Living on a prayer

Players from all over flocked to last weekend's Union open tryout

Birnis Adames

Photo Credit: 
Philadelphia Union Communications

Birnis Adames' continued dream of becoming a professional came full circle last Saturday.

It was at YSC Sports in Wayne last year in which Adames represented the region at Sueño MLS, a national search for the top Latino player in the country. From that tryout, Adames, 19, would move on to win the entire competition when he emerged as the best field player out of 1,200 hopefuls. The notoriety granted Adames a chance to train in Spain, who hoped his European jaunt might make his dream of being a professional come true.

Unfortunately it did not – but Adames isn’t giving up.

On Saturday, Adames returned to where it all began, YSC Sports, this time for the Union’s third open tryout. This time the pool of players was less, but it didn’t deter Adames’ ability to stand out.

“I am back in the States and I am trying to play at least in a reserve league or some sort of academy situation,” said Adames, now heading into his senior year. “I am just here to play, I don’t want to stop. I know I have what it takes to be a professional, so I am glad there are tryouts like this for me to showcase my skills.

Watch: Birnis Adames Sueno MLS player profile

According to Adames, training stints with lower level reserve teams of Atletico Madrid and Getafe aided in his development, but he’s looking to be entwined in the Union’s system, stay and hopefully one day play close to home.

However, there were a number of players that impressed the Union technical and development staff on hand Saturday and a few players will be invited back to work out with the team during involuntary scrimmage and training sessions at YSC. Union assistant coach Rob Vartughian, who oversaw Saturday’s event, noted that he and the staff were impressed.

“There were a handful of players who really stood out and who we consider prospects,” Vartughian said. “Whether they’ll be a good fit for our team or in our academy system remains to be seen. We’ll contact the guys shortly and invite them to some involuntary sessions at YSC with some of our first team guys. All in all however, I was really impressed with many of the skill levels we saw.”

There were a wide range of skill levels on hand broken up by age groups. The two-part session involved players going through a series of passing and possession drills, many of which included patterns that tested players’ cognitive thinking. In the afternoon, additional scrimmage sessions continued as skill separation became apparent.

For some, like tryout hopeful BJ Davis, the experience a chance to see where he stood among the lot of 110 players that came from all over to test their mettle.

“This was a great experience and I am glad the Union does this,” said Davis, 32. “I think I still have it and I had an awesome Saturday, but I am also 32. So it was just really good to get a chance to go out and compete. We’ll see what happens.”

But for players like Adames, this chance is one he hopes will take his game to the next level – even if not in the immediate like Sueño MLS did.

“I am finishing high school, and I am trying to go to college in January,” said Adames. “Starting my soccer career is very important, but getting an education is just as important if not more. But when I play soccer, I forget about stuff, my problems, I forget about everything. I just enjoy the game and on a soccer field, I feel happy. It’s the best thing I can do with my life. I really hope I can make this dream come true.”

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr