When it comes to mainstays within the club, Jake Rosen is certainly a man that fits this billing. The outside back has played a role in every NPSL season with the club. AFC Ann Arbor are pleased to announce Rosen’s return to the club next season, but it comes with a caveat. His return will come not at the immediate start of the season, however, as Rosen has been given the exciting opportunity to play as a trialist overseas in hopes of signing a contract in Europe. Eric Rudland confirmed to AFCAA, “We are hopeful that he locks in a deal overseas, but either way it is likely that he will come back to AFC to see the second 1/2 of the season through with us.”
Rosen himself gave some extra details on what exactly his trial entails. “I will be training with a fifth-division team called Sora Calcio for three months with [an] agent that will be providing options and other trials,” Rosen explained. He hopes that he will “continue to do well over those three months of training there” while in Italy. Not merely an outstanding experience in terms of furthering his career, but the cultural aspect is sure to be a positive all-around for the AFCAA-experienced player.
The concept of a ‘trial’ may be slightly confusing to those unfamiliar to the sport. A trial is not too far off from what one in American sports would consider a tryout. On a trial, a player trains and plays with a certain team for a set amount of time in hopes of impressing them, or any other team that may see them play, in hopes of obtaining a professional contract. While this same concept exists in the American world of soccer, it is far more commonly talked about in the overseas game. The opportunity is one not extended to any player, and it is a testament to Rosen’s ability as a whole.
While a recent development for Rosen, the process of impressing scouts overseas is nothing new. He described the process of obtaining this opportunity saying, “A scout saw my highlight video I made after playing for Schoolcraft, so I had been talking to him for a few years.” Since playing for Schoolcraft, Rosen has been able to add to further highlight reels with impressive moments at Saginaw Valley State as well as with The Mighty Oak. Last season saw him deliver a picture-perfect ball for Moco Watson’s head to meet and find the back of the net in a Mother’s Day battle with Detroit City, a moment Rosen described as his favorite of last season. He also finished with a sweetly hit goal in the home rout against FC Indiana in the final NPSL regular season game of the year. With key moments in the first home league game and final one, it shows just what sort of work ethic and how important Rosen was all throughout the season.
When it comes to what he would like out of the experience, Rosen has established goals in his mind. He said, “All I want to do is learn as much as possible as a player. I’ve learned so much playing with different players over the years, as well as coaches, so I’m seeking more growth.” He continued, saying, “Every coach has different tactics to how they want the game played [to] certain standard[s]. I want to continue to make myself more versatile and overall become a better player.” It is clear when speaking to Rosen that he very clearly has an idea for how his overseas trip will go, and what exactly he aims to do while in Italy.
Rosen looks back upon his past three years with the club with great fondness. When it comes to a favorite memory over his entire career, Rosen has two, as he said, “My fondest memories of playing at AFC would be my first season there playing against DCFC away. That was the first time I had been in a true professional atmosphere for a game. Second would be the second season against Grand Rapids at home when I hit the cross bar from forty [yards] out, maybe, and Yuri [Farkas] headed it in just to get called offside.” While surely a fourth season would bring many of the same exciting moments, if Rosen is able to stick around in Europe on a professional contract, it would be an exciting moment for both player and club as a whole.
As imagined, all in the AFCAA Family are excited, perhaps none more so than Rudland himself. He credit Rosen, saying, “Jake is a local player who has been 100% committed during his 3 years with us. This is a kid who has battled through injury and other hardships during his career and he has always found a way to come out on top.” He also added that for The Mighty Oak as a whole, he hopes this could expand the network and open up a new pathway for AFCAA players in the future.
To aid in Rosen’s quest overseas, he has a GoFundMe in which members of the AFCAA Family can assist in any sort of living expenses while away in Italy over the course of his ten weeks across the Atlantic Ocean.
Click here to contribute to Jake Rosen’s trial fund.