Nor'easters mine for "diamonds in the rough" during spring tryout for 2017 PDL season
More than 40 players seek to earn a spot with defending PDL Eastern Conference champions

The Ocean City Nor’easters attracted more than 40 players to the club’s final tryout before the 2017 Premier Development League (PDL) season and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicks off next month.

On Saturday, April 16, at the Total Turf Experience in Pitman, N.J., the tryout session brought out players from a variety of countries and skill sets. The players in attendance were hoping to catch the eye of the Nor’easters coaching staff, led by new head coach John Thompson, as they hope to make the roster as Ocean City defends its Eastern Conference championship next season.

Along with various drills and small-sided games, trialists were eager to show off the talents and play beyond their limits in hopes of impressing the coaching staff.

Nor’easters general manager Giancarlo Granese Jr. was satisfied with the turnout and the amount of talent on the field.

“It was great event,” said Granese Jr. “We saw some kids we really like who could be a good fit for our club this summer. It’s always a great experience getting kids out here for the Nor’easters as we continue to add hard-working, talented players and some diamonds in the rough.”

The session consisted of players first warming up in drills led by coach Thompson. After that, players split into groups for small-sided games led by Thompson and his assistants. Players were divided by position (forwards, midfielders, and defenders) and played possession games until the first break.

After the break, full games with players going at game speed to show off their skills to the coaches and spectators in attendance. Goals were scored on both ends and many of the players leaving lasting impressions with the coaching staff.

The team will invite the players who can contribute to the club, and begin preparations for the 2017 season, which begins with a May 10 date in the 104th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

That day, they will host Philadelphia amateur club Junior Lone Star FC at Carey Stadium with the winner taking on professional side Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) in Round 2. But there is no time to waste.

“It’s going to be hard, with only two to three practices before the game,” Granese said. “So that’s our focus.”

Following the U.S. Open Cup game, Ocean City will open up league play on May 19 at home against Evergreen FC.