Football trials used to be the way that clubs and teams found their talent. However, trials or talent days, are becoming increasingly rare. Clubs and teams now rely on a network of scouts to find talent. They often have contacts with schools and managers of local teams who keep them informed about promising talent. For example, Manchester United no longer holds open trials. Any boy who comes to their club will have first been assessed by one of their scouts.
This doesn’t mean that football trials are gone though. Now, many football trials are run by talent agencies who have contacts with prominent teams and clubs. If they see a talented player at their trials, then they pass the player on.
Thinking of signing up for a football trial? Here are some of the things you should know first!
1. Should you attend a football trial?
If you get invited to a football trial for a reputable club or pro team, great! But be wary of any football trial invitations you get from agencies you haven’t heard of.
A lot of agencies advertise their football trials by making promises like having pro scouts in attendance, or being able to get you a spot at a pro team. Then they take your attendance fee only to find out that the coach organizing the trial has no experience, reputation, or connections to pro teams.
There was even a big football trial scam a few years back during which fraudsters sent out letters and emails saying that they were licensed football agents.
The bottom line? Do your research into the football trial before deciding whether to attend.
2. There may be scouts in attendance, but maybe not
Be wary of any football trial which promises to have Premier League scouts in attendance. There may be scouts attending, but oftentimes there aren’t. If the football trial organizers are reputable, it won’t matter if scouts are in attendance because they will recommend you to the teams and clubs.
3. Don’t expect individual feedback
A football trial is different than a football assessment. During both, you perform in front of someone who assesses your abilities. But you won’t get any feedback after a football trial. If you want to learn about how you can improve your game and your chances of going pro or getting a football scholarship, then schedule a football assessment instead. United Sports USA holds football assessments in North London, West London, South London, East London, Birmingham, and Scotland.
4. Understand what coaches are looking for
There is a wide spectrum of qualities that coaches look for in perspective players, and players are often surprised and what coaches are really interested in. Some of the obvious things are technique, movement, and pace – but temperament is also incredibly important.
Coaches want to know that you are going to be able to handle playing in front of a packed stadium of screaming fans. That you will be able to handle an injury. That you will be able to encourage your teammates and give it your all.
Be sure to make a good impression by arriving to the football trial on time, dressed accordingly, and with all the required information/equipment. It is also a good idea to send the trial coach a letter of introduction beforehand along with your football CV.
5. Distribute your energy throughout the football trial
Before going to the football trial, make sure you fully understand what the schedule is. For example, a football trial may consist of 30 minutes of fitness training, 30 minutes or drills, and 30 minutes of match time.
Don’t spend all of your energy during the first part of the trial so you have nothing left for the match. Try to keep a steady pace until the match when you really give it your all!