Over the next several months, AFL teams will be holding open tryouts for the 2013 season. Coaching staffs around the League are working hard and preparing. Through open tryouts, teams have added many valuable players who have had a major impact on the AFL landscape including Barry Wagner, Mike Washington, and Fred Williams.
“When you have open tryouts, you are always looking for great athletes,” Iowa Barnstormers Head Coach Mike Hohensee said. “You are looking for someone that slipped through the cracks or is a diamond in the rough.”
Tryouts act as an opportunity for both players and coaches.
“The tryouts have truly benefitted us a great deal,” Hohensee said. “It is another avenue for us to find players.”
It also does not matter the position, every unsigned player is welcome to come to the tryouts, though kickers are often times evaluated separately.
“We look for all players, no matter what position,” Chicago Rush Head Coach Bob McMillen said. “We are looking for players to come and make our team better. It does not matter if the player is a quarterback, a kicker, or a defensive back.”
The players who are discovered might be the boost that a team needs to get them over the hump and into the playoffs. They could be the difference between a season to remember and a season to forget.
“We need to find multiple offensive linemen to protect our quarterback and several defensive linemen to go after the opposing quarterback,” McMillen said. “If we can fill those positions during the free agency period and resign most of our players, we will be very successful next season.”
For many teams, the players they find during the tryouts could be the ones to step in if someone goes down with an injury or become the developmental prospects to become key contributors down the line.
“We played really well against a lot of tough teams towards the end of last season,” Hohensee said. “We have lot of young players on our roster and I’m really excited to see some of our second-year players.”
The New Orleans VooDoo will hold its first open tryout of the year on Sunday, October 14 at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park in New Orleans. Six days later, the Philadelphia Soul will hold an open player tryout on Saturday, October 20 at the Philadelphia Eagles' NovaCare Complex located at One NovaCare Way in Philadelphia. The Chicago Rush will be holding an open tryout for all positions (excluding kickers) at the Schaumburg Sport Center in Schaumburg, IL on Saturday, October 27.
Several more teams will host tryouts between now and the start of the 2013 season, including the Tampa Bay Storm, Iowa Barnstormers, Utah Blaze, Pittsburgh Power and Spokane Shock. Tampa Bay has announced a November 3 tryout in Georgia, while Pittsburgh, Iowa and Utah will host theirs on November 10. Spokane has announced two tryout dates, with one in Spokane in December and a second in Dallas next January.