By Eric Black
MORRIS PLAINS, NJ — An air horn sounded, stopping all 80 players on all four fields in their tracks. The balls in play fell from their sticks or were shuffled to referees. Fist bumps and high fives were exchanged, and the players began to jog off in separate directions. It was time for the next set of games.
“Get in there and showcase yourself!” One parent chirped at his son, who had just finished the 20-minute game as an attackman. “You gotta be in shape.”
They were at the boys New Jersey Under Armour All-American tryouts at the Central Park of Morris County on Tuesday, the second and final day of the event. The tryouts are held every year to determine who will represent the state (one of 12 regions nationally) in the annual Under Armour All-American Lacrosse Classic Underclass Tournament. There, two divisions (“Command”, filled with rising freshmen and sophomores, and “Highlight”, made up of juniors and seniors) in each region for each gender will compete against one another for bragging rights and the regional title.
A total of 331 kids took part in the tryouts, called the “best recruiting event a kid can go to” in one of the videos on its website, and were broken up into 22 teams: six in the Command Division and 16 in the Highlight Division. The final selections, expected to be announced on Thursday, will feature just 23 players (two goalies and any combination of attack, midfield, and defense), on each team.
“As a past player, club coach and someone working in the lacrosse industry it’s truly amazing how many college coaches we “check-in” across the country for this event,” Ryan Corrigan, Director of Sales for Corrigan Sports, said. “If you’re looking to get recruited, the Under Armour Tryouts are a great way to be seen.”
Corrigan Sports has served as the operator for the tryouts since their inception, organizing the entirety of each massive event. That includes contacting and acquiring the 100+ coaches to serve as evaluators for each one, finding the venues large enough to hold them, and hiring officials, among other tasks. In doing so, Corrigan Sports’ main goal is to maintain objectivity among the evaluators and ensure that each event results in the best and most deserving players being selected.
While some players will be selected to one of the two 23-person teams, most of the boys won’t get that call. That doesn’t mean their two-day experience will have been useless, however. The games, scheduled to be 20-30 minutes long with a running clock, are set up to be fast-paced in order to showcase players’ skills. So even if a player isn’t selected to represent his region, he’ll still have had the chance to show dozens of college coaches (at the DI, DII, and DIII levels) what he has to offer.
“It would be really cool to represent New Jersey,” said one player trying out for the Highlight team. “But even if I don’t get picked, this was still a really cool experience.”
In addition to getting exposure at the tryouts themselves, some players will also have the opportunity to participate in newly-announced Under Armour All-American Call Back Academy. To be held on Nov. 8 and 9, the Call Back Academy will feature on-field instructional sessions, showcase games, and educational seminars.
The invite-only event, which is limited to 600 boys and girls, will be filled with the “best against the best”, as only players who were invited to their regional Call Back game and those that make the final team will be invited. In addition to the games and seminars, players will have the opportunity to speak with NCAA Compliance Specialists, Health and Nutrition Specialists, high-level college coaches.
For now, all eyes are on the results of the tryouts for the Underclass Tournament, which will be held later this month.
“Our tagline has always been “Rep Your Region,” Corrigan said. “The sense of pride that all of us carry for our hometown comes out through this tournament.”
U.S. Club Lacrosse is the go-to site for the lacrosse community to obtain information on tournaments, rankings, tryouts, clinics, and further details on Club teams. We created a single site to conduct your research in order to find the best fit for your player or team's developmental needs. USCLUBLAX.com is simple to use and provides a forum for Club and Tournament Directors to keep their information up to date with the rest of the lacrosse community.
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