Our volunteer coaches are the heart and soul of AYSO.
AYSO is proud to be a volunteer run organization. Of all of the hundreds of volunteers it takes to bring the game of soccer alive for the thousands of children that play in Region 58, our coaches are probably the most visible and have the greatest impact on the lives of the players.
Region 58 has over 200 teams. That means we need 200 volunteer coaches. As a coach you will motivate, congratulate, teach, encourage, drill, console, strategize, lead, and mentor a small group of children or young adults for 20 weeks. Even if you have no soccer experience, AYSO will help teach you the principles of the game and how to coach kids to have fun and learn soccer. You'll learn about the game, and like so many before you, you'll probably love it so much you'll be back to coach again next year.
The rewards come in the form of watching your kids have fun at a game or practice, watching their individual skills and teamwork improve, and seeing them grow as people. There is also a great sense of accomplishment when you reach the end of a season and look back and see how far your team has come. And for those of you who have "serious" day jobs, there is no better way to regain your perspective than to watch a bunch of 7-year-olds at practice develop a passion for a game they will remember for life.
We recognize that coaches have to put in a lot of work during the course of the season: up to 2 practices per week, plus a game on Saturday, plus preparation time for each practice, plus general administrative work. Over the course of a 16-week season, this can be well over 80 hours of work. While other volunteer positions require more or less time, coaching provides the greatest opportunity for you to have fun!
If you don't have time to be a head coach, then become an assistant coach! We need 200 assistant coaches. Skill and tactical coaching is more effective if players can be divided into smaller groups. Coaches may not be available at some practices or games. If there is no assistant coach, there will be no practices and no games when the coach is away. No experience or soccer skills are required – just be willing to come and have fun with the kids.
AYSO Is A Child Centered Program
The purpose of youth sports programs is to allow children to play, learn, and grow into good people. To that end, all youth sports programs should be child-centered. Far too often the drive to win takes away from the child's opportunity to be a child. In AYSO, we train our coaches that winning is not everything -- it's about the children and about the game. We want the children to have fun playing a game we love. We want them to develop great soccer skills, because it's a lot more fun to play a game you’re good at, than to play a game where you have little control over the outcome. Most of all, we want them to learn to be good sports and good teammates. Learning respect for yourself, your teammates, the opponents, and the officials helps them grow into good people. That’s what we’re all about.
Coaching Clinics & Training
We strongly believe that a child’s enjoyment of soccer is related to their skill development and knowledge of the game. While striving to be competitive is important, the primary focus of the AYSO coach should be on skill development and tactical knowledge. You would be amazed at how much more fun a child has on the soccer field when he/she knows how, when, and why the ball should be kicked, dribbled or shot.
With this in mind, Region 58 sponsors a series of experience-appropriate Coaches Training classes and clinics. The purpose of these sessions is simple: we want to increase the level and consistency of coaching across all divisions within Region 58. They will teach the novice as well as experienced coach the following:
- U5 to U19 level-appropriate skill sets
- How to run a productive practice
- Skill and tactically-focused drills and exercises
- Game tactics and organization
- Laws of the Game (the rules)
The Upcoming Training section on the Home page lists all currently scheduled training opportunities, with links to sign up.
AYSO Coach Training Program
Coaches must attend the AYSO Coach Safe Haven training course and the age-appropriate coach course. All coaches are AYSO certified.
AYSO Safe Haven requires that every coach, assistant coach, and adult referee participating in AYSO must complete Safe Haven training. You must attend Safe Haven training only once, not annually. Safe Haven training and certification are available at the VNSO Park and online through the National AYSO website at www.aysotraining.org. You will need your AYSO ID number to access the courses.
The age-specific coach training consists of the coaching courses listed below.
AYSO has a U5/U6 Coaching Course, which includes a two-hour classroom session and a two-hour field session during which you will learn how to teach soccer to very young players. This is a special class that every coach must take before coaching U5 and U6 players. Some of the coaches are coaching a second or third child, but many are coaching for the first time.
If you are an AYSO National Coach or have a USYSA National "A" license, you are still required to take the U5/U6 course. Why? Because coaching four year olds is different from coaching older kids and young adults, and we want to make sure the volunteers coaching our youngest players have the proper philosophy and mindset for this joyous task.
U5 and U6 soccer consists of a 5 v 5 game on a small field so everyone gets lots of touches on the ball and gets a chance to play and have fun. At this age, practice consists of a short 30-minute practice immediately before the game; there are no weekday practices.
The U7/U8 Coaching Course includes a two-hour classroom session and a two-hour field session. The focus of the U7/U8 course is on age-appropriate training. Elements of the training include the following:
· AYSO Philosophy
· Overview of the AYSO Coaching Program
· Coaching U7 and U8 Players
· Age Appropriate Techniques
· Soccer Knowledge
· Practices and Learning Games
At the U7/U8 level, the players play a 5v5 game without goalkeepers. U7 is the first age group to have weeknight practices, but those are limited to once a week for one hour.
The U10 Coaching Course includes a two-hour classroom session and a two-hour field session. The focus of the U10 course continues to be on age-appropriate training. At the U10 level, the players play a 7v7 game with goalkeepers.
The U12 Coaching Course is training for experienced coaches and for new coaches at the older age groups. The U12 Course includes a two-hour classroom session and three-hour field session. Elements of the training include the following:
· Coaching Overview
· Team Management
· The Game of Soccer
· Coaching Practices
· Coaching Games
· The Laws
· Injury Prevention
The Intermediate Coaching Course is for coaches at U14 and up. The Intermediate Course is 15 hours long and includes four hours of classroom and 11 hours of practical coaching on the field.
The Intermediate Course gets into the technical details of coaching the game, such as the technical aspects of dribbling, passing, and controlling, so that the Intermediate Coach can break down techniques for the players and understand what the player is doing well and what needs improvement.
You must complete the U12 course before you may take the Intermediate Course.
The Advanced Coaching Course is for coaches who have coached for a couple of years after completing the Intermediate Coaching Course. The Advanced Course includes a four-hour classroom session typically on a Friday night, a seven-hour field session on a Saturday, and another four-hour field session on Sunday.
The primary focus on the Advanced course is honing the coaches' skills of observation. Building on the technical knowledge the coaches have developed through the Intermediate Course and their years of coaching, the coaches have an opportunity to watch kids play, compare notes on their observations, and provide the payers with specific, actionable instruction to improve their play. You must complete the Intermediate Course before you may take the Advanced Course.
Advanced coach recertification course se are offered twice a year before the Advanced Course so that Advanced Coaches can continue their education and fulfill their requirement for training every two years.
The National Coaching Course is for coaches who have coached for a couple of years after completing the Advanced Course and, preferably, have volunteered as coach instructors for a couple of years. The National Course is generally held once a year in Southern California. This is a residential course lasting seven days. You will live in a dormitory and receive 56 hours of instruction on the field and in the classroom. If you are interested in attending, contact the Commissioner for a recommendation.
What is expected of all Region 58 coaches?
As a coach, you will have the most contact with and impact upon our young participants and their parents. It is important that you understand and implement AYSO’s philosophies on playing and coaching soccer.
- Remember that we are playing the game for fun and for the fun of the children. While you should encourage the very best performance out of your team, never lose sight of the fact that it is just a game and played for fun within the AYSO philosophies of Everyone Plays, Balanced Teams, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship, and Player Development.
- Present an attitude of good sportsmanship, in both word and action, to your players and their parents. We desire to create a positive environment based upon mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. Wear your Region 58 coaching shirt and proper shorts and footwear. It should be obvious who the coach is to the players, parents, and the opposing team.
- Hold practices once or twice a week, depending on field availability, age requirements, and your own time commitments. The practices mean more to player development than the games. Plan your practices in advance, as time is limited. Remember the recommended supervision ratio is 1:8 or fewer. There should be at least two adults present at all times (one of whom should be of the same gender as the players). Practice is where you teach and coach the players the skills, technique and tactics that they use on game day. Game day is for the players to make judgment calls, use their knowledge you’ve taught them during practices and play as a team. Singling out a player over and over or telling the players each movement and action to take during a game does the player a disservice by not allowing them to make decisions on the field. Sideline behavior on game day is to praise the players. Yelling out their name makes them look to the sidelines and by the time they hear you and listen to your instruction and process everything, the play has already happened. Grab a seat and watch the game unfold would be a great exercise for the majority of coaches.
- Make sure you know the game and the coaching techniques AYSO has found to be most successful. We have several publications which can help you and we will hold a series of clinics coordinated by our more experienced coaches. It is imperative that you participate in one or more of these clinics so that you can promote the very best and latest in instruction to the players on your team. We will gladly assist you personally in any way we can. When approving coaches, we look to those who have made that extra effort to attend clinics to further educate themselves about soccer. Also, age appropriate certification is mandatory. Having an Advanced Coaching certificate does not necessarily prepare you for coaching a U6 group who have different needs and different capabilities both emotionally and physically. There will be plenty of opportunities to get certified. Please contact the Regional Coaching Administrator if you have any questions.
- Remember the “Everyone Plays” rule. Every one of your players must play three quarters of each game; this is a Region 58 requirement. It is suggested that the same players should not always sit out the first quarter of each game, so that they do not think of themselves as permanent substitutes. Depending on age group, you will be advised of Region 58’s policies on playing time for goal keepers and upper age level players during the coaches meeting.
- Cooperate with the referees. They are volunteers like you and are called upon to make judgments like you. Please insist that the parents of the players maintain decorum at all times. Remember – we do not allow protests. We have a zero tolerance policy regarding abuse of any kind towards a volunteer like yourself or a player. Abuse can be negligence, verbal, ethical, physical, and emotional. Safe Haven certification is required for all volunteers who come in contact with the players; coaches, assistant coaches and parents who will be helping on the field. You only need to take this certification once during your coaching experience with AYSO. We hold several Safe Haven certifications each year. Remember; Players Play, Coaches Coach and Spectators Spectate.
- We want you to have the best time of your life J