TORONTO – Young Canadian soccer players will have their shot at potentially earning a spot in a Canadian Premier League team roster through the #GotGame Open Trials, and for Alex Bunbury, these national tryouts present the chance at unearthing some hidden talent.
Bunbury, an iconic forward for the Canadian national team, has been given the responsibility of organizing the trials both on the field and behind the scenes, across seven different cities. His accomplishments for Canada make him the ideal leader for the #GotGame Open Trials, a role he says is a “great honour.”
“The league asked me if I wanted to be a part of the trials, and I rescheduled everything that I was going to do in that timeframe because I believe in the importance of this,” Bunbury told CanPL.ca. “I’m very honoured and humbled by them even thinking of me and putting me in this position.”
Alongside a staff of trainers, Bunbury will coordinate the trials while the head coaches of each CPL team watch on from the sidelines, scouting for talent that they could potentially add to their plans as they begin crafting their rosters for the league’s inaugural 2019 season.
For Bunbury, skill is certainly a factor in his assessment, but he outlined an even more important trait that he’ll be keeping an eye out for.
“The mentality of a player,” Bunbury answered, when asked what specific characteristics he is looking for during the trials. “For me, your mentality is everything – 95 per cent of this is mental. The rest of it is a gift from God, hard work, dedication, and sacrifices. When you come in with the right mentality, a strong mentality, if you’re willing to work hard, willing to take in information, process it, and execute it in a consistent way, those are the kids that stand out for me.”
Bunbury continued: “You can always tell if a player has a good first touch and you can do all that stuff, juggle a ball and dribble, but mentally, are they there? Are they problem solvers? Are they good decision-makers? Do they have good coordination, strength and vision? Those are things you look for, and you can spot it. You can see it. We’ll be looking out for those talented players.”
Related: Bunbury calls on supporters across Canada
Becoming a professional soccer player may be a dream for many, but Bunbury urged those who might not believe they have a legitimate shot to come out and show that they’ve got game, no matter how tall the odds.
“What do you have to lose? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Bunbury offered. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Yeah, you know, there are some kids who are maybe a bit shy, but if you’re going to play this game at the highest level, you cannot be shy.
“You have to have a little bit of arrogance, a chip on your shoulder, a ‘Let me show you what I can do’ kind of attitude. This will give you the opportunity and the platform to showcase all the hard work and dedication you’ve put forth. We’re going to give you a fair shot at proving yourself. We’re going after talented people who have the passion and the desire to play their very best.”
#GotGame Open Trials Dates
Halifax: September 20-21
Montreal: September 27-28
Hamilton: October 1-2
Toronto: October 11-12
Winnipeg: October 18-19
Calgary: October 25-26
Vancouver Island: November 5-6
*Registration opens Aug. 29.