Photo by Pete Guion – UltiPhotos.com
The DC Current are another week closer to setting their final roster of 25 players after their third of four tryouts on Sunday.
For a third consecutive week, the brain trust of the D.C. Current gathered a group of prospects together for an early morning workout inside of the Soccerdome in Hyattsville, Md. The indoor arena was less crowded this time around after an initial wave of cuts sliced the number of participants down to 35 after nearly 60 hopefuls attended the first two sessions of the open combine.
The player pool will be slimmed down once more before this Sunday’s final combine session as the Current move closer to finalizing their 25-man roster.
While each of the previous Current combine sessions had been filled with both tension and intensity, Sunday’s session raised the bar even higher. Players already signed to the roster were fighting to stake out regular season playing time and those battling to be one of the final 25 that make the team strived to catch the eyes of the coaching staff.
“This last tryout was the most aggressive the guys have played,” said Coach Keven Moldenhauer. “Several times players made jaw dropping plays.
“After seeing guys match up against better players over and over again we have a much better idea of what the team will look like now.”
Markham Shofner, the Current’s points leader from last season, likes what he has seen so far during the tryouts as D.C. prepare for their sophomore season.
“Waking up early has been worth it to see the new talent that we have. I think top to bottom we’re going to be a more athletic and skilled team this year,” Shofner said. “It’s been eye opening to see how many people want to play and how many good people we’re going to have to cut.”
Edward Peters has driven down from Pittsburgh each of the past three weekends in an effort to earn a spot on the squad. While Peters has enjoyed the tryouts it has taken a little time to get use to his surroundings.
“I played against a couple of these guys in college, when I was at the University of Pittsburgh. I was rivals with some of these guys,” Peters said. “That was three, four, five years ago, but being on the same team as them as opposed to opposite teams has been a pleasure.”
The competition for the final roster spots has been fierce and Chip Cobb, who suited up for DC last season, said that only helps to push everyone at the practice.
“It’s been incredibly intense, right from the begging there have been guys throwing their bodies around diving left and right and jumping over each other into piles,” Cobb said. “It’s been great seeing people go all out all the time. Out here there is nowhere to hide, there is no moment to rest. When you are on the field there is no down time, you have to be on all the time.”
These preseason workouts have been invaluable for the Current, and the team is hopeful that all of the blood and sweat poured out during the 5 a.m. workouts will manifest into victories once the 2014 regular season gets underway.
“We have our cards in hand, now it’s a matter of how we play them,” said Coach Will Smolinski. “This is one of the most exciting parts of the season because we are mixing the prep work and creativity of the preseason and implementing it to see what it will actually look like.”
D.C. will make their final roster cuts after their fourth and final round of tryouts next Sunday.