"The mere fact that
the player has chosen to be evaluated expresses motivation, character and
player's desire to participate at a level that is more challenging. It would be
ninety to one hundred percent would be accepted."
from the VYSA, u9-u12
evaluations open a Pandora's box of problems for coaches, clubs, parents and certainly
the players. This can be especially difficult when a child faces his or her first
tryout for travel soccer. All of a sudden seven and eight year olds are being
evaluated and selected for something that they have little understanding of. Invariably,
some don't 'make the cut,' learning at this young age that 'their just not good
enough.' Words like 'keep practicing, when you grow some' have little meaning
when they are told that they can't play 'soccer' anymore with some of their friends.
It's not long before some parents are only interested in those children who can
"Help my child's game." Any one else is just baggage. That is why many
State Associations are recommending that clubs employ a no-cut, inclusive policy
at the youngest ages.
But sooner or later many children will face a tryout
or some form of an evaluation. The previous page, evaluations
made a case for using speed of play as the benchmark for evaluations. This page
will provide a simple guide how individual player qualities figure into the equation.
Open or print the player evaluation
form in order to follow the text below.
Player evaluation for - Players
Date - of evaluation.
- Parents name, phone or email.
ID - The players
number or designation if it's a mass tryout.
1, 2 and 3 with 1 as the highest and 3 as the lowest score. Everyone begins at
2, average. 80% of the players will fall in this category. This means that you
only need to make a decision on 20% of the players. The top and bottom 10%. (In
a 1-5 system the 2's and 4's are a cop out. They also require valuable time to
decide on the nuanced difference between a 2 and a 3, 3 and a 4. Keep it simple
and don't worry about so called bubble players at this point.)
following is set up to reflect what catches the coaches eye, somewhat in order.
Certain things stand out quickly and others take a little longer to see.
- Physical speed. It stands right out and there's no mistaking
it. A player either has speed and/or quickness or they don't. If they don't show
it, assume they don't have it.
- Mental speed. The general picture. How
quickly do they get things, read situations. A lot of "Huh's?" and "What's?"
are not a good sign.
- Technique. Many evaluations
look at technique in too great a depth. There are
likely too many players and too little time to adequately assess every players
technical abilities. This part of the evaluation looks at some vital areas.
in possession. Did he or she take anyone on and what happened?
- 1v1 opponents
in possession. They may not take anyone on but they'll certainly have to stop
- Do they have the skills necessary to fill the role at the required
level? In general terms, are they comfortable on the field. In specific terms
can they handle a role in 7 below?
- Contribution to
the game. It's not just a matter of how someone plays 'on the ball.' A player
can make a significant contribution to the game and have few actual touches. They
can show leadership by organizing things around them. This element is viewed in
the four main moments.
- Own team in possession.
- Transition, winning/losing possession.
These factors show up best under stress.
- Alert/concentration. Is their
head in the game?
- Composure. Are they relaxed? Do they seemingly have
a lot of time or are they rushed?
- Self confidence. Are set backs temporary?
Do they think they can get the job done?
- Leadership. The most elusive
- Competitiveness. Are they prepared to make sacrifices?
relations, teammates, opponents, referee, coach. Can they work with other players?
- Insight. Fine
tuning the evaluation of their mentality. You may need to talk with them to get
a handle on this.
- Do they grasp things quickly? Do they need to be told
only once for something to stick?
- Can they read, anticipate situations?
Do they seem to have a crystal ball?
- Body orientation,
dominate nature. This is more important in older teams where player roles
are more clearly defined. When you're looking for an 18 year old central defender
they better be good in the air.
- Both feet. The ideal.
- Left foot.
A good left footed player maybe of greater value than a very good right footed
- In the air. Depends on the age and the role.
- Right foot.
A dime a dozen, it had better be outstanding to rate a 1.
in the team/game. This provides the context for the evaluation. Players are
trying out for a spot on the team. If they can play as a central defender their
evaluation needs to take that into account. They may not need great 1v1 skills
in possession. If your looking for a left midfielder you maybe able to accept
an average right foot.
- Goal scorer. Be VERY critical here. A strong foot,
great individual skills are not enough. It takes a special person who can carry
this responsibility game in and game out. Look for strong personality/mental qualities
along with speed, A & B.
- Play maker. Play makers can operate from
different positions and use different tools, techniques. They can calculate the
risk to return and get a high return on investment.
- Ball winner. No matter
what mom and dad says, 80% of the team are ball winners. The good news, it's the
simplest role to learn how to do well.
- Goalkeeper. Self explanatory.
left, right, ahead of the ball and behind the ball. The basic positions and roles.
The context of your evaluation.
- Notes. Self explanatory.
at the above criteria it should be apparent that the evaluation should be done
using small sided games. In fact, many State Associations recommend just that.
State Youth Soccer Association's website;
Format - Small sided Games should be used to identify the talent and subsequently
categorize the talent. No drills should be utilized or employed. The evaluators
should look at the players speed, decisions and executions under realistic game-like
conditions and not sterile exercises. There are many circumstances where evaluators
have set up drills for points or time in an attempt to quantify performance. There
are far too many circumstances where players tested out well in the drills but
made poor decisions in a game. Therefore, a player should always be evaluated
on the decisions, executions and speed under match conditions."