Go Pro: San Diego Loyal soccer team looking for local talent, sets upcoming player tryouts

The San Diego Loyal’s own homegrown Band of Brothers, from left, Sal Zizzo, Jordan Chavez, Jake Fenalson, Eric Avila, Austin Guerrero, Miguel Berry and Alejandro Guido. Photo courtesy SD Loyal

Calling all prospective professional soccer players!

The San Diego Loyal SC will host two open tryouts this month in an effort to expand the team’s recruiting pool and discover players for its second USL Championship season.

The two sessions will be held on Feb. 20 and Feb. 27 at the SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Editor’s note: The Feb. 27 tryout date had originally been scheduled at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, where the professional soccer team trains.)

There is definite interest. The Loyal was at 100 percent of capacity (first 120 paid) for the club’s 2021 open tryouts.

“Last season, we had two players on our roster who got their start in the USL through an open tryout,” Loyal EVP of soccer operations and manager Landon Donovan said. “Given the fact that San Diego is the best soccer market in the country, we fully expect to find the next Emrah Klimenta or Austin Guerrero at our upcoming tryouts.”

Aspiring soccer players from all over the world have a life-changing opportunity to impress the SD Loyal coaches and scouting staff for a chance to earn a professional contract and a spot on the team’s roster. Players interested must be ages 15 to 26 and SD Loyal guarantees at least one person from the tryout session will be invited as a trialist for 2021 training camp.

Registration is $115 per person per session with limited spots available. There are opportunities for players to get scholarships through the club. For questions about limited scholarships available, contact Lizzy Rivas at lizzyr@sdloyal.com. For all additional questions, contact tryouts@sdloyal.com and to register, log onto sdloyal.com/tryouts.

In the meantime, the SD Loyal SC continues to build its roster in advance of the 2021 season, which the league projects to begin in May.

The team has signed 13 players through Jan. 26, including nine players off its inaugural 2020 roster.

Returners off last season’s 6-5-5 team include forward Ben Spencer, midfielders Charlie Adams, Collin Martin, Tumi Moshobane and Morgan Hackworth, defenders Elijah Martin, Jack Metcalf, Grant Stoneman and Sal Zizzo.

Newcomers include forward Corey Hertzog, midfielder Jack Blake and defenders Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Ebenezer Ackon.

The Loyal carried 30 players on its inaugural Team 1 roster.

The San Diego Loyal received defensive midfielder Alejandro Guido, a graduate locally of Mater Dei Catholic High School, on loan from the Los Angeles Football Club. prior to the start of the 2020 MLS season. Photo courtesy SDLoyal

Youth alert
The Loyal SC has expanded its imprint on the region to include a youth pathway to professional soccer.

The new program, Loyal Select, will participate in the USL Academy League and provide the opportunity to build and develop a true local professional pathway for elite players in the region while allowing these players to remain with their respective youth clubs for training and matches, according to information released by the USL Championship team.

“When SD Loyal was started, we made it clear that we would be committed to authentically representing San Diego,” Donovan explained. “There’s no better way to show that commitment than to give young San Diegan soccer players the opportunity to play professional soccer for their hometown club. Loyal Select is the first step in that process and will provide these young men the tools to become better people and better players.”

SD Loyal assistant coach Matt Hall will oversee the new Loyal Select program as head coach. The Loyal Select program will collaborate with all current youth clubs in the San Diego region and participate in the Southwest Division of the USL Academy League.

Players have the opportunity to train normally with local clubs and receive training with SD Loyal once a week. The new part-time program plans to practice and compete in its home matches at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center. The season will run parallel to SD Loyal’s season and play roughly 10 matches over that period.

“I have been a part of the San Diego Youth Soccer community as a player and coach for over 30 years,” Hall said. “I have always loved this city and I always will. To be a part of Loyal Select is truly special for me and I look forward to providing another platform for young players to evolve and grow so they can reach new heights and make their community proud.”

Players eligible for consideration must be part of any local youth club in the region and born in 2005 or later. For more information on the new part-time youth development program, visit the website at sdloyal.com/loyalselect.

Fans are encouraged to stay connected by downloading the official team app or signing up for updates and news via SDLoyal.com and #SDLoyal.

For more information, visit the website sdloyal.com.

Go Pro: San Diego Loyal soccer team looking for local talent, sets upcoming player tryouts