By now it is no secret that many familiar faces will return from an experienced 2018 squad that provided Wichita with it’s best U.S. Open Cup run in history, and kept the momentum going winning yet another NPSL Heartland Conference championship. What many do not know is that new Opportunity Knocks at the door of 20 team hopefuls. Will these players be the next to represent FC Wichita? The next 32 days will decide that fate.
The preseason scrimmage will become a proving ground for a mixture of players who have either played their way through the spring round of open tryouts, or are members of the FC Wichita Youth Academy.
The open tryouts finished by inviting 10 players who did well to stand out to the coaching staff in just a 3 hour window for success. While the academy tryout process began in February and has seen nearly 75 players trimmed down to 20 ahead of two friendly games at Stryker soccer complex. Game 1 is Saturday March 30th vs Allan County Community College, and game 2 is the following Saturday on April 6th vs Neosho County Community College. After the second match, 10 Academy players will join the 10 tryout players at the preseason scrimmage on May 1st.
“We’ve been talking for years about ways to give local players more opportunity to be identified,” said CEO Blake Shumaker. “This gives us that chance and also has provided us with a buzz in the soccer community as a whole. We want soccer supporters to see us following through on our promises, and we believe a public preseason match call up is a great way to introduce the pressure that gets players one step closer to achieving their goal.”
In addition to the match, and the club obviously looking to identify new talent, FC Wichita will be calling up 5 of the 10 academy players to the first team for the entire summer.
“Five academy players will be selected into training, that is the only given at this time,” says assistant coach Gonzalo Carranza. “It’s important for us to move academy players into first team training. The chance of changing their everyday environment is a massive opportunity for them. For me, developing home grown FC Wichita players was one of the main things that brought me to the club and I couldn’t be more excited for this.”