The eagerness for the upcoming sports season is tangible as the tryouts for the men’s basketball and men’s soccer come to a close.
Both teams hosted three-day tryout sessions. The first two days were open to everyone, but the third and final day was by invitation only. Players of both sports were placed into either the Tri-Campus team (otherwise known as Junior Varsity) or the Division 1 team.
Last year ended with some regrets for both Tri-Campus teams, more so for the men’s soccer team.
“Last season was a big disappointment. We had high expectations, and for whatever reason, it didn’t work,” said Omar Jbaihi, the team’s coach.
A total of 33 players competed fiercely throughout the 90 minutes of soccer tryouts. The coaches put the players through both offensive and defensive drills, ending with a full-team scrimmage.
Old and new players alike put in their best efforts to show the coaches they deserved a place on the final roster. Jbaihi said he is looking to keep the players that were on the team last year together so as to build more team chemistry. By keeping the same core players from last season and adding some new players, Jbaihi hopes to build a stronger team to bring home the trophy this year.
Meanwhile, basketball has always been a popular sport on our campus and this year is no exception: over 70 people showed up for the first day of basketball tryouts. On the third day of tryouts, there were 35 hopefuls looking to make the final cuts for Junior Varsity and Division 1. The 35 hopefuls were cut down to 28.
Since both teams have lost a lot of players since last year, some new faces are bound to show up in both Junior Varsity and Division 1.
“We got better last year; we finished second. And this year, with the best players from the Div 1 team joining the Junior Varsity team, we will be even better,” says Jonathan Harvey, a fixture on the team for the past couple of years who tried out again this year.
The players participated in some warm-ups and ended with a long session of 5 vs. 5. After the tryouts, the coaches of both teams thanked everyone who tried out.
Last season didn’t turn out the way either team wanted it to, but with this season’s intense tryouts, the addition of new talent to both squads, and guidance from coaches, UTM students will want to pay attention to this season.