Saturday January 23, 2016 saw record numbers of players report to Robb Field for the 2016 Albion Pros tryout. Over 100+ aspiring soccer professionals took the field in hopes of impressing the very experienced coaching staff. Albion Pros will compete in the Southwestern Conference of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) 2016 season, the fourth tier of the American professional soccer pyramid. Currently, the NPSL represents the highest level of outdoor professional soccer available in San Diego County. Therefore, soccer players from all over the county came to show their skills.
Albion Pros showcased a professional type atmosphere. There were multiple Albion banners flowing in the chilly wind, Puma canopies with jugs of water available, a drone flying about the pitch recording video, a physical trainer on hand and eight Albion coaches on hand to observe the players. One player said, [quote_box_center]“I have been to a couple other tryouts in San Diego this year and in the past, but this definitely the best. I’m really excited about this Albion Pros project, even if I don’t make the team.”[/quote_box_center] This was a shared sentiment with many of the other players at the tryout. Many were happy to be even considered part of such a large and talented tryout experience.
The Albion Pros front office staff was thrilled to see so many players at the tryouts. They had budgeted to see about 100 players, but were surprised to learn that over 150 players were evaluated over the course of the two Open Tryout sessions. Albion Pros even invited a local scout from 2015 MLS Cup winners Portland Timbers FC to come evaluate some of the best talent that San Diego has to offer. Talent scout Joey Yusunas said, [quote_box_center]“Southern California has so much to offer but sometimes it is hard to find all those players at one time in one place. This tryout is incredible in terms of numbers. The biggest tryout I have ever seen at any level of professional soccer, definitely bigger than most MLS combines.”[/quote_box_center]
The Albion Pros coaching staff was incredibly pleased with the amount of quality on display. Albion Pros Head Coach Ziggy Korytoski said, [quote_center]“We had an incredible turnout. More so than the numbers was the quality of players that are here in San Diego with the ambition and drive to build the professional brand. I am very excited for the future of Albion Pros.”[/quote_center]The coaches did not think it was daunting to see so many players at tryouts. Rather, it brewed excitement amongst the coaching staff for the upcoming season. For the coaches, there is a strong and ample foundation to select players from to compete immediately for league titles. Furthermore, having scouts on hand to evaluate Albion Pros hopefuls reiterates their goals of helping San Diego players reach the next level of professional soccer.
This degree of professionalism and ambition is something that San Diego soccer has been missing for decades. Albion Pros is at the forefront of building a culture of local professional soccer. Record numbers for tryouts, Major League Soccer scouts evaluating players, and the ambition to be the best in the county all represent a strong statement of intent from Albion Pros.