Sometimes, the best way to get signed onto a club is to get out there on the training field.
Here's where some familiar and not so familiar faces are on trial with preseason camps opening this month.
Midfielder Jimmy McLaughlin was invited to train with the club during the preseason. As the Cincinnati Enquirer's Pat Brennan wrote, he was the only remaining member of the club's USL era in the team's current MLS camp, after his option was declined following the 2019 season.
The Rapids have several trialists in their camp, with one name MLS fans will surely recognize. Former NYCFC midfielder Kwadwo Poku — who scored five goals in 34 matches — is in camp with the club after spending the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He is joined by two young Argentines, Andres Alarcon and Brian Lopez, from Argentinos Juniors and Racing Club respectively, a former draft pick (Jacob Hauser-Ramsey) and a former US youth international (Will Vint).
On Feb. 5, the club updated its preseason roster and announced Poku, Lopez, Hauser-Ramsey and Alarcon were released.
Columbus Crew SC
Former New York Red Bulls and FC Cincinnati winger Derrick Etienne Jr. has not only landed in camp with Columbus, but landed on the score sheet. He reportedly scored in the Crew's 5-1 win over the Ventura County Fusion to open the Crew's preseason slate on Jan. 24. On Feb. 4, the club announced they signed the "Haitian Messi."
Former Real Salt Lake and Vancouver Whitecaps defender Aaron Maund opened camp with the Black-and-Red after spending last year at Charlotte's USL side, per the Washington Post's Steven Goff. Goff later reported left back Duke Lacroix is also in camp.
Bradley Wright-Phillips started his attempt at an MLS comeback with LAFC when they started preseason on Jan. 13, and although he is no longer training, Bob Bradley did not exactly close the door on a potential move for the two-time Golden Boot winner.
Bradley on BWP and bringing him back: “He was here for a few days ... obviously he came off of a season where he was injured a lot, he looked fit and he’s a great guy. There’s still different discussions.” #LAFC— Delmy Barillas (@DelmyBarillas) January 25, 2020
Also auditioning were Australian attacker Sam Silvera and Mexican defender/midfielder Christian Diaz, though it's currently unclear what their status is. Uruguayan teenager Facundo Torres, a Peñarol youth player, is also reportedly getting a look from the reigning Supporters' Shield champs.
It appeared Haitian international and 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup standout Steeven Saba was close to finalizing a move to the Montreal Impact and new coach Thierry Henry. No official news yet, though. On Feb. 4, the club made that signing official.
New York City FC
The Cityzens had three trialists on their intial training camp roster, all pulled from the USL ranks. Goalkeeper Cody Mizell spent the 2019 season at New Mexico United, while defender D.J. Taylor and midfielder Andre Fortune were both at North Carolina FC.
New York Red Bulls
After releasing their preseason roster, the Red Bulls announced that they invited 22-year-old English goalkeeper Max Bramley as a trialist. He is a graduate of the Leicester City academy. However Bramley departed camp after a week.
Told trialist goalkeeper Max Bramley has departed #RBNY camp— Dylan Butler (@Dylan_Butler) January 26, 2020
Alex Roldan opened camp with the Sounders aiming to earn another contract after having his previous option declined. Also there was longtime former Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillion Serna and Austrian goalkeeper Philipp Marceta.
The 'Caps opened the season with plenty of roster building to do, one reason they may have invited four trialists to camp. Center back Amer Didic and midfielder Aboubacar Sissoko last played in the Canadian Premier League, midfielder Rodrigo da Costa in the USL Championship, and Cole Dasilva at Brentford's reserves in England.