NJ Youth Soccer Tryout Season Coming Soon, Far Too Soon

As soon as New Jersey temperatures sniff 60 degrees, clubs will be hosting their 2019-2020 season tryouts, and it is a complete distraction to Spring youth soccer. 

Imagine being 12 years old, loving soccer, your teammates, and excited to get back outdoors after the cold winter.  Your team has their first outdoor training session, and it is a complete success!  But then, practice #2 comes around and three players are missing, and the coach knows it is not coincidence.  Another local club just down the road is hosting tryouts in the middle of March, and the players and the coach are now talking about the absentees, instead of focusing on having fun and developing.

This scenario can go on and on, I have been there, and lived it, and I am sure you have too.  It creates uncertainty, tension, and anxiety while an overwhelmingly feeling of disconnect permeates the team.  It directly affects team success, team cohesion, the parent sideline, and the local rumor mill.  All stemming from tryout season starting way before it should.

A Solution:

I have said it before, and I will say it again. NJYS needs to step in and mandate that NO club-wide tryouts can occur before the conclusion of Spring State Cups.

  • Penalty = forfeiture for all club teams in the current State Cup
  • Penalty = 1 year ban for all club teams in next year’s State Cup


This penalty became more effective in 2018-19, as the transition to universal NJYS carding occurred.  The primary change was seen via the EDP team population which are now using NJYS cards as opposed to US Club.  The US Club “NJ Cup” was huge the last five years, but will likely see a dip in registrations because of the switch, which means the USYS State Cup should see a nice increase in participation in Spring 2019.

NJYS may argue that they want as many teams to compete as possible, but if their goal is to become the true governing body of youth soccer while aligned with USSF, they should step up and take a stand.

Sure, clubs will find a way to circumnavigate the rule implementation by hosting ID camps and team training days, but it will eliminate the early club wide tryouts which disrupt individuals and teams during an important developmental stage.  As a coach, I would argue the first month of the Spring season is critical for player development, coming out of the winter and redeveloping the form for the key months of May and June, when big time soccer is played in this State.

My critics will likely say I am guilty for advertising club tryouts, but at the present time this is the norm.  I am here to help out ANY club wanting a little more publicity regardless of my firm belief that tryout season is two months too early.  So feel free to send me finished advertisements if you are looking to impress kids and parents and get them in the door of your club as early as possible.  Why, because everyone else is doing it!




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