Galaxy to hold open player tryouts this weekend

Forward Bowen provides hopefuls with inspiration and purpose

Tristan Bowen in practice

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The Los Angeles Galaxy will hold open player tryouts on Saturday and
Sunday at The Home Depot Center. It will be an exercise in futility for
the majority of the several hundred athletes who are expected to take
part, but for those who merit serious consideration from team coaches
and officials they need to look no farther than the Galaxy's Tristan
Bowen for inspiration.

The 20-year-old forward was discovered in early 2007 at one of these
tryouts and came up through the team's youth academy before officially
signing with the parent club in November of 2008. Bowen said he still
thinks back on that time of his life and savors his good fortune.

"I think about it quite a bit, especially when someone might come up to
me and say, 'Hey, you're the guy that made it through the tryouts,'" he
said. "One minute you're training like any other kid at the park, and
the next moment you're a professional athlete.''

Galaxy assistant coach and director of player development Trevor James
said Bowen easily belonged among the better players when the tryouts
began.

"Once they started having the small-sided games he really stood out,"
James recalled. "He certainly did impress."

There was just one problem: Bowen was under age. He was 16 at the time
and the minimum age requirement for the tryouts was 18. But thanks to
fake identification supplied by his uncle, Hugh Carter, Bowen
successfully went through the screening process and managed to stick
around.

"I still have the ID in my room," he said with a grin. "I think I had
long hair in the picture and I still had braces. I don't know how it
went through, but it was one of the worst IDs I've ever seen."

Bowen surprisingly said he wasn't nervous at the tryout because he had
been working out for several teams. He also had been playing soccer in
Brazil between the ages of 14 and 16. He remembers being confident but
at the same time curious to see if he could perform under pressure.

Bowen recalled driving back to his Los Angeles home with his uncle
"chewing him out" for his poor showing when then-Galaxy general manager
Alexi Lalas called him to tell him they were interested in bringing him
into the organization. Bowen eventually joined the club's new youth Rios
program and now is entering his second season with the parent club.

Bowen had simple but sound advice for the participants in this weekend's
tryouts.

"Just go out and have fun," the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder said. "Show the
coaches what you can do and don't overdo it. That's the most important
thing ... keep it simple. And when the opportunity presents itself, show
your abilities."

Take it from one who knows -- and continues to count his blessings.

"It's surreal at times," he said. "You're coming out with the best of
the best, the guys you grew up watching on TV. At times I don't believe
it actually happened."

Larry Morgan is a contributor to MLSnet.com.