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Coaches Blog

Sam's Blog is a bi-weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. Sam Snow is the Coaching Director for US Youth Soccer.

 

Coaching Licenses, Risk Management and Parent Education

Sam Snow

Coaching Licenses No. 6
 
We believe that competitive level coaches should hold a minimum of a "D" License.  Recreation level coaches should hold a minimum of an "E" certificate, if they are coaching teenage players and an age appropriate Youth Module certificate if they are coaching children.  Coaches working at the top level (premier/classic) should hold a "C" License or National Diploma.  Ideally they should hold a "B" License and/or an Advanced National Diploma.

The overall intent here is to create minimum license requirements in the U.S.A. and to establish levels of license with commensurate levels of play.  We recommend that this implementation be completed by December 31, 2010.

The rationale for these requirements follows:
-      To provide continuing education on the game in the United States of America.
-      To ensure that American coaches have an equal opportunity for education and standards in the game as our domestic and foreign counterparts.  Many countries now require mandatory licensing.
-      To create the appropriate training environment to minimize the risk of injury.  To provide information on the prevention and care of injury.
-      To reduce the risk claims against negligence and to be accountable for background screening.
-      To equal other sports such as softball and ice hockey who have established mandatory coaching education requirement policies.  Ice hockey's rationale is very similar to that of
U.S. Soccer. 

"The coaching education program of USA Hockey is committed to developing coaches through a comprehensive education program at all levels.  Since quality coaching is the single most important element affecting the athletes and the sport itself, the experience athletes' gain through participation will be a direct result of the coach's qualifications, education and competencies.  Therefore, it is paramount that we prepare our coaches through a comprehensive curriculum which follows the different levels of skill progressions for the development of players."
 
Risk Management No. 7
 
We believe all coaches involved in youth soccer should be subject to background checks and that coaching licenses be required as part of the risk management process.  We also believe that each coach should be issued a registration card, certifying that they have completed the risk management process and have attained the required coaching certification.

Parent Education Issues No. 8
 
We believe that parents should be required to sign and comply with a Code of Conduct.  We also believe that proactive and ongoing parent education should be the responsibility of every club and league.  We urge clubs to put the US Youth Soccer Principles of Conduct into the hands of the parents associated with their club.
 

Ages of Play

Sam Snow

Continuing with the Position Statements of the 55 state Technical Directors here are numbers four and five which are closely related to one another.

Age of Competitive Play        No. 4
 
While it is acknowledged and recognized that preteen players should be allowed to pursue playing opportunities that meet both their interest and ability level, we strongly discourage environments where players below the age of twelve are forced to meet the same "competitive" demands as their older counterparts therefore we recommend the following:
  1. 50% playing time
  2. no league or match results
  3. 8 v 8 at U12
Minimum Age for Play     No. 5
 
                We believe that a child must be five years old by August 1 to register with a soccer club for the soccer year September 1 to August 31.  Children younger than five years old should not be allowed to register with a soccer club.
 

Player Potential

Sam Snow

In the continuing effort to share the Position Statements of the 55 state Technical Directors with the membership here then is Statement No. 3.

Realizing Player Potential No. 3

To maximize player potential, we believe that State Associations and progressive clubs should work to expose their better coaches, who should hold the "Y" License, to their youngest players.  It is also seen as important that mentoring programs be established for community soccer coaches to improve the quality of youth soccer training.

The developmental approach emphasizes the growth of individual skills and group tactical awareness.  We feel too much emphasis is placed on "team" play and competition in the preteen years.  We believe in an inclusion model for preteen players.  From this perspective, the goal of youth soccer programs at all levels is to include players in matches at an age when experience is more important than outcome.

Further options for players in their teen years that are not interested in competing at the highest level, but still have a love for the game should be created.  Perhaps older teen coed teams or high school based teams on a recreational basis.
 

Keepers

Sam Snow

I am continuing to share with you the Positions Statements of the 55 state association Technical Directors.  Here is No. 2 with guidance on the position of goalkeeper.
 
Goalkeepers - No. 2
 
We believe that goalkeepers should not be a feature of play at the U6 and the U8 age groups.  All players in these age groups should be allowed to run around the field and chase the "toy," a.k.a – the ball.
 
For teams in the U10 and older age groups goalkeepers should become a regular feature of play.  However, young players in the U10 and U12 age groups should not begin to specialize in any position at this time in their development.