Vandenberg Hosts the 2023 Department of the Air Force Men’s Soccer Team Trials

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kadielle Shaw
  • Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs

The U.S. Air and Space Force strives to keep its members fit, mentally and physically. To do so, the forces created their own sports teams, one of the most popular being soccer. From March 21 to April 3, 2023, the Department of the Air Force Men’s Soccer Team hosted its annual tryouts at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. The tryouts consisted of 28 men from the Air and Space Force who were hand selected from a large pool of applications to compete for one of the 18 available spots on the team.


During their week-long tryouts, athletes undergo strenuous drills and scrimmages to hone their skills. Coaches watch and judge, as they make cuts throughout the week to accommodate for the available spots on team. The team’s head coach, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeremiah Kirschman, 92nd Mission Support Group deputy commander at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., explained the process of selecting the team.


“This year, we received approximately 170 applications, but I can only invite 25 players out here, and whatever walk-ons from Vandenberg that show up,” said Kirschman. “I also do a lot of recruiting from San Antonio, Texas, and other states as well. As for the application process, applicants upload a soccer resume with references, and we reach out to those to get a true understanding of what level of skill they’re at.”


Once the candidates are selected, the tryouts begin. Their daily routine begins with breakfast at 6 a.m., then, following a short intermission, they complete a two-hour training session. After lunch, they participate in a classroom session to understand the mental side of the game, including strategies, tactics, and emotional resiliency. Following dinner, they do another two-hour training session. This routine continues for the almost two weeks of tryouts. As the weeks go on, participants get cut based off their skill level, until they are down to the top 18 contenders.


“The soccer season is definitely not a walk in the park for any of them,” Kirschman said. “A lot of them will tell you that this is the most strenuous three weeks of soccer that they have ever played.”


After the arduous tryouts are complete, the team heads off to compete in the Armed Forces Men’s National Soccer Tournament at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base in Oceanside, Calif., from April 4-12 against the U.S. Navy, Army, and Marine Corps.


If you or someone you know are interested in trying to become a part of this team next year, stay up to date with the team’s schedule and application window at