With the season less than two months away, Kingston Stockade FC is on the verge of finalizing their inaugural roster. The only trouble is, there’s too much talent in the area.
“It’s one of those classic great problems to have,” said the team’s CEO Dennis Crowley. “Too many great players to choose from? No coaching staff is going to shy away from that. It makes a little bit more work for us and for the coaches, but that’s still a great spot to be in.”
The club held its open tryouts at Dietz Stadium on March 19 and 20, two chilly days that represented the first official soccer-related business at the venerable arena where Stockade FC will play its home games. It was by all accounts a great success both on and off the pitch, but there were nerves going in. Crowley confessed to having shared a flurry of Friday night texts with Dan Hoffay, the club’s lead scout, worrying that they might not get the response they were hoping for.
“It was a combination of I’m like really nervous about are all the players going to show up, is it going to work as expected, and will there be anyone in the stands?” said Crowley. “I didn’t know what to expect.”
He needn’t have worried. During a brief window that the club had its open registration earlier this month, Stockade FC was inundated with requests from local players wanting to get their chance to make the roster. This was on top of the roughly 60 players the team had invited to a pair of earlier closed tryouts. After quickly crossing the 60-player threshold on the open registration, head coach George Vizvary, assistant coach Rory Becker and goalkeeper coach Chuck Wilder told Crowley they thought they had enough to work with. But still, heading into Saturday and Sunday’s pair of open tryouts, more prospective players were trying to make the cut.
“Up until midnight the night before, people were e-mailing, ‘Can I get in? I just heard about this,’ sending their credentials and YouTube links,” said Crowley. “We tried to get as many in there as possible, but it’s just really hard. The teams have to be balanced. You don’t want people sitting around too long. We had 70 people there over the two days. We almost went until 4 on Saturday. It was supposed to go for two hours, but we kept the field a little longer. We had six different scrimmages and it was great.”
The coaching staff put the players through an intensive, scrimmage-style workout, and on Tuesday, March 22 Crowley said there was far more talent in the open tryouts than anticipated.
“The plan was, we’ll have maybe 20-25 people show up, and maybe we’ll choose one or two or three and get them to participate in the next tryout,” said Crowley. “And then we had 70 people show up over two days. And the quality of play was still very high. The coaches met last night, went through all the evaluation sheets, and we chose 17 kids from the open tryouts who are going to make it into the next round of tryouts, which is the last round, on Thursday [March 24].”
Seventeen asked back
Coach Vizvary said that some players were invited back based on simple, subtle things they did during their tryout.