”
“Goalkeeper,” a tall and wide kid responded while he was running to our goal to put on his gloves.
The other two kids both responded,
“Alright perfect, I’m a striker so just get me the ball since it’s a small field.” The team we were playing against didn’t look too good, they had a defender, midfielder, and a striker so they kind of just looked like a straight line. I didn’t care enough to ask for my team to get the ball first, so they just started kicking it and we started playing. I instantly charged at the one that didn’t have the ball so he wasn’t even an option for a pass.
“Get on him! He’s just standing around!” I screamed at my teammate, the player on the other team had just been standing still with the ball at his feet. I couldn’t bother waiting for my teammate to do something so I let go of the man I was already guarding and ran at the other one. He instantly panicked and the ball slipped right out of his feet. One of the players on my team began to push up as I was running down the right side of the field. Now I’m sat here, at the corner of the field with two players right in front of me waiting for me to make a move. I had a thought of passing to my teammate who I had mentioned was moving up the field, but I saw that the other team's third player had been guarding him at this point.
“Pull in! Pull in!” I said to my teammate as he ran towards me, I pass the ball through both of the defenders as he controls it with his right foot, and gives me a perfect pass with his left. I control it and I absolutely destroy the person who had been guarding my teammate before he ran to me for a pass. I do a ball roll through his legs and do a sharp cut, putting the ball on my right foot as I go for a powerful shot, burying the ball in the bottom right corner. I immediately looked at the coaches to see if they saw it, that’s the most important part of a tryout, doing something impressive and they watch you do it. One of the coaches winked at me while the other one threw up a thumbs up. Good sign. The ball is in play again and our scrimmage continues. I’m feeling myself so I go for a charge on the person with the ball, he notices it and immediately passes to his teammate out of panic. I noticed when he started to panic so I started to back off of him and go to his teammate and I intercept his pass. Like I said, I’m feeling myself so I went for a shot from halfway. Obviously the fields weren’t that big, but you still need guts. I’m on the left side of the field so I try to go for the top right corner of the goal, it rises up and curves in, and dips down into the goal. The goalkeeper had no chance, right in the top corner no one is able to reach it. I turn to the coaches again, this time more subtle so I don’t seem desperate to them, and they had been watching, with one of their faces confused and the other one with their mouth open, almost as if they were amazed. I didn’t wanna ruin the chances for my teammates, so when it was only 5 minutes into the scrimmage I told one of my teammates to move up to striker and I’ll play defense.
“Are you sure?” my teammate questioned
“Yeah of course I’ll just feed the ball to you,” feeding the ball is kind of self explanatory, just always trying to get the ball to that one person, always passing to him. The ball went back in play and to prove to the coaches I was good all around, in defense too not just offense I let two of their players run at me with one of them approaching me with the ball. I could clearly tell he felt cocky and was ready to do some sort of skill move. He does a stepover, since I had saw it coming I slide tackled him, winning the ball so it wasn’t a foul. (in soccer if you tackle someone but touch the ball during the tackle it’s not a foul and it’s completely clean) I start bringing the ball up the field and send one of my teammates one of the best passes I have ever kicked, going up in the air matching the run he was making and falling right on his feet when he stopped running and on his first touch he took it right around the other team’s goalie and tapped it in. I looked at the coaches and they were walking over to our field to, what it seems, talk to us.
“Alright we have to switch these teams around, 27 (me) is just running through you guys,” one of the coaches said as he looked at the other team. The one thing I love about tryouts is that the coaches are so brutal and will be completely honest with you, which will help you improve instead of calling you good when you’re bad. So right as we were about to switch teams, a coach that was monitoring one of the other games blew a really loud whistle calling everyone over to him. Everyone, including me, ran over to where he was and he was on his knees looking down at a kid who was laid down on the ground. His knee was dislocated and it was probably one of the most disgusting things I had ever seen. A kneecap popped out of place? You gotta be kidding me. Right as I was getting things started in my game too! Obviously I had worried about the kid, but I knew he would be fine.
“Everyone check your emails to see if you made the team. We had an eye on most of you!” The coaches said as they let the tryout out and we all had permission to just leave or do whatever. I called my dad to pick me up.
“The tryout is already over?” my dad asked with confusion
“It ended because there was a kid who got injured, he just let us all out early.” I replied
“Ok I’ll come and pick you up.” my dad said before hanging up
When my dad arrived, 15 minutes had already passed. When I saw his car drive towards the facility I waved at him as he started to slow down to park for me to get in.
“So, you played well?” my dad questioned not seeming to care about what happened with the kid who got injured
“Yeah! I made sure after everything I did that was good the coaches were watching, after I scored a top corner goal from around halfway I looked at them and one of them had their mouth open like their jaw had just dropped and the other one was confused how I did that. On top of that I had one of my best passes ever, a through ball over the top landing right on my teammates feet, scored a really impressive buildup goal with my teammate on the other teams half AND I got some slide tackles to show to the coaches I was good all around, not just offensive. The coaches said for everyone to check their email.”
“You think you made the team?” my dad replied amazed with the information I had told him
“Do I think I made the team? The coaches were amazed by me, but hmm I don’t know Dad!” I replied sarcastically as me and him started to laugh
I was just eating some cereal one day when I woke up on a weekend and my dad came into the living room to inform me,
“You made the team!” he said while looking at his phone then he looked back up to me
“What did I say, I told you I played out of my mind!”
This team ended up being a huge success for me. I started every game unless we were playing against a bad team and the coaches wanted to play some worse players. I scored almost every game, with some games with 3+ goals, and winning man of the match awards for almost every game. In addition to all of this, we won a tournament and I scored the winning goal in the final and I won player of the tournament award after we won the final game.