How to Become a Coach

Updated: 12/19/2011

By having arrived at this page you have indicated some interest in working with young people and their parents in the youth sport environment. This can be more of a challenge in time and energy than many people realize. This page was created to offer practical help not only on how to become a coach, but also in how to make the experience enjoyable.

A good starting point is being clear on how you perceive your role. It helps to consider yourself a coach who happens to have other skills as opposed to a professional in another career who happens to coach. This is an especially important distinction for the former or current player. Playing background is an extremely important asset to a coach allowing them to demonstrate and serve as a role model. However that playing background should not define the coach. Many great former players make for poor coaches because they cannot switch to the role of the educator rather than the pupil.

It is also helpful to determine what your coaching goals are and reconcile those with the goals of the children and the parents. A win at all costs mentality compromises the spirit of equal playing time, just as the desire of one parent to have their child play one position compromises the development of the players in different roles. In MYSA and the United States Soccer Federation retention of players in the game is as important as developing the next superstar. When coaches conduct tryouts they need to be just as clear as to what happens to those not selected as they are to those who are selected.

Experience tells us clearly that certain types of coaches do better with certain types of teams, ages, gender, competitive level etc. In the act of “becoming a coach” it is very helpful to determine what players you will get the best from and will bring out the best in you.

Youth soccer in America is more sophisticated than in most other countries. Coaches need to be aware of the “community” of youth soccer and try to attend to all “constituents” within that community. Coaching requires attention to the team and individual player, the administrators who run clubs and leagues, referees who are essential to the games being played and the parents whose time, effort and money is the support to every player. A coach also needs to be a manager of the entire environment the children play in and needs to attend positively to everyone involved.

Please bear in mind the information above while you look at the information below that gives the practical ideas on getting involved. If you are one of the many people each year looking to coach youth soccer within MYSA, here are some helpful hints on how to get connected and involved.

There are two pages on the MYSA website you need to check out. First the MYSA Affiliate Club list. This lists all of MYSA's clubs and the appropriate contact person in each. A good way to begin the search is by geographical proximity to where you live. The second page to go to is the Coaches Exchange list. This page is basically where clubs advertise for coaches and vice versa.

You should be aware that MYSA does not require a coach to have a coaching license or certificate. A coach must, however, complete a national background check through their affiliate club for the purposes of risk management. Individual clubs, however, very often do require coaches to gain a license or certification. Please refer to the Coaching License page for a description and Coaching Courses page for the schedule of courses.

Many clubs pay or reimburse coaches for their time. Many clubs will sponsor a coach's licensing or certification. The majority of clubs rely on volunteers.

When seeking to coach you are encouraged to determine the age, gender and level of team you feel most suited to. MYSA is committed to helping clubs secure and develop coaches and your involvement can make a huge difference.