Tryouts 101(2018-2019)

We field many questions this time of year regarding what to look for in a club or coach, and what rules parents need to be aware of surrounding tryouts.  In response, we have compiled information that you may use to navigate the tryout period. 


  •  Question #1: In what age division does my child belong?  When can they officially tryout? 

The chart below shows the birth year age associated with the correct age group and the date the child can officially tryout.  Note: You can tryout on the Opening Day or any day after the Opening Tryout Day.  Any contact or unofficial tryout with a coach or club prior to this date is considered illegal recruitment and could result in suspension of the coach or player for up to one year.

2018-2019 TSSA Competitive Tryout Dates and Commitment Days

  •      Question #2: Who can recruit? And When? 

Tennessee Soccer Policy 26 states that every member club must follow the posted tryout dates.  Clubs and coaches may not communicate with parents (written or verbal) or players until the posted tryout periods.  Parents often do speak to one another, but this is also a violation of policy, to entice one to another club prior to the tryout period. We encourage coaches, parents, and players to let everyone find their own way.  Each player is looking for something different and that process may take more time for some and less for others.  Please give each the time and ability to make their own decision. 


The clubs are the members of the state association (TSSA) and each club creates budgets to pay for coaches and field space.  When players leave mid-season, others are often left to absorb their fees.  The Player Commitment Form was created (with feedback from our member clubs) to protect the teams and the commitment to these club/team budgets for the year. It serves as a yearlong agreement between the player/parent and the club. This is NOT an agreement between the player/parent and the coach.  Coaches are independent contractors hired by the clubs to work with the players, and in doing so, must follow the rules of the club and the state association.  A player/parent may sign the Player Commitment Form on or after June 18, 2018.  Until June 18, 2018 the Player Commitment Form is not binding, and a player may change his/her mind.  To get out of the commitment before the June 18th binding date, the player/parent must do so in writing (email is acceptable) to the club clearly stating their intentions and should copy the state association on this correspondence. 


  •     Question #4: What should we look for in a coach or club? 

Remember that the amount of time your child will be spending with this coach each week is more than you might think.  Make sure that this person delivers his/her message to the child in a respectful manner.  It is possible to communicate as a coach without bad language, yelling, or speaking in a demeaning manner.  Coaches are role models and the truly good ones can create a culture that inspires everyone to work to become the best that they can be. Make sure to ask the coach about his/her coaching philosophy and how they handle discipline issues/difficult situations.  Some coaches are great on the field but communicate poorly with parents, while others are great communicators but struggle with the technical aspects of soccer.  Be sure to find the coach that works for your family and the growth of your child.  Finally, it is important to ask how the club supports the growth and development of your coach and player.  Some clubs may not be able to support the coach. Does the club operate with little or no oversight of the coaching staff, or do they support the coaches through continued education and communication seminars?  Look for a club that is invested in the growth of your coach and player, as it will ultimately affect your child. 


Hans Hobson

Executive Director, TSSA



Cortnie Hewlett