Understanding Club Soccer Coaches: The Background

Soccer coaching is different. Very different than the group of dads that played American football for 10 years now coaching your son. Youth soccer in an effort to bring quality to the game and better players institutes a licensing system for it’s coaches. And while there are 2 major US based licensing groups, the one supported mostly organizes the licenses in “levels”. E license is a relatively simple class and test, while A license is found in very senior coaches…most with international, national, and/or college experience. Each license costs money. An A license is pretty expensive and the process is pretty darn intense. A’s are not given to anyone with a check nor for that matter B’s, C’s. Some clubs pay for this education for their coaches, others don’t.

Grand idea. Ensuring each coach has some “base” level of knowledge before entrusting your kid’s development (that word will occur over and over) in the game. Many of these folks at the club level have varying licensure. And while important, it doesn’t always mean everything. There are many phenomenal C licensed coaches that have the experience to probably get to an A, but aren’t coaching at a level where it really is a necessity. Nice to have, sure, and should they always look to further their education..yep…but do you? Most of you don’t have your double doctorate in your profession, does that mean that a kid with less experience who has it would do your job better? Not necessarily.

Soccer coaches at the club level are PAID. PAID. Foreign concept to many of you, but some club coaches can make upward of $8,000 per season and coach more than one team. As a part time job (laughing because there is nothing part time about coaching 2 year-round soccer teams) they can pull down $16k/year per team or even more. That’s qualifies as real dough, but as much as it sounds like for the hours they put in training your kid…most coaches barely make the equivalent of minimum wage. Take the image of the guy with the beer can coaching third base out of your head and replace it with a Nike clad, embroidered logo elite training gear looking like they are leading a small college program, which you are now a part of.

Coaches can be young, college grad students with college level playing experience, to head high school and college coaches. Remember, they benefit from a good club system more than anyone. They are motivated…hopefully…to develop (that word again) your kid in the game, not to win at all cost. Competitive…sure, push the kids…you bet, teach them…of course, but do whatever it takes to win…no. And this is where the parents vs. coaches’ game begins, which lies at the heart of many sour experiences in youth soccer. Back to you soon with more on that…

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