Nearly all youth and interscholastic soccer coaches should understand that they have duties such as: Teaching the players about role skills, every day life skills, self esteem skills, communicating effectively among teammates and learning ways to handle a lost game or tournament. It should come as no surprise at all that many soccer players look up to and admire their coaches and I hate to say it, sometimes even more than their parents.
I am a father, a goalkeeper academy director/coach, a prior goalkeeper. Today it seems that some soccer coaches care more about winning and could care less about the toes they step on, the parents they piss-off, the players the exhaust and the hearts they break. Now let me clarify right away one thing: There are still coaches that exhibit and display the total package but it appears to be a diminishing among youth club and high school soccer coaches.
Coaches must understand that they do have a major impact on the athlete positive and negative. They have to recognize that coaching is a complicated job and it is not for everyone. You can have all the licenses to back you up, but you can wipe your backside with them if you don’t have any “handling skills”. Dealing with unrealistic and pain-in-the-butt parents, dealing with troubled players, managing the game and your staff and preparing your soccer players… We must understand that anybody can coach but it takes a special person to be worthy of the title!!!
Let me give you an example, my son’s youth soccer club soccer coach a USSF D license holder, another 15,000 coaches in the US have obtained this license, but looking at him he’s an A license. His communication is truly amazing, he is a real leader, the team loves him, the parents adore him, the club is clinging onto him! Then I know A license coaches that are hated by their players, the parents can’t stand them and the club could care less about them.
Communication is not related to the license you hold or how many years you played as a professional
The relationship between soccer players and coaches goes far beyond the fields. A coach is someone that the kids respect, admire and strive to be like. I have had the privilege of having some truly great coaches in my life and that have impacted in some way my life.
During training, at the academy and game day is where they learn how to compete in life, it teaches them the necessity of teamwork, and the soccer field teaches them how discipline will reap a greater outcome than impulsivity can ever provide.
A coach can change a youth soccer players perception of hard work, of competition, and maybe most importantly, of themselves. Coaches encourage a young boy with serious potential; they offer a young girl with a desire to succeed; they teach all kids to see in themselves more than they see on their own, coaches give the students that push that they need.
In nearly three decades of telling the stories of successful goalkeepers, I never stop to encourage my students, even the ones that I know will never make it to the next level. Somewhere along the way, the young boy or girl who find ways to succeed have soccer coaches who believed in them.
Parents hope that on some soccer field or on some sideline a coach will see the potential in their child. They pray that a coach will reach out to their son or daughter and inspire them in ways that they as parents cannot. In my case it is different, parents come to me so that their children can develop their skills and head back to their coaches knowing more about the goalkeeper role and taking to the field something that their head coach can’t teach them.