Coach’s Corner: Soccer

All coaches are volunteers, typically moms or dads (but not necessarily restricted to parents), who have a desire to provide a fun, instructional opportunity for kids as they learn to enjoy playing soccer. Coaches have a variety of backgrounds and skill levels, but the most important attribute is being able to share the East Side Sports’ philosophy that emphasizes sportsmanship, teamwork and learning to enjoy the game. Coaches should possess the desire (and some ability) to work with kids. Soccer knowledge is important, but secondary to the above, and can be gained while enjoying the experience throughout the season.

For the K – 5 programs (Divisions 1, 2 & 3), two “official” coaches are assigned to each team and they work together to provide an optimal experience for their players. Other parents of players are encouraged to help out and assume various support or substitute roles for the two assigned coaches. For the novice coach, East Side Sports directors provide practice skills, instructional DVD’s, web links, and ideas for activities that will help practices to run smoothly while providing a range of instructional opportunities.

Coaching requires a time commitment but it can be shared with the other coach(es). Typically the “Head” coach assumes more organizational responsibility; however coaches are encouraged to divide up the various tasks in terms of their relative strengths. This structure provides wonderful opportunities to get to know your children’s friends and their families.

The “Head” coach receives a full discount off the player’s fee and the “Assistant” coach receives a 50% discount off the fee of the children that they coach. Individuals should request to be a coach during the registration process, and then they will be selected by the Director of East Side Sports before they become “official”. While only two coaches on each team receive the discount, there can be as many “other coaches” as are interested and/or available. Moms and Dads who wish to help should work this out with the Head coach, and can be referred to as “coach” by the other coaches and kids as part of the team-building culture. Registration discount reimbursements will be refunded to the two official coaches once the rosters are established.

Parent volunteers are especially needed for the Clinic, the program for 3- and 4-year olds. Due to the age of the children, parents are requested to stay with the child’s groups for the entire 45 minute period. Some parents are able to help on a consistent basis, while others help “as needed”. Particularly in the beginning, many hands are extremely helpful. Given the fluid nature of parent involvement, fee waivers are not granted for the Clinic, but parent participation is necessary and greatly appreciated.

During ESS games, coaches from opposing teams are expected to cooperate optimally with each other and the officials and, thus, model sportsmanship at all times. Coaches should require similar behavior and attitudes from their players and players’ parents as well. Particularly in Division I (Kindergarten and 1st graders), the score is NOT kept but consistent substitution is required, thus coaches should work together to keep things fun for players on both teams. For the past three decades the coaches who have worked with us at East Side Sports have indicated that this opportunity to coach their kids and their kids’ friends–and make new friends–is one of the best family experiences that they have with their children!