CHARLOTTE (N.C) – The Independence soccer club held a sold-out Open Tryout at OrthoCarolina Sportsplex Thursday morning. Prospective players, clad in blue training tops, showcased their ability in hopes of being selected to the professional ranks for the 2017 season.
“There's a ton of interest in the club right now,” said Independence Assistant Coach Troy Lesesne. “I think that's shown by the 120 plus players we've had out here at the open tryout.”
Independence tryout player dribbles past defender in the morning session on Thursday.
Head Coach Mike Jeffries addressed the group before the tryout explaining the team is looking for individuals that have a good technical skill and high soccer IQ. The current roster sits at 14 signed players with all positions returning multi-game starters excluding leftback and forward.
“Based on who we've signed so far, we’re thinking about the different positions we need to fill,” said Lesesne. “There are some positions that we're looking to sure up, but it's always good when someone has a little bit of versatility.”
Following today’s session, the amount of tryout players will be narrowed down and invited to return for a second session tomorrow.
“After that, we'll look at a few guys to bring into preseason,” said Lesesne. “Beyond that, the tryout players will prove their worth with guys that we already have signed.”
The coaches agreed the main goal was to evaluate interested talent, but a secondary goal was to grow continuity in the new coaching staff. The Independence announced earlier this month Goalkeeper Coach Joel Tyson had joined the staff.
Goalkeeper Coach Tyson shares a laugh with fellow coaches at the open tryout.
“There's still a ways to go,” said Tyson. “This environment is a little informal because it's not specifically working with Independence players. But it's a great way to get an idea how Mike [Jeffries] ticks, which is important for me going into the day-to-day with the team.”
The Independence is slated to begin training camp on February 20th. The release of the preseason schedule is pending finalization. Charlotte opens the 2017 United Soccer League season at home on April 1st versus the Charleston Battery.