Images: Kyle Mahnke
The USL season doesn’t kick off for another two months, but for some local soccer players, giving their all in January is the best chance at a pro contract. The opportunity came in the form of the third annual San Antonio FC open tryouts.
Roughly 120 hopefuls registered to show the SAFC coaches and staff what they can contribute to the professional club.
Unlike many open tryout sessions at other soccer clubs, the majority of the SAFC coaching staff was on hand evaluating the players. Head Coach Darren Powell, Assistants Andy Thomson and Nick Evans, and Goalkeeping Director Juan Lamadrid were on hand along with other professionals, including SAFC defender / Academy Coach Ryan Roushandel and Managing Director Tim Holt.
While the open tryouts provide a pathway for local amateurs to join the senior squad, the road to a pro contract is a long one. Selected players from the open tryout sessions are invited back to participate in an invite-only combine, which takes place today. Any players who stand out in the combine are invited to the senior team’s preseason camp. If a player has a quality showing there, the next step would be to sign a pro contract with the club.
Two former SAFC players have come out of the process to join the senior squad. In 2016, a good showing in open tryouts earned midfielder Diego Garcia a role with the unofficial practice squad and eventually a contract for the rest of the 2016 season. In 2017, Juan Niño was invited to the combine and earned a spot with the club to start the season.
The announced SAFC roster stands at 17 players, though more signings are expected before the beginning of the season. Players report at the end of the month, with the first announced pre-season friendly kicking off on February 11 at FC Dallas.
You can follow all the signings and rumors with our 2018 Projected Roster.