Weatherford FC’s inaugural season netted a 9-3 record and later hosting rights to the United Premier Soccer League’s Spring National Finals tournament, complete with a cash prize of $10,000 for the winning team, running today and tomorrow at Kangaroo Stadium.
However, the strong start has not deterred the local semi-professional soccer club from aiming for even greater heights moving forward.
Weatherford FC recently held four sets of tryouts over the course of July ahead of the team’s fall season, roughly slated for a September start.
While the club is still in the process of finalizing who will make the final roster, Director of Communications Robert Vance said he and General Manager/player Brandon Medrano were pleased with the ability on display at tryouts.
“We were really impressed with not only the number of people that signed up and joined us at tryouts, but also the amount of talent the players had,” Vance said.
“We wanted to have these tryouts because we got promoted to a division higher than what we were playing this previous season, and so we were hoping to find some players to hopefully level up our team in a sense. The people we had come out to our tryouts absolutely did everything and then some we were hoping for.
“We’re still in the process of finalizing who we’re gonna keep and where we’re gonna put them, but what I can say for certain is everyone that we’ve added to our roster is absolutely going to make Weatherford FC better.”
Returners from last season entered tryouts on the same footing as prospective players, a detail Vance said he and Medrano were adamant about from the club’s start.
“Returning players enter our tryouts competing for their spot,” Vance said.
“When Brandon and myself first envisioned this team, we wanted everything to be merit-based, because we want to have the best team that we can possibly have. So while I never want to undersell or not sound appreciative of the players we have had and the contributions they’ve made to our team, I’m always trying to get better. So if there are people that come out and are better than the players I currently have, like I said, it’s just the nature of the business.
“We’re hosting this national tournament this weekend and I want to be in a national tournament. I want to take Weatherford FC to some other state and play teams from around the country, and the only way I can do that is by fielding the best team possible.”
During their spring season, Weatherford FC fielded a 24-man roster which at times presented the club with depth problems due to injury.
That detail also played heavily into the club’s decision making during tryouts, Vance said.
“We wanted to add some depth to our roster,” Vance said.
“What happened last season was, we kind of fell into a little bit of a slump in the midseason, and that was because a few of our players got injured, and we didn’t really have the bench to replace those players while they were taking some time off and recovering. So this season, we wanted to try and avoid something like that happening again, so we weren’t necessarily looking for a specific position or type of player, but we were really looking for somebody that could come in, mesh well with the team and provide us that depth that, should another situation where a player can’t make a game or gets injured, we have that depth on our roster, somebody that’s been practicing with our team, has built synergy and knows our game plan and can step in.
“Including our returning players, we had about 55-60 people show up to our tryouts and participate.
“It was pretty difficult for us to filter through who we were gonna keep and who we were gonna have to unfortunately let go. That’s just the nature of how things are. We want to field the best possible team we can, so like I said, I really think this team is gonna be much better than what we had last season, and last season our team was already incredible.”
The club will field 30 players on its roster this fall.
Medrano said he has appreciated the competition born from tryouts, noting all the new faces have fueled Weatherford FC’s returners to push themselves even harder.
“With the new guys that came in, it was like almost a whole new team,” Medrano said.
“They made it very competitive. It was great to have a bunch of talent come out. It looks like we’re gonna have to compete for spots this time instead of everybody thinking they already have a spot.
“That was one of the things the coaches were telling all of the returners. Step it up a little bit and push the guys that are trying out to see if they have what it takes to be be able to play at this level.
“I feel pretty confident. It’s gonna help us compete.”