How do I complete the requirements to be eligible to coach?

What if I have never played or coached before?

If you have never played before, you can still easily coach at the U5-U8 levels. The emphasis on those younger ages are (1) having fun and (2) learning ball control. Ball control is learned through teaching very basic techniques about how to use your feet, and then lots and lots of practice touching the ball as much as possible. Generally, this practice comes from playing small-sided games (3v3, etc.) or playing mini-games

As the children’s age increases, it becomes a little bit more difficult to coach because there’s a lot more to know. If you haven’t played before, you will need to do some research. You should take the US Soccer Learning Center’s grassroots free introduction coaching courses, which explain the methodology of how to run practices. Pair that with guidance from the technical skills and you’ll be well on your way.  

When possible, we’ll try to pair new coaches of older age brackets with more experienced mentors or assign the new coach as an assistant coach. Having 2 coaches at the U10+ stages makes a big difference! If we don’t do this for you, but you’re interested, please make sure to ask.

How much of a time commitment is coaching?

There are 4 activities that coaches must do which take time:

  1. Plan for practice
  2. Hold practice
  3. Games
  4. Communicate with parents and the club

There are other activities that great coaches do, such as self-reflection, mentoring, and research. However, strictly speaking, that’s not necessary. 

Concerning practice, coaching at the U5 and U6 levels generally involve 1 practice a week and 1 game.  At higher levels, there may be 1-2 practices a week and 1 game. Practices take a little bit of preparation time to create your practice plans. Other coaches may be willing to share their practice plans with you as well.

In addition, you generally have to arrive early to setup the cones and goals for practices. If you can get parent help with equipment setup and teardown, it’s a big help!

Apart from that, the amount of time you put into it is up to you. Some coaches live and breath soccer; some are able to compartmentalize it to just planning for practice, practice, and games.  

What am I expected to do as a coach?

As the coach, you have a number of responsibilities:

  1. Work with the field scheduler for your practice time and field
  2. Plan for practice, hold practices, and coach games
  3. Communicate with parents concerning the plan and expectations for practices, games, and other activities
  4. Distribute information, trophies, and picture packets on behalf of the club to the parents 
  5. Pick up gear and jerseys from the club
  6. Pass out pictures and trophies. This could be at an end of year team party.
  7. Communicate with the club 

If you have parents who are willing to help out, you can delegate a number of these responsibilities to the parents to handle on behalf of the team. Sometimes you will have parents who will help, sometimes not. In all cases, the coach should proactively try to engage the parents. 

What equipment do I need? Do I have to provide it?

There are a number of pieces of equipment that are essential to coach:

  1. Balls – each player should have a size appropriate ball to practice with. The league has spare balls if a player is not able to provide one.
  2. Cones – the league can provide some cones. Cones become your boundaries in small-sided and mini-games, and if you don’t have goals, the goals.

The rest of the equipment is not required and is not supplied by the club. However, as the coach, you should also have:

  • An air pump
  • Spare needles

It is helpful to have, but it is not essentially necessary to have:

  • Soccer pinnies (the colored jerseys you slip over your shirt)
  • Small goals for small-sided games. The practice fields may or may not have goals. 
  • A whistle

For older teams, it’s good if your goal keeper has gloves, but the coach doesn’t necessarily need to provide that.