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January 9, 2011
By PAUL MONTANA - Bulletin Sports Writer

With players coming from all corners of the globe for a professional soccer tryout at the Smith River Sports Complex on Saturday, naturally some players hailed from hot-weather climates.

For them, Martinsville was a rather rude, frigid awakening.

"These guys coming from Brazil must feel like they've gone into Siberia," said head coach Matt Weston. "Unbelievable."

The sub-freezing temperatures steered most fans away from the SRSC for F.C. New York's tryout, but players from all over the globe braved the weather as they attempted to make their name known to Weston, Enda Crehan, and other evaluators for the club from the professional United Soccer League.

Although the brutal weather understandably kept most fans indoors, they missed some quality soccer. Players ranging from talented teenagers, to recent Division-I college players, to seasoned pros from other teams in the USL showed up at the tryout for F.C. New York, a startup team in the USL that is in the process of forming its first 25-man roster.

The tryouts were invite-only, and 55 players turned out to the SRSC. Countries represented included France, Brazil, Spain, Germany and even Japan.

While Weston's networks throughout the world helped attract some players, simply having New York in the team's title also helped recruit talent from all corners of the globe.

"I've had players get in touch who have just googled New York, and all of a sudden they've sent me a resume," Weston said. "The greatest thing about being in New York is that you get to have exposure to the world."

With players flying in from all over the globe, a little snow dusting wasn't about to halt the event that had been in the works for a year or more. That's why SRSC Director of Operations Billy Russo, Director of Marketing Kimberly Payne, and other volunteers spent some five hours clearing snow and ice off the fields and walkways Saturday morning.

That diligence allowed the four-hour tryout to go on, which featured mostly scrimmages among the players as the coaches observed.

"Ultimately you see everything you need to see an 11-v-11 game," Weston said. "It doesn't take me really long to see what I long from a player. It's consistency, and it's finding a player who looks like they belong at this standard. And there's only a few people who do."