The San Jose Earthquakes held their annual Open Tryout last weekend, and MLS hopefuls from the Bay Area and around the country convened at the Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville looking to buck the odds and make the team. Members of the Earthquakes technical staff were on hand to evaluate the players, while Center Line Soccer photographer Maciek Gudrymowicz was there to capture all the action.
Since returning to the league in 2008, San Jose has held itself annual open tryout in the days leading up to the MLS preseason. Players from all corners of the globe have chased their dreams of earning a professional contract from the Quakes, but to date not a single player has made the grade. However, with the recent announcement that the Earthquakes will field a U23 Professional Development League (PDL) side in 2014, the open tryout participates could be tapped for inclusion for the as-yet-unnamed team's roster.
Players each paid $100 to join the open tryout, with proceeds from the event going to the Earthquakes Community Fund charitable organization. In addition to the valuable feedback from the Quakes coaches, the players also took home a ticket voucher to a San Jose match in March.
The launch of a team in the PDL is an important step for the Earthquakes as the club expands its presence throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. Earlier this month, San Jose struck an affiliation agreement with USL PRO newcomers Sacramento Republic FC in order to give promising young players on its senior team roster the chance to get meaningful playing time via loan to the capital city club. The PDL team, not yet formally established, will be the destination for players 23-years old and under that no longer qualify for the Earthquakes academy program.
For more photos from the open tryout, check out Maciek's complete gallery at the Center Line Soccer Facebook page.