Soccer coaches come from all walks of life. Many are former players who love the game and want to continue to stay involved after their player career is over. Everyone has a story. What if you discover early that you want to coach soccer?
Soccer organizations vary concerning age of coaching, but generally, a head soccer coach must be 18 years old. If you are younger, you can still be involved in soccer coaching. There are many ways to get started such as volunteering at soccer camps, ask coaches to be an assistant, and take coaching courses.
Being a youth soccer coach is a large responsibility. Recreational programs around the country are desperate for qualified, professional, and engaging coaches. There are many things that you can do to help your local teams take their game to the next level regardless of your age. Keep reading to learn ways to get involved as early as the next season.
I Want to be a Coach. What Are Next Steps?
If you have decided that you want to become a soccer coach, you will need to do a bit of preparation and work in order to work your way up the ladder. There is no replacement for time on the field. The best coaches are those that spend thousands of hours on the pitch, coaching players and understanding the different situations a soccer team may encounter. Here are a few ways to get started if you are young and hungry.
- Take the online Grassroots coaching course by US Soccer.
- Go to youth soccer games. Speak to coaching director. Ask if you can help with any team.
- Connect with soccer camp directors. Volunteer to help with camps. Speak with parents and camp director about coaching opportunities for the upcoming season.
- Enroll in live coaching courses. Network with other coaches in your area. Ask about coaching opportunities.
- Google soccer coaches in your area. In today’s online world, certain coaches have an online presence. Reach out and offer assistance.
- Listen to podcasts of other top coaches around the world. There are many. Pick a few to listen and reach out to them.
- Join local Facebook groups and offer assistance to coaches in the area.
- If you played in the past, receive references from previous coaches to deliver to new coaches. This will help give your credibility.
When starting out, you must take every avenue to becoming involved in coaching. As a player experiences with practice, you only get what you put into your search. The first job is always the hardest. Once you break into the industry and make a name for yourself, the amount of opportunities will waterfall.
In most industries, you have to pay your dues before you get to the top. Coaching in soccer is no different. Put in the time. Immerse yourself in the world of soccer, and you will be the head coach on the sidelines in no time!
Do I Need Any Education To Get Started?
The short answer is it depends on the level of coaching you desire to work.
In recreational soccer, youth leagues require little to no certifications or educational requirements to get started. If you are young, this is your best option to get started. Most coaches start at lower levels and work their way up. Starting out, the most important activity is coaching players. Nothing replaces real experience.
At the competitive youth club level, you will need to earn a license. License requirements differ by state and by league. Check with league coordinators or coaches. In most cases, you will be required to complete the US Grassroots online and in-person coaching course. This is very affordable and doable coaching course. You must complete a minimum of three grassroots courses, two in-person and one online, before you qualify to take the US Soccer “D” License.
For those interested in coaching high school or college, you will typically be required to have a “B” license issued by US Soccer. A “B” License is intended for coaches of players age 16 to college level. In order to get a “B” License, you must be a “C” License for at least a year and have at least three or more years of coaching experience.
In many cases, high school coaches are also teachers at the school that they coach, which means most high school coaches have their bachelor’s degree. If you are younger than 21, this will be difficult to obtain. Furthermore, the number of years required for coaching to qualify is several years.
However, this is a great goal towards. As an early starter, you are ahead of the curve to achieve your coaching dreams.
What Are The Challenges of Young Coaches?
Coaching youth soccer is rewarding, but there are several challenges. Certain players have medical conditions that a coach must understand and be willing to help in times of need. The largest responsibility of any coach is to make sure players stay safe. You must be comfortable with stressful situations. Parents trust coaches to keep their children safe at all times.
When you are young, parents will question your ability to handle such situations in a professional manner. Consider getting CPR certified and First Aid educated to calm any concerns about your ability to handle a stressful situation.
As a young coach, your age will be viewed as a liability compared to an older coach. Most parents view young as irresponsible. The more work you do upfront to show that you are serious will help your case to becoming a coach sooner than later. Just remember, safety is at the top of the parent’s and organization’s mind.
Parent management is another aspect of coaching soccer. Parents shout during games, argue with referees, and voice their opinions on how much playing time their child receives. If you let them, some unruly parents attempt to take over coaching responsibilities. As a younger coach, they will challenge your authority early on. Set strong boundaries upfront on what is acceptable behavior. Make sure to reinforce these boundaries throughout the season. Remember the development of the player is your main goal.
Kids lose focus, ask redundant questions, and test authority. There will times when a player or team is distracted. If you are not confident in what you are saying, the players won’t respect you. Other players witness this behavior and it will make it more difficult for you to coach the team. Set boundaries about appropriate behavior. Discipline players that don’t follow the rules. Make them sit out for several minutes to regroup. Once the parents and the parents recognize you as a young leader, your job will be easier. You will have to earn that right before you can claim it.
Being a young coach has a fair number of challenges. But with the right work ethic, attitude, and education, you can set yourself up for a rewarding career in coaching youth soccer.
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