Open tryouts have been part of the fabric of Arena Football for many years and when you’re an expansion team like the New York Streets, you leave no stone unturned in finding talent to help you build your roster. As they get ready for their inaugural season in the National Arena League, the Streets held their first ever open tryout this past Sunday at PACPLEX in Brooklyn, the team’s official practice facility.
It’s been eleven years since a New York team has been preparing for a season so the tryouts drew a large gathering of players as well as curious fans of the new team.
“The turnout was amazing,” said Devale Ellis, the Streets’ Director of Player Personnel. “We saw some really good talent and were able to put on a show for fans that stopped by to see what the organization is all about.”
Approximately 70 players were on hand for the tryout and some of the athletes drove from great distances including as much as nine hours away to get their shot at an invite to training camp and potentially a roster spot with the Streets. Many Arena Football teams have found players and in some cases those diamonds in the rough from open tryouts so this was certainly an important day for the organization.
“I think it was a great turn out,” said Streets owner Corey Galloway. “It exceeded our expectations.”
As Galloway watched from field level as well as from a private glass enclosed area overlooking the field, it was another benchmark moment for him as the owner. Since the team was officially launched at a press conference back on December 18th, the open tryout was the first public event for the franchise and it was also the unveiling of a very important renovation to PACPLEX which Galloway also owns.
Part of the ongoing renovations was the conversion of a Sandy Superstorm ravaged hockey rink into an Arena Football practice facility and the field was laid down just in time for the open tryouts.
“The field was amazing to see put in place,” said Galloway. “We removed an entire hockey rink and put that field in, which was from the (now defunct) Tampa Bay Storm.”
There was one important renovation done to the actual field as a NY Streets logo was placed over the old Tampa Bay Storm logo at midfield.
On the field Sunday, there was a ton of local talent that went through drills in front of the Streets coaches, quarterback David Legree and the football operations staff. While the players were showing what they could do on the field, whether it was throwing, running, catching or snapping the ball or those lineman, linebackers or defensive back hopefuls, they were also being evaluated by Sport Testing, a company run by Kahmal Roy and owned by Marques Colston, both former teammates of Ellis at Hofstra.
“It was a great turnout of local talent,” said Head Coach Rick Marsilio. “Our coaches and player personnel staff had the unique opportunity to evaluate on field talent, as well as review the Sport Testing results. Several players were identified showing the potential to play at the high level needed to make the team.”
There was a lot of quality talent on the field Sunday but by the end of the day, the number of candidates that would be offered a chance to go to training camp had been trimmed. Some Arena Football teams have been fortunate to find a player worthy of that training camp invite and some teams may have been able to identify multiple players that could compete for a roster spot.
For the Streets, Sunday’s tryout was a success because there were some players that attended that fits what the Streets are looking for in a football player.
“We found a couple guys that will get an opportunity to compete for a job in camp,” said Ellis, a Brooklyn native who played briefly in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. “We are always looking for the type of guy that not only gives us a chance to win, but also exemplifies the type of young man we can be proud of off the field. A hard working blue collar athlete that will impact the locker room in a positive way.”
There’s still a lot of work to do in putting together the roster that will go to training camp but the organization has hit the ground running when it comes to acquiring talent. With a handful of players already signed along with a couple of finds at the open tryouts, the Streets are on their way towards putting a competitive and potentially championship caliber team on the field this spring at the Westchester County Center.