Anaheim Bolts Wrap up First Week of Preseason
SANTA ANA, Calif. - Less than three weeks from their big PASL home opener at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, the Anaheim Bolts concluded the first week of their official preseason training camp today in nearby Santa Ana . The Bolts take on expansion side Sacramento Surge on November 2nd, and the Orange County sports community is abuzz with excitement as professional indoor soccer returns for its sophomore season in the city of Anaheim .
"We're in the middle of an extremely difficult process," said the team's Managing Partner and Head Coach Bernie Lilavois. "Between the different tryouts we've had and the players who were invited separately to join our preseason training camp, we've looked at hundreds of guys in the past few months, and the task at hand is to select the 20 or so who will have the honor of wearing the Bolts logo in 2012-13.
"We unofficially opened our training camp last week with over 70 players and almost 50 survived for the opening of our official camp this past Monday. Since then, we've been trimming the numbers down everyday, which is tough because all 50 can play at the professional level. We're ecstatic about the talent pool this year."
The Bolts' final open tryouts on September 29th attracted a great number of players from North America, Europe and Asia . One of about 70 hopefuls showcasing their skills at the side's training grounds in Santa Ana was Japanese attacker Taka Ogura, a 26-year-old who works as an actor and model in Bangkok, Thailand, and who recently drew interest from one of the country's first division outdoor teams.
While Ogura was unable to earn an invitation to the Bolts' training camp, his background made him the example par excellence of the events' international flair. Before his most recent move to Thailand, he lived in his native Japan as well as in New Zealand, Irland, Italy and Spain.
"I would have loved to play soccer in Anaheim," the midfielder-forward offered. "Unfortunately I was experiencing a bit of jetlag during the open tryouts, and the fact that I had never played indoor soccer was another reason I wasn't able to win over the coaches.
"For starters I couldn't wear my familiar footwear with studs, and then you have very little time on the ball and have to be moving constantly because there are so few players on the field. That's all very different from the outdoor game. I'm not too disappointed though. It was an amazing experience and it's great to see there is high-level soccer all over the world."
While Ogura narrowly missed out on joining the Bolts' training camp, Bernie Lilavois and his staff identified a number of players they felt worthy of a second look.
"Not only did we see a great turnout, we also saw some outstanding quality," the Bolts' Head Coach said. "We invited about 25 players back for the unofficial first week of our training camp, and I think there's a good chance three of four of those will make the squad this year.
"It was great to see that we were able to attract a lot of very skillful guys from the U.S. and abroad. The international flavor is definitely something we cherished, and we're happy to have found a few diamonds in the rough."
Over the course of the coming three weeks, Lilavois' job will be to determine which open tryouts survivers, invited trialists and players from last season's team have what it takes to challenge defending champions San Diego Sockers for the PASL crown in 2012-13. The chosen few will look to take their first hurdle in the Bolts' big November 2nd season opener against Sacramento .
Tickets for the 7 p.m. PT clash start at $12 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena box office. Parking is free. For more information, please call the Bolts' front office at 714-321-9898 or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena at 714-765-8980.
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