After announcing its free Pre-Academy program earlier this month, Columbus Crew SC hosted the first of two Open Identification tryouts on Oct. 21 at Fortress Obetz.
Nearly 200 children from Central Ohio participated in Wednesday's free tryout, with roughly 100 kids featuring in each of the two age groups – Under-9/10 and Under-11/12.
Each age group participated in an hour-long session, which consisted of a number of technical drills and small-sided games. The final Open ID tryout is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 28 and is currently closed to new registrants.
Following the session, select individuals will be invited to the Nomination Only tryouts on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11.
The Crew’s free of charge Pre-Academy program is modeled after the rest of the Academy in that you do not pay to play. This is to encourage accessibility, remove barriers to entry, and increase opportunities for the local talent pool.
Those who qualify for the U-9/10 and U-11/12 Pre-Academy teams will have the opportunity to learn about the Crew SC Academy methodology while staying with their home club, as players will only need to participate in one Crew training session per week.
Under the guidance of Academy head coaches and Academy Director Kelvin Jones, the weekly Pre-Academy training sessions will help expand the Club's reach in the area while creating a feeder program for Crew SC Academy, Jones said.
Ideally, "certain players would follow the natural progression through the Pre-Academy and then join a U-13 Academy team," Jones explained.
"That way, we have a foundation of kids that we’ve been developing for two to three years. At that point, they can transition straight into our Academy and they are familiar to our style of play.”
Currently, the Crew SC Academy fields teams at the U-14, 15, 16/17, and 18/19 levels.
October’s Open ID tryouts is the only round scheduled for the remainder of the calendar year, and the Academy plans to hold Open ID tryouts on an annual basis. However, the Academy will continue to accept player nominations from local club directors and head coaches.
For more information on the Pre-Academy, as well as how to nominate a player, visit the Crew SC Pre-Academy home page or you can follow the Crew Academy on Instagram (@crewscacademy) and Twitter (@CrewSCAcademy) for any updates or news related to the program and tryouts.