As levels of competition increase, tryouts in sports become more and more common. When young athletes are just starting out in Little League or other youth leagues, everybody plays on a team. At that level, it's all about learning the game and understanding sportsmanship.
As players get into college and beyond though, they earn their spots on teams. Even the most famous teams in the world hold tryouts. Just look at the United States soccer team that is preparing for the 2010 World Cup.
Team USA: America's national team is holding tryouts next month in Los Angeles. Players from around the country are invited to training camp, with a chance to turn some heads and earn a spot on the big team. Some of these players have been there before; others will be trying out for the first time. The most important thing for these athletes to remember is that they have to try their absolute hardest in order to make the most of this exciting opportunity.
Beasley: DaMarcus Beasley is one of the most well-known players on Team USA. But he wasn't always considered a superstar. In 2002, Beasley earned a spot on the World Cup team by performing well at a January camp. Since then he has been a star for Team USA and will be playing in his third World Cup this summer.
First Chance: For many young players, the January camp represents their first shot at the big time. Their goal isn't necessarily to make the roster for this year's World Cup team -it's to get noticed and put themselves in a position to play on Team USA in the future. They know there may not be a spot for them on the team this year, but they can put themselves in consideration for when a spot does open up.
Last Chance: For older players, the tryout represents what could be their last chance at playing on Team USA. Jeff Cunningham is a 33-year-old striker who played very well for FC Dallas in Major League Soccer this season. He knows that he doesn't have a long career ahead of him and has to make the most of this opportunity while he can. If Cunningham proves himself in camp, he has a good chance of playing in the 2010 World Cup.
All kinds of players will be coming to camp, all hoping for a spot on Team USA. Some are young players looking to make a name for themselves; others are older players hoping to take advantage of a final opportunity. What they all have in common is a love for the game and a desire to play for Team USA.
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