They came from all parts, lining up before 9 a.m. Saturday morning at the Seminole Soccer Complex with the hope they may catch the eye of Head Coach Anthony Pulis, or a member of his staff, with the dream of becoming the newest member of Orlando City B. A total of 175 players showed up with the same aspiration, but the hard reality is that less than a handful will be invited to the next step. When talking to some of the assembled reporters, Pulis mentioned his goal for the tryout: "We're hoping that we can add one or two from these open tryouts today."
The odds are long, but each player gave it his all, as the OCB staff evaluated their skills. Most will go home with their dream unrealized, but as Pulis explained to the group, there's always a chance with hard work. He continued, "the aim of our team is to try and bring in talent...improve that talent, and move it on to the MLS level. So to say it would be strictly for USL...wouldn't be accurate."
Various levels of talent were on display as the morning session progressed into the afternoon. There clearly will be some players called back, but as far as the actual number, the OCB coaches will still need to do more work. When the USL season begins in Melbourne, it will be exciting to see the future of Orlando City take the pitch, and to know a small part of that team began to take shape at the tryouts.
Conor Donovan and Harrison Heath were also on hand to watch the tryouts, as well as Orlando Pride Head Coach Tom Sermanni and Assistant Coach Khano Smith. Donovan is still rehabbing from his knee injury and hopes to be cleared to practice by mid-to-late March. Arriving late last night from Baltimore, Sermanni was already looking ahead to the Pride's open tryout (scheduled for today). He stressed the importance of the tryout for the Pride, due to NWSL amateur list requirements. This morning, the women take a turn to impress the club's coaches. Keep it tuned to The Mane Land, as we will provide coverage of that tryout, as well as all the latest information on OCB, the Pride, and Orlando City throughout the season.
We'll leave you with some interviews from the OCB tryouts, including comments from Pulis: