With the team’s second USL W League season right around the corner, Minnesota Aurora FC hosted their 2023 team tryouts on December 16th at the National Sports Center and January 8th at TCO Sports Garden Fieldhouse. The coaches evaluated over 100 players total, with a majority of them being from Minnesota.
With the success of last year, Head Coach Nicole Lukic looks to build her team with over a 50% return rate from last season. “We don’t want to give out too many details, but we’re excited for the group to get back together and meet their new teammates. New year, new team,” said Lukic.
When asked about next year’s available spots Lukic was optimistic about what she’s been seeing. “Last year we felt we were missing players who took opponents on 1v1 as their number one skill set, and we are seeing that. There is more talent to sort through to find the right match to our culture. There are a lot of players who could fit, but we’re being very cautious of finding the right fit.”
One position that will definitely need to be filled is goalkeeper, as Aurora Captain Sarah Fuller announced her retirement from soccer last week. Lukic added “I am grateful that Sarah saw the vision of the team before sellout crowds and the championship game. She’s a trailblazer for womens’ sports and helped put us on the map.” That being said, the coaching staff is still looking to keep their goalie group as full as last season and bring in more leadership. “We’ll be looking to add a goalkeeper due to Sarah’s departure and are focused on players with a professional mindset to elevate the leadership on the field. We’re bringing in an outside attacking player and an attacking dribbler we’re excited about.”
Players Aurora found via tryouts last season include Olivia Graupmann (GK), Taylor Kane (GK), Mariah Nguyen (M), Lydia Ruppert (M), Kristelle Yewah (F), and Abby Ostrem (D). This year’s tryouts have sold out both sessions at 60 players each. “The intensity of tryouts is higher and the skill level has increased. We have all levels of college divisions showing up. We have local youth players coming to try out, and it’s great to see that they can see themselves playing for us,” said Lukic.
Minnesota Aurora FC is set to return for their second season in the USL W League this spring. The 2023 season schedule is set to come early February. You can learn more about the club at mnaurora.com