The newly renamed North Carolina FC held invite-only tryouts from December 9 to December 11, 2016 at WakeMed Soccer Park. Led by North Carolina FC coaching staff, 25 players of various ages, nationalities and experience trained in hopes of securing a spot on the 2017 North Carolina FC roster.
Head Coach Colin Clarke said the club chose to hold invite-only tryouts instead of open tryouts to ensure that the highest quality players are being considered for the roster.
“These are players that we have seen and have been highly recommended to us by different people,” Clarke said. “In open tryouts, you’re always going to have people who probably aren’t up to the standard you are looking for. This just is a way to bring in a good group, a small group that is of a high standard that is going to benefit us.”
With its recent brand restatement, the club has set its sights on bringing the highest level of men’s and women’s professional soccer to the state. Clarke said that he is looking to maintain a competitive roster with players that will propel these visions forward in 2017.
“We have a roster that is going to evolve this year,” he said. “We are looking for young, hungry players that want to be playing for North Carolina FC and want to make a difference.”
Among tryout attendees was recent Baker University player and former RailHawks NPSL player Julian Sansano.
Sansano said he appreciates the valuable experience he gained while playing for the RailHawks NPSL team last year under Dewan Bader, the first team assistant coach and NPSL head coach.
“Playing with the NPSL team under Dewan and his staff was a great opportunity to be looked at, trained by professional coaches, and to get eyes on you and play with quality college players,” said Sansano. “I know my college coach at Baker was really happy when I came back and was a much better player so it it helped me improve and got me ready to play, hopefully, at the next level.”
The club transitioned its name from the Carolina RailHawks to North Carolina FC on Tuesday, December 6 as Owner Steve Malik announced The New State of Soccer. Click here for the full New State of Soccer announcement.
The positive environment that was generated by the updated logo and team was inspiring to first team hopeful Sansano.
“I could feel the buzz around here with the rebranding, so it’s a great opportunity to come and test yourself and see if you can make it to the next level,” he said.
Clarke said that he could sense the excitement surrounding the recent announcements at this year’s tryouts as well.
“It’s exciting to stand in front of these kids and let them know [about the announcement],” he said. “They’ve all seen it. What we are looking to do as far as moving forward with MLS and a new stadium. The word is out there, and it’s great news, very well received.”