Chasing a Dream: NWSL Open Tryouts

There are ten NWSL teams, and each will carry a pro roster of 20 players this year. With most teams hosting a few international players, the numbers game is even narrower for players hoping to make a team. Though the college draft has become the default pathway for aspiring pros to secure entry into the league, all ten teams will host open tryouts in the coming weeks. And hundreds of women will show up, hoping desperately that their hard work and preparation and training will pay off. 

Sky Blue's defender Erin Simon, #33 (bottom left), was a 2016 open tryout success.

Sky Blue's defender Erin Simon, #33 (bottom left), was a 2016 open tryout success.

It's uncommon, but players can become successful pros through the open tryout process. Last year, I profiled Boston Breakers midfielder Angela Salem, who nabbed a development player spot after impressing Sky Blue FC at an open tryout just prior to the start of the 2010 WPS season. She's been a regular player across the various leagues (and around the world) ever since. Things are different in 2017, but teams now maintain reserve squads from which players can be called up to the pro team when needed. Salem's fellow Breaker Kylie Strom started 2016 as a reserve player, earning two call-ups before ultimately being signed to the pro roster at the end of August. 

Breaking into a pro side is difficult, but not impossible.

So, if you think you have what it takes to be one of the best 200 women in the country, pack your boots and bring your A-game. Be ready to compete. Be ready to shine. Be ready to impress. Maybe think about working out with Yael Averbuch and plenty of other pros on her Techne Futbol app. We'll be rooting for you.  

Here's what the teams have posted about their tryouts:


Boston Breakers: February 25th

The Boston Breakers will hold an open tryout on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, at Forekicks II (219 Forest St., Marlboro, Mass.). The indoor surface is a state-of-the-art field turf that takes both cleats and indoor shoes.

The Breakers are holding an open tryout in order to identify and select talent ahead of the National Women’s Soccer League pro team season and Women’s Premier Soccer League Boston Breakers Reserve, College Academy, and Under-20 team seasons. The tryout session time will be confirmed after payment is received. Registration is limited.

All candidates are responsible for their own travel expenses to and in the Boston area. A participation waiver will need to be signed at the field prior to participation, and proof of health insurance must be shown.

In order to participate in the NWSL or the Reserve Team, you must have either exhausted your college eligibility or will graduate in the 2016-2017 year. If you are graduating college in the 2016-2017 year, you must also register for the 2017 NWSL College Draft.

A tryout fee of $50 must be collected prior to tryouts in order to secure your spot. You can do so via credit card. If you need to use another form of payment, email Director of Operations Laura Doran at

A confirmation email of your registration will be sent once payment has been received.

To register, click here.


Chicago Red Stars: February 23rd (and 24th via callback)

The Chicago Red Stars are pleased to announce that open tryouts have been finalized for the 2017 campaign. Players who believe they can compete for a spot with the back-to-back National Women’s Soccer League semifinalists may register now to participate on Thursday, February 23, 2017 for a session led by Head Coach Rory Dames and coaching staff.

The following tryout session on February 24 will be for call-back players only. The combine will take place at the Athletico Center (1900 Old Willow Road, Northbrook, Illinois 60062).

In order to participate in the combine, each player must be a college senior or post-college, submit the registration fee and send in a completed registration form and liability waiver prior to the tryout. The entire application can be conveniently prepared and submitted here. Upon completion of registration you will receive a confirmation email.

The Red Stars have continuously had a strong turnout at open tryouts, with a handful of participants invited to the club’s official preseason training camp. During the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the Red Stars were in need of players to fill roles during the NWSL season and many of them came from the open tryout process. Many of these participants were chosen to take part in the Red Stars Reserve program (2015 WPSL National Champions and 2016 WPSL National Semifinalists) and were called up throughout the season to fill-in during the World Cup and Olympic stages.

The Chicago Red Stars kickoff the 2017 NWSL season in the spring. Season tickets and flex packs are currently on sale here or can be ordered through a ticket representative at 773.697.8699.

Tryout Schedule:
Thursday, February 23rd
Player Check-In: 10:30 AM
Session 1: 11:30 AM – 1:00PM
Session 2: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Friday, February 24th (Day 2 by invite only)
Player Check-In: 9:00 AM
Session 1: 10:00 AM – 12:00PM

Register Here.


Houston Dash: March 11th

The Houston Dash are hosting tryouts for the 2017 season at Houston Sports Park on March 11, 2017 from 9:00am until 12:00pm. All participants must be 17 years of age or older by March 11, 2017, and are responsible for bringing their own equipment; soccer balls will be provided. Walkups are welcome*.

Please be sure to complete all steps in the registration process, including payment information. The registration form will not be complete until payment is submitted. Please call/email Kris Rigby at 713-276-7552 or if you have any additional questions.

Walkup registration is $150.


FC Kansas City: ?

FCKC hasn't announced any open tryouts, but I'll update this space if they do. 


North Carolina Courage: March 11-12

The North Carolina Courage will host the team's first-ever tryouts for the 2017 NWSL Season on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12 at WRAL Soccer Park in Raleigh, NC. Below are the exact times, dates and field locations for the 2017 NC Courage tryouts.

Saturday, March 11
6 pm-10 pm
WRAL #5 Travers Lasik
WRAL #6 Durham Bulls Stadium 

Sunday, March 12
8 am-12 pm
WRAL #5 Travers Lasik

To register, click here. Registration fee is $99.

Orlando Pride: January 21st

Ooops, this is in the past. You missed it. You didn't want to go to Florida in the winter anyway. Besides, these tryouts are OVER!


Portland Thorns: February 18th and 19th

Portland Thorns FC will conduct an open tryout Feb. 18-19 at Providence Park in Portland, as the team prepares for its fifth season in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The tryouts are open to players 18 years of age and older. Interested players with previous college or professional experience are invited to register for the tryout online; the registration form is available at The registration fee is $115; space is limited.

Thorns FC head coach Mark Parsons and staff will be on hand to assess players. For any additional information regarding the tryout, please contact Sarah Venter at

2016 Portland Thorns FC Tryout Details
Date: February 18-19
Where: Providence Park; Portland, Ore.

Saturday, Feb. 18
First Session: 10 a.m. – 12 noon (Pacific)
Second Session: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Pacific)

Sunday, Feb. 19
10 a.m. – 12 noon (Pacific).

Check In: Check in for both days begins 45 minutes prior to the listed start time.
Fee: $115


Seattle Reign: February 25th

Seattle Reign FC open tryouts will take place on February 25 at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, Washington, as the team prepares for its fifth season in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

The tryouts are open to women ages 18 and older. Participants MUST register in advance to participate in the tryouts. The registration fee is $90 for each player, payable by credit card on this website (just click the Register button). Space is limited.

All participants must sign a medical liability waiver before they will be allowed to participate, and provide proof of health insurance. Please download the waiver and complete it prior to your arrival.

Players are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes prior to the listed start time. Each session will start promptly at the posted time.

TRYOUT DATE: Saturday, February 25, 2017
TIME: First session: 8am - 10am PT, Second session: 11am - 12:30pm PT
COST: $90.00
LOCATION: Memorial Stadium, 401 5th Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109
CHECK IN: Please proceed to the Northeast entrance of the stadium on the corner of 4th Ave and Republican Street and enter through the roll-up doors. You will find a registration desk for check-in.


Sky Blue FC: March 1st (and 2nd via callback) 

Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has officially confirmed the dates for its 2017 open tryouts, which will be held from March 1st to March 2nd at a location to be announced in Monmouth County, N.J. Cost for the trials will be $90, and online registration is currently open.

Any players who are interested in taking part must register online by Tuesday, Feb. 28th, and all participants must be at least 18 years of age. All trialists will be required to sign a liability waiver, and proof of medical insurance must be provided during the registration process. Players will have the opportunity to upload a CV when they sign up online.

There will be one training session conducted on the first day of tryouts, running from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. with player check-in beginning at 10:00 a.m. The second day of tryouts will be by invite only after day one assessment, starting at 11:00 a.m. Times are subject to change, but participants will be notified in advance if any alterations are made to the schedule. Trialists must bring both outdoor and indoor footwear with gear suitable for a grass or turf surface, and all registrants will be provided a Sky Blue FC t-shirt.

Day One: Wednesday, March 1st

Session – 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Day Two: Thursday, March 2nd (Invite Only After Day One Assessment)

Session – 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

LOCATION: TBD, Monmouth County, N.J.



Washington Spirit: February 15th and March 10th

The Washington Spirit will hold two days of open tryouts in preparation for the 2017 NWSL professional and WPSL amateur season. The first will be held Wednesday, February 15, with the second on Friday, March 10. Both will be at the Maryland SoccerPlex, home of the Spirit’s stadium and training since the club’s founding in 2012.

The tryouts are open to players 18 years of age and older with previous college or professional experience. Athletes can register up to an hour before the tryout but are encouraged to register early. The registration fee for the open tryout is $100 and is non-refundable.

Each open tryout will consist of two training sessions, with one from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and a second from 2 p.m.- 3:30 p.m., led by Spirit general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra. Both sessions on a given day are mandatory, but players do not need to attend both days.

“We are always looking for talented players, and the open tryout is an opportunity for players to impress our staff and earn a spot in our club,” said Gabarra.

The club’s aim is to identify players who have the ability to play on the Washington Spirit pro team in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and on the Washington Spirit Reserves team that plays in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). Youth players from the Baltimore / Washington region interested in playing for our WSPL amateur team should fill out the Development Academy Interest Form at:

2017 Washington Spirit Open Tryout Info Option 1:
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex, Field #20 (Indoor Field #2 as contingency)
18031 Central Park Circle
Boyds, MD 20841
Times: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Attendance at both sessions is required.

2017 Washington Spirit Open Tryout Info Option 2:
Date: Friday, March 10, 2017
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex, Field #20
18031 Central Park Circle
Boyds, MD 20841
Times: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Attendance at both sessions is required.

For more information: