“It's hard work, but we always have a good time” - that sums up the thoughts of soccer players at 7 Elite Academy tryouts across Utah this week.
Youngsters have been gathering in Ogden, West Jordan and Utah Country, following three weeks of trials ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.
Tryouts for boys and girls continue at Westvale Elementary on Thursday and Friday as the organization looks to continue two years of remarkable expansion.
And with a line-up of top-level professional coaches from both Europe and the United States, players are looking forward to another season of development.
Midfielder Whitney Gard, who is approaching her second year with 7EA, said: “The coaches here are great and it is a really good environment to learn with my team-mates.
“I really like the way the coaches make the sessions fun. It it hard work, but we always have a good time.”
Luke Scholes, who plays left wing, has been with the organization since it was formed in 2017. He said: “I really like the coaching curriculum and it's something you don't find at other clubs.
“They have good staffing here, good coaches and all the players are really friendly. It is like a big family, who look out for each other.”
Kevin Jarra, a forward who is aiming to join 7EA for the first time, added: “The coaches seem very good here and overall everyone is really nice and friendly.
“They have some great coaches here and some great players.”
Midfielder Chloe McBride is set to return for a second season with 7EA. She said: “I like how the academy brings in coaches from the UK. They show us drills that really help to improve things like our footwork and play in general.
“The weekly training is good, because they give us drills to help us improve like professional players do.”
7 Elite Academy has developed a reputation for giving youngsters opportunities to play overseas and work with some of the leading coaches in soccer.
A team from 7EA entered a tournament in Australia last November, while four girls will travel to the UK this summer to train at an English Premier League Academy.
In Utah, the organization holds regular coaching masterclass sessions, including training camps with EPL star James Milner.
Masie Reed plays in midfield and is approaching her second campaign with 7EA. She said: “I really enjoy the soccer camps we have, where coaches from England come and teach us the same drills that professional players train with. That is really cool.
“The coaches here give us specific drills to do in practice. My dad is my coach and he says this makes it really easy for him!”
Defenceman Andrew Anderson, who has represented 7EA for two years, said: “I enjoy the coaching here and the support the coaches give. You can ask them anything if you have any questions and I like the amount of opportunities you get.
“I have gone to the President's Cup with my team and we won both times. We had coaches come with us and they were very supportive of us all.”
Cora Powers, meanwhile, is looking forward to her second year in midfield and defense with the organization. She said: “I really enjoy the different training we do and the competitiveness of each session. The drills are very efficient.
“I also enjoy the footwork drills and how the coaches do certain positions on the field at different times with skills that will help all over.”
7 Elite Academy tryouts run until May 31st and there is no charge for current 7 Elite Academy players to take part, while others will be charged $10 ($20 if paying on the day) which includes an exclusive tryout jersey.
Age brackets will range from under-9 to under-18, although there will also be sample training sessions for Pre-Academy players in the 2012-2015 birth years.
Players are encouraged to attend all days of tryouts for their location and age group. To aid in an efficient check-in process at the try-outs, all players are encouraged to pre-register.
On site same day registration is $20 dollars.
For more information and to register, go to www.7tryouts.com.