Valor Hopefuls Look to Land Roster Spot
Two Saturdays ago was one of the first snowfalls of the season in the DMV but that didn’t stop over 100 athletes from showing up for the Washington Valor open tryouts at Athletic Performance, Inc. in Gambrills, MD. The weather wouldn't stop me from attending either.
I had a chance to speak with Valor Head Coach Dean Cokinos before things got rolling on-site, asking him what attributes he and the team were for looking for in potential players. “Anytime we do an open tryout we're identifying traits, arena league is a different game, a different league. For us it's another group of players we can evaluate, you do a cross over with all your evaluations off-season, your free agents, your NFL camps and all that type of stuff, hoping to look for those guys who slipped through or maybe took a year or two off and they're back. So we're looking for traits, it's a short field right? It's not always the biggest, fastest, it's things you can do, can do you more than one thing? That's important in arena football because it's a versatile game, 21 players, can you play receiver, can you play DB? The levels don't drop, you know you got good burst? can you play in short space? So there's a lot of things we look for individually and collectively,” he said.
With most of the athletes being local, it was surprising to find out how much talent is this close to home, some of the best times from the shuttle, 4.13, 4.26, 4.33 and 4.39. The 40 yard dash wasn't too shabby either, many times coming in below 4.75. Getting some ups is also important to reel in the football, nine of the guys trying out were reaching over 10' in the jump trials. Before heading out I caught up with Valor defensive lineman Jake Payne and asked what he's looking forward to most next season in Washington, he said “I'm just looking forward to going out and playing some football, seeing the fans, getting back on the field and hitting some quarterbacks, it's gonna be fun.” I definitely agree