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Danvers Travel Soccer Try-Out Evaluation Process

Whether it’s your first time or third, we understand that travel evaluations can be a stressful time for you and your children. We hope by explaining the process, it will help alleviate some of that stress and let your child enjoy their travel soccer experience. Our Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3 travel teams all practice on the same fields, wear the same uniforms, travel to the same Essex County towns and are coached by our volunteer coaches. Placement on the right team should lead to a great soccer year.

General Information
1. Players must be registered with DYS before the evaluation days and upload digital photograph of themselves to DYS for a Travel ID Card. Player cannot participate in Travel games, per ECYSA, without a completed Travel ID Card.
2. Travel Soccer is a two season commitment. Travel teams practice a minimum of two times per week with games on Saturday in Danvers or any of the Essex County towns. Game times are usually from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
3. Players are expected to attend both days of evaluations, if at all possible. Players who do not attend at least one day of evaluations will not be considered for a Division 1 or Division 2 team, unless special circumstances (illness, injury, prior important family commitments, etc.) are communicated in writing via email to the Travel Director. This must be done prior to the first day of evaluations.
4. Players will be organized into age-pure or mixed groups for evaluation.
5. Players must wear shin guards, bring a soccer ball and water to evaluation days.

The goal of the evaluation process is to maintain a fair, objective and thorough process for assessing player abilities and skills in order to place each player onto a team that will best challenge their current level of play. Additionally, it’s our goal to place all players who want to play travel soccer whenever feasible based on numbers of players in an age group and the availability of coaches.


DYS uses a two part process to place players on the appropriate team. Information from each part of the process is used to form the teams.

·         Player Evaluations: Players are evaluated over 2 different days. Teams of evaluators rate players on performance during a series of activities that showcase a variety of soccer skills and abilities. Players wear numbered pinnies and are not identified by name or current team.  Each session is different, day one we will bring forth the Technical & physical component, day 2 will be more tactical.

·         Coach Team Evaluations: after each season we ask our coaches to provide us some feedback from their team/s by filling out the proper age group coach’s evaluation form that will be provided by the travel director.

While no one process is perfect, DYS believes this process does a good job of providing fair and unbiased evaluation of player’s current abilities and skills and provides the right information for proper placement.

·         GOALIE evaluation (U12+): there will be one goalie tryout per season, if your son/daughter wants to play goalie they must attend the goalie try-out as we will do our best to place a goalie on each team. If a player attends both the player & goalie try-outs, they will be placed on a team based on their 2 part score. If a player only shows to goalie tryouts, then the player will be placed based on goalie evaluations.

Break-Down of Evaluation Days (also referred to as tryouts):
A team of evaluators watch players each day and record a rating on each player. Volunteer evaluators may include current and former DYS coaches, DYS board members, soccer playing parents and community members, local college athletes, and hired professional coaches. Evaluators agree to keep their evaluations confidential and are required to provide the evaluation forms to the Travel Director immediately following the evaluations.

1. On evaluation day, players are checked in and given a numbered pinnie. That number is the player’s identification for the day. All observations are recorded by pinnie number only on standardized forms. Players are not identified by name or current team. This entire process is repeated for both days of evaluations.

2. Players go through an age-group warm-up and are then randomly divided into smaller groups. Groups report to evaluation activities as instructed.  Evaluators explain the activity and then watch the players for about 10 minutes. Groups then advance to the next game station. Each assessment day is different so it is very important & highly encouraged that each player attends both try-out dates as each day we evaluate on a different component. Players perform a variety of skill and technique based activities, small-sided games and bigger field scrimmages. For example, one try-out day the evaluators will be scoring on individual technique (Pass, Receive (1st touch), dribbling and small sided game play. The other try-out will be evaluated on the Tactical play of a player (Defending, Field awareness & Game play).

3. Each night, the evaluator’s forms are collected from each evaluator and the evaluation data is compiled.

4. DYS Travel Teams will be notified after July 4th .

What does DYS look for?
Below is a sample of things evaluators might be looking for during the evaluations:

Technique (Skills):

·         First Touch/Ball Control – trapping and receiving ball in front of body, positioning to field when receiving, head up and field awareness after controlling ball.

·         Dribbling – ball control, inside/outside foot control, pace of dribbling, feinting, inside/outside cutting skills, acceleration and deceleration with ball, head up while dribbling.

·         Passing –technique with feet (inside/outside of foot), crisp/accurate passing to feet and to space, pace of pass, movement after passing. 

·         Shooting/Finishing –technique of driving shot with laces/inside of foot, body position on shot, follow-through, decision on when/if to shoot, following shot for rebound

·         Shielding – body position when under pressure, “showing the ball” or shielding from defender, back to defender or side to defender. 

·         Heading – attacking/striking ball with forehead, heading for control, passing or clearing.


·         Defending – marking player, pressuring player without over committing, body position when defending, stopping forward progress, tackling/gaining control of ball, knowing when to clear ball vs. dribble/pass

·         Field/Game Awareness – Movement without the ball. Head on a swivel, knowing where teammates, opponents & space are at all times. Knowing when to pass vs. dribble or shoot, seeing plays materialize, moving to a position that supports.


·         Speed – quickness off/to ball, acceleration to ball/space, change of direction and deceleration 

·         Strength – standing ground and/or winning position 

·         Aggressiveness – attacking and going to the ball on defense, attacking and dribbling around/through defenders on offense, attacking and finishing shots 


·         Communication – calling for the ball, directing players to space 

·         Attitude – are they having fun? Are they coachable, positive to other players/referees, not giving up on plays? Sportsmanship & overall potential.


 Team Formation: Travel team placement notification will be sent out via email to families post July 4th. CLICK HERE FOR TRAVEL POLICY REGARDING TEAM FORMATION