BYU men’s soccer receives big turnout for tryouts

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Potential players for the BYU men's soccer team huddle up at tryouts. BYU men's soccer team held tryouts October 12-16. (Michelle Wood)
Potential players for the BYU men’s soccer team huddle up at tryouts. The BYU men’s soccer team held tryouts October 12-16. (Michelle Wood)

BYU men’s soccer team held tryouts Oct. 12-16 and kept only 20 of the 120 players who tried out.

The men’s soccer staff and returning players were surprised to see so many individuals show up. They were expecting between 80-90 players.

“It’s exciting to see so many people out here tonight,” returning junior Jake Miles said. “We have a great program here and it’s amazing to see so many people coming out here and wanting to be a part of it.”

The BYU men’s soccer team is a semi-pro team that competes in a the Premiere Development League (PDL), a post-collegiate league. BYU struggled in the 2015 season with a record of 1-8-5. These tryouts are one of the many “fresh starts” for the Cougars’ upcoming season.

The biggest change in the team occurred when former head coach Chris Watkins stepped down and Brandon Gilliam was appointed as the new head coach this September.

“We get to turn the corner from this year and start from ground zero,”  Gilliam said. “Consistency, organization, and player development are the three areas I want us to be sharpest at. Everything will come as we play.”

Multiple spots were vacant because previous players graduated. Gilliam wants to have a smaller team than in years past. He plans to work with the players more on an individual level in hopes he can develop them as players.

“My goals are for when a player comes into this program they leave better when they came in,” Gilliam said.

The opportunity to play on the BYU soccer team has been a lifetime fantasy for many of the athletes who tried out.

“It’s been my dream growing up to play for BYU,” said Trevor Montgomery, an undergraduate student at the tryout. “Hopefully, I can show the coaches how strong my touch is.”

This is the earliest the BYU men’s soccer team has had tryouts as compared to recent years. Previously, it held tryouts in January in preparation for the spring season, but that has not been apart of Gilliam’s plans.

“By having tryouts earlier than ever, the team can get comfortable,” Gilliam said. “We have a heavy spring season so the team can play a lot together.”

The BYU men’s soccer team will begin with a few friendly matches in the fall and start competitive play in the spring.