If you want to get a football scholarship (aka soccer in the US), then one of the first things you will need to do is schedule a football assessment. Even if you’ve played in important Youth Cup Finals in front of a stadium full of fans, it can still be scary to get a formal football assessment. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for the football assessment to make sure you get the most out of it.
1. Understand the Difference between a Football Assessment and Trial
A football assessment and trial (or tryout) are not the same thing. During a trial, you are playing football in front of a coach in order to win a spot on the team. During a football assessment, you are playing in front of a professional who will then inform you of your strengths, weaknesses, and your chances of getting a football scholarship or making a team. You usually don’t get this information during a football trial – you just get a yes/no answer.
Even though a football assessment is not going to directly affect whether you get on your dream team or win a scholarship, it is still very important and could affect your future. The information you get from the football assessment can tell you things like:
- Whether you have a chance of getting a football scholarship
- What level of football scholarships you should be aiming for (D1, D2, NAIA)
- What you need to work on (including your grades!)
- Whether scholarship recruiters will work with you
2. Know Your Goal
Before you go to the football assessment, take some time to really think about what your goals are. Do you dream of playing professional football/soccer? Do you want to play Division 1 football at a top American university? Or maybe you’d rather play at the NAIA level so you can focus on your studies while still enjoying the sport you love? Maybe you aren’t interested in playing college football at all, but just want to know where you stand so you can become a better player for your local team. These are all valid reasons for attending a football assessment.
When you know what you want, then you will be able to ask the assessor for specific information and get the answers you need.
3. Note the Rules
Each football assessment may have slightly different rules. You don’t want to show up on assessment day only to realize that parents aren’t allowed, or that you are out of the age limit, or that you were supposed to bring your CV.
4. Call the Assessor Beforehand
It is good practice to call the person/agency running the football assessment ahead of time. The first reason for doing this is that you can ask directly whether there is anything you can do to prepare for the assessment, and also get vital information like how many people will be attending. Another important reason for calling the football assessor is to introduce yourself. At some football assessments, there will be dozens of players performing and you could easily get lost in the crowd. Make a good impression by introducing yourself to the assessor beforehand to make sure you get noticed.
5. Be Physically Prepared
Get at least 10 hours of sleep before the football assessment day, and make sure you eat a healthy meal of carbs (for energy) and lean protein about 3 hours before the assessment. You should also make sure you are fully hydrated and bring an isotonic drink with you.
6. Arrive Early
Remember that football assessors aren’t just looking at your physical abilities. They are also looking at your dedication and reliability. Nothing looks worse than if you show up late to the football assessment (you might not even be able to play if you don’t show up exactly on time!). Plus, you need to make sure you get to the assessment early enough to warm up.
7. Play Intensely but Relaxed
Always give everything you have during the assessment – but don’t take it so seriously that you are all wound up. You should enjoy playing and the experience. Yes, the assessor may be watching you and taking notes, but you should just do what comes naturally instead of trying to put on a show.