Local premier soccer club Empire United and the Buffalo Blizzard have joined forces to present the annual Exceptional Seniors soccer game, shining a spotlight on the talent among soon-to-be Western New York high school graduates who aim to play in college.
This year's match begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 8 at Sahlen's Sports Park (7070 Seneca St., Elma), and we've received the game's roster. A record 80 players tried out over a two-day span, and the crop was narrowed to 50 for this weekend's showcase match. The general public is invited to attend, as well.
Although we're not experts on local high school soccer -- we leave those duties to the hard-working Prep Talk bloggers -- this match is important to Buffalo's soccer development because it links Western New York's top talent with local and regional college coaches.
While collegiate assistants and others may have already scouted some of these high school players during the fall scholastic season or for their summer clubs, the chance to identify and evaluate potential recruits against elite competition is valuable.
The Buffalo Blizzard's streaming presence, Blizz TV, captured nearly 90 minutes of Friday's tryout at Sahlen's Sports Park.
Looking at the rosters, gifted players will congregate at Sahlen's from all over Western New York, including city schools like Tapestry Charter and Hutch Tech to rural schools like Salamanca, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Falconer, Newfane and Silver Creek.
Remember, due to their school's playoff runs, seniors from Williamsville North, Grand Island, East Aurora, Allegany-Limestone, Ellicottville, Canisius and Christian Central were not available for the tryouts.
Email Ben Tsujimoto at firstname.lastname@example.org