” I want to play professionally, but how do I get a soccer trial or tryout? “
I receive this question from readers almost on a daily basis, but I have yet to see a good guide about getting a football trial on the internet. This is pretty shocking, because at some point in time, millions of players must ask themselves this very question if they want to make something of themselves. I asked myself this when I was struggling to get somewhere because in order to build your career, you must have chances to prove yourself.
Many reading this may have the skill required to succeed, but lack the connections. But let me tell you something… over the past six years I haven’t had one single opportunity handed to me… I created all 20+ of them myself from thin air. I too had no connections, but I still managed to get trials with professional teams around the world.
In this post, I’ll show you the exact messages and techniques I used to get trials with:
- Australian U/20 National Team
- AFC Wimbledon (England)
- FC Volendam (Netherlands)
- FC Montrose (Scotland)
- Kazincbarcika (Hungary)
I’ll also tell you about my experiences in Europe with trial camps and dodgy agents. If you want to know more about getting a soccer tryout, this information is going to be gold for you.
Getting a trial takes a combination of skill and marketing 101. In this first part we’ll focus on the ways you can get a trial in football.
7 Ways to Get a Soccer Trial
#1) Football Scouts
This is the most common way players get trials. If you play for one of the best teams in your area, your team gets to the finals of a major youth competition or plays in a famous tournament, chances are that scouts will be in attendance watching you. Most top players of current and previous generations got their first chance this way. However there are many factors which determine if a scout ever sees you or not. That depends on where you play, the level of your team and your age which is why the 7 other ways listed here are very important. It’s very easy to get overlooked.
A piece of advice which my coach always said to me: “You never know who’s watching you, so always give your best”
That piece of advice worked for him. In a war-torn country, a soldier happened to watch him play, and sneaked him onto a ship to flee the country and start his pro career.
# 2) Football Agents
An agents main function is to advertise you to his ‘network’ of scouts and coaches. They also be someone you can get career advice from. In return they receive 10% of your salary and/or an upfront fee.
An old coach of mine once told me to “not ever trust an agent”. I didn’t (want) to listen to him and I ended up wasting valuable time, money and effort. The first (and last) trial organised by my agent, I spent in Montrose, Scotland – a small fishing village on the Eastern coast of Scotland. I remember walking into the club for the first training and the coach actually asked what me and a fellow trialist of the same agent were there for. Somehow, me and the other trialist spent 7 weeks there in a bed and breakfast, living off Tesco meal deals and fish and chip take-aways all whilst training just once or twice a week. The worst part was waking up everyday not knowing what was happening due to a serious lack of communication by the agent, coaches and the club. While this is my own personal experience, I’ve heard on many occasions of the same sort of thing happening to other players.
Now you can understand why I dislike and distrust agents, and naturally I feel it’s my duty (for not listening to my coach) to tell you once again ‘don’t trust agents!’ UNLESS that person is a close personal or family friend, or he’s been recommended to you by someone who’s had that agent before and has achieved success thanks to him.
And If you ever do sign an agreement with an agent, please make sure that it’s non-exclusive (meaning you can have multiple agents instead of just one) and don’t ever pay an upfront fee!
#3) Football Trial Days & Football Camps
Over the past decade or so, trial days and camps have become a very popular way of getting noticed. Companies such as FootballCV will charge you between 15 and 90 pounds to have you play at a venue where supposedly they have scouts watching. I actually used FootballCV a couple of times and got to play (even use the same dressing rooms) at West Ham’s Upton Park and Stadium MK near London.
Although there are many success stories posted on these websites, I don’t know anyone personally who achieved great success using this medium.
Clubs get dozens of emails every day with players asking if they can get a trial. The far majority of requests are ignored and many clubs have a policy of “If the kid is good enough, we’ll know about it”. However, if you make your email stand out and try to grab attention, you might just have a chance. That’s something we’ll focus on in part 2.
I got my first trial at AFC Wimbledon by sending an email. Though might I add, 1 positive response might take 50-100 emails to receive. The lower the league the club plays in, the easier it is to get a response, so don’t expect to get a response from the big guns.
#5) Private Full-Time Football Academies
Nowadays you have full-time private football academies that put players under a full-time training schedule. In that time, the player can supposedly develop and perform in matches in front of scouts or professional teams.
You might have seen the Nike Football Academy where thousands of players from all over the world apply to get ‘the chance’ to join the academy in England where they play against Premier League and European opposition. FootballCV Soccer Academy and the Pro-Direct Soccer Academy are organisations that also come to mind.
The only downside is that these academies can get pretty expensive and will cost you upwards of 10,000-20,000 pounds per year.
#6) Football Coaches/Personal Connections/Mentors
This method is by far the most effective way to get a soccer trial – having a strong relationship with a coach, connection or mentor. This is because they personally know you and how you play. If your coach really believes in you and thinks you can succeed at a higher level, that means they trust you to do well and are already willing to promote you to their network. Trust is by far the hardest thing to build, so use it wisely.
LinkedIn is a place where a lot of coaches and players have created profiles however, many of them just create an account and forget about it, or they don’t know how to use it.
LinkedIn can be very effective because it can get you in direct contact with people who can pull strings for you (scouts and directors), or even the decision maker (the person who will decide whether you can get a soccer trial or not).
It’s pretty easy to connect with people on the platform and chances are your message will get read (though don’t count on a response).
Special Mention: Fieldoo
Fieldoo is slowly revolutionising the way players get opportunities in the football world, so I wanted to shout this out as a special mention.
The whole purpose of Fieldoo is for players to connect with agents, get seen and apply for soccer trials. They’ve done well so far, and in the past 2-3 years they’ve amassed over 150,000 players/agents on the platform.
Now I know that I blasted agents earlier in the post, but Fieldoo may be an exception provided you connect with agents that have a reputation, are proven to be trusted by players and can work out non-exclusive contracts.
But Really Guys…ABOVE ALL these tips, This here is TRULY the Bottom Line!
I can tell ALL of you right now that NOTHING that will happen unless you actually have the ABILITY.
Sure I earned lots of chances, but only because people noticed that I had something which I worked for.
I worked 20 hours a week for years on my game, because to become a top player it takes 10,000 hours of practice.
At age 16, my ability was just ok, I never played for any academy and I played in the second lowest division for my age group in Australia of all places!!
But I made the commitment to dedicate myself and to work HOURS on my game. Everyday I did a ton of different exercises to work on my technique, improve dribbling, shooting, fitness, speed, passing and also analysed some of the top players to become smarter.
By age 18, I was offered a contract to play professionally and the players on TrainEffective.com have been getting similar results.
YOU need to put in the WORK to get noticed. YOU need to go out there and TRAIN.
The TRUTH is many of you will read of this advice and start doing these things without actually having the mentality, focus and skill required.
Only the real, truly motivated players will DO SOMETHING about it.
To the REAL PLAYERS, I applaud you. Keep hustling.
To the others, take a good look about how much work your willing to put in on-the-field to even give yourself a chance in the first place.
Because in the end, becoming successful is all down to how much you want it.
Bonus: FREE DOWNLOAD! (Only for Effective Members) – 400+ European Club Database
To support your emailing and contacting hustle, this download contains a spreadsheet with the email addresses and contact addresses of over 400+ teams within Europe and the USA. Teams included come from:
England League One, England League Two, England Conference, Sweden 1st/2nd/3rd Division, Austria 1st/2nd Division, Denmark 1st/2nd Division, Iceland 1st/2nd Division, Norwegian 1st/2nd Division, Belgium 2nd Division, USA NASL, USA USL
To download, you must be logged in or signup.
Nick Humphries, 25, is a footballer who played in England (Wimbledon), Scotland (Montrose), Holland (Volendam), Hungary (Vasas) as well as with the Australian U20 national team. At 16 years of age, he was just an average amateur player with limited skills. Only one year later he was offered $120k+ in scholarships. Two years later he received a contract to play professionally in Europe. How did he get better? He trained in his own way! Learn more about the training program he’s creating to help players improve on their own terms.