Jack Reynolds says he just missed out on a chance to play in the second tier of England's professional soccer pyramid and decided to give the United States’ version a try.
Reynolds, a member of Pine Creek’s 2013 state championship team, will be among those hoping to earn a contract from Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, a member of the United Soccer League Championship, at open tryouts this weekend.
The 22-year-old midfielder recently returned to Colorado after trying his hand in England and Spain. He most notably trialed with Hull City, which plays in the Championship, a tier below the English Premier League. He felt like he did enough over a two-week stint to earn a contract.
“I really did,” Reynolds said, taking a break from his tryout preparations Wednesday at Pride Soccer Complex. “Honestly.”
When that didn’t work out, Reynolds moved to Spain and fell in love with the country’s style of play and dedication to technical ability while playing with lower-league sides.
“They almost never do fitness without a ball. It’s always in tight areas and it’s all about skill and technique,” Reynolds said. “And listening to the (Switchbacks) coach and what he did with Cincinnati and stuff, I think I might have a good shot.”
Reynolds described himself as a technical player capable of playing an attacking or box-to-box role in the midfield. First-year Switchbacks coach Alan Koch said the tryouts are filled with players boasting professional and college experience and others he’s not at all familiar with. The club plans to invite at least one of this weekend’s top performers to train with the squad as it prepares for the 2020 season.
“This weekend, we’re going in with open minds and open hearts,” Koch said.
After playing with the Pride Soccer Club, teaming with current Switchbacks player Austin Dewing, for most of his youth, Reynolds played in a development academy as a senior and went to Northeastern University on a soccer scholarship. It didn't last long. The coach that recruited him was fired and Reynolds decided it was best for his development to leave after his freshman season and chase his professional dream. Using his English passport, obtained through his mother’s nationality, he went abroad for a couple of years.
“I tried it out … didn’t work as well as I’d hope, but I had some good experiences,” he said.
Reynolds has trained with the Switchbacks when he was home for the summer but had always planned on returning to Europe. Now, he’s stateside and hopes to stay awhile. He’s helping coach a Pride team and is planning a coaching career when his playing days dry up.
“In Spain, there ain’t no club hiring an American kid as a coach,” Reynolds said.
He ran into issues as an American player as well. He said in Spain he was passed over for kids who played for academies with senior teams in La Liga, another one of the top leagues in the world. It happened in Hull, too.
“I came well-recommended, and I was there for two weeks, and then you get to the end of the transfer window and they sign a kid from Liverpool instead and it’s like, well, yeah,” Reynolds said.
“I played for Pride; he played for Liverpool as a kid.”
He'll find out if Switchbacks FC is a better fit this weekend.
Daniels impressing early
Though the team is still waiting for a few players to report to preseason, Aidan Daniels is wasting little time making an impression.
First-year coach Alan Koch sees the Canadian as a playmaker at attacking midfielder.
“The more we can get him on the ball, the better he’s going to do for us,” Koch said.
Daniels was previously on a homegrown contract with Toronto FC and spent the 2019 season on loan to Ottawa Fury of the USL Championship.