The BYU men’s soccer team conducted their final tryouts to build a squad for the 2020/2021 season with the kick-off date still unknown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The players showed up at Haws Field, west of campus, with intent to impress and secure a slot amongst the few that will be chosen to defend the national championship title that they won last season.
The BYU men’s soccer coach, Brandon Gilliam, said the players who participated in the tryout were 30, and they are cutting down to 24 for the season. He admitted that he was impressed by the depth of those players who came to tryout.
“Fantastic group out this year. The decisions for the staff are gonna be extremely hard. Every player that is out here deserves to be playing, to be honest, and so it’s a good opportunity for us coaches to have this type of depth,” Gilliam said.
Some players who have played for the team before were also invited back to compete for the fewer positions in the team.
Once the squad is finalized, the training sessions will continue to develop the players to the levels required for competitions.
Coach Gilliam revealed their main focus will be to keep them motivated while developing individually.
He said that without having any games, how the team does training sessions becomes very unique; they have to keep players very motivated.
“But also a lot of technical stuff that we might work on during the season as we prep for games. Those things aren’t as critical. What is very important is that players are developing individually,” he said.
The coach looks forward to working on tactical strategies once they come closer to starting seasonal games.
Winger Jake Ence, who is also the captain and last season’s top scorer, said the winning mindset will be critical for the new players.
“With this new team, we’ll have a lot of turnover with a lot of young lads, and so I think it is important to instill that culture that we’ve had for the past couple of years of a winning, ambitious mindset, whether that’s working on your own time and getting shots in getting touches on the ball,” Ence said.
The captain also emphasized that the players are taking precautions to stay safe and healthy during this pandemic.
The men’s soccer team is waiting to find out if the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) will kick off the season during the spring period.