ALBANY EMPIRE BEGIN BUILDING THE TEAM AT OPEN PLAYER TRYOUTS
ALBANY - As we gear up for the return of Arena Football to the Capital District, The Albany Empire hosted open player tryouts seeking the best undiscovered talents to join the team for the 2018 season, coming on April 14.
Players from all over packed into the Halfmoon Sportsplex in Clifton Park for an early Saturday morning tryout for the team. Approximately 250 hopeful players showed up for the tryouts participating in drills such as the 40-yard dash, shuttle run and position specific exercises. All positions (Quarterback, Fullback, Wide Receiver, Offensive/Defensive Line, Linebacker, Defensive Back and Kicker) were evaluated.
"Our goal today was to find the best athletes possible," said Head Coach Rob Keefe. It was a great day. We had guys travel from all over the country to come out here and compete. I was really excited to see that."
Keefe himself is a product of the open tryout system. He made his debut in Arena Football with the Columbus Destroyers after making the cut from open player tryouts. Keefe is a firm believer that there are hidden gems at every tryout and that there is a talent level here that can make the 24-man roster.
Players from as far as California and Oregon made the trip to Albany on Saturday for the Empire tryouts. "I just want an opportunity to play football and do what I love," said Linkoln Laroche, who traveled from Ohio to try out for the team.
Keefe also believes that there is a wide selection of talent right here in the Capital Region. "If we can win a championship in the Arena Football League, hoist that championship trophy and one of the players that is hoisting the trophy is from the Capital City Region, that's Icing on the cake," said Keefe. "We are trying to find the best players available, and if they are from this area, that's a double bonus for us."
The Empire Coaching Staff were carrying no expectations for players heading into tryouts, just looking for the top talent to put the Albany Empire in the best position to compete for an ArenaBowl Championship. Coaches will take some time to evaluate the players and as the league begins signing players, those who Coach thinks makes the cut will be given an AFL contract.
It was a long day for the players and coaching staff, but there was certainly a high level of talent that showed up to the Sportsplex. Players gave it everything they had and left it all on the turf leaving their fate in the hands of the Albany Empire Coaching staff.
"We're looking for that diamond in the rough," said Offensive Coordinator Chris Thompson. "That great talent that can be a part of our 24-man roster."
Even though tryouts are concluded, the journey to building the Albany Empire team is just beginning. As we approach the season opener, the team will begin signing players and putting together the best unit to put on the field on April 14th against the Philadelphia Soul. A mix of league free agents and a handful of players from tryouts will comprise the 2018 Albany Empire.
"I'm so proud of what happened here today," said Keefe. "It was a great first look for our new franchise. With the enthusiasm, the excitement and the energy that was brought today from everybody that was a part of it, how could you not be pleased? We truly have an environment to breed success."
Still don't have season tickets? Don't miss out on our inaugural season. Fans can secure season tickets for the The Albany Empire 2018 season for as low as $117 by calling 518-533-2200 or by going to TheAlbanyEmpire.com. A limited number of great seats are still available! Want to bring your organization to a game, fundraise, or perform on the field? Group experiences are now on sale. Call for additional information.