Soccer is the most popular sport on earth. An estimated 4 billion people follow soccer teams worldwide. That’s a fan base greater than half the population of the planet. The sport is more popular in Europe and the Americas than on any other continent. Soccer is exciting, fast and fun.
Soccer is also inexpensive. You don’t need a lot of equipment to play. Just cleats, shin guards, a soccer ball, and two nets on opposite ends of a field to play on.
Soccer is action packed. Players must adapt on the spot to the changing circumstances of the game, unlike football where a coach or quarterback calls every play in advance. At 90 minutes per match, including a halftime, this is a sport that moves quickly compared to football at an average of 3 hours or a baseball game that can stretch into 4 hours or more with extra innings.
Above all, soccer is one of the great team sports where everyone on the field has the potential to make a difference.
Soccer coaches are in demand worldwide, from youth leagues to professional teams that play for world championships.
Coaches teach amateur and professional athletes the skills they need to succeed at soccer. As a winning soccer coach you must be able to:
- Plan, organize, and lead practice sessions
- Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of individual athletes and opposing teams
- Plan strategies and choose team members for each game
- Provide direction and motivation to prepare the team for games
- Make decisions about strategy and player substitutions during games
- Plan and lead physical conditioning programs that help players reach their maximum performance
- Instruct athletes on proper techniques, game strategies, sportsmanship, and soccer rules
- Keep statistical records of team members’ performance
- Identify and recruit potential new team members
- Coaches teach professional and amateur athletes the fundamental skills of individual and team sports.
Many high school coaches are mainly teachers or other school administrators who supplement their income by coaching part time.
College and pro coaches are typically employed full-time.
When you’re ready to take your passion for soccer to a position of leadership, you’ll need to train to be a coach. We’ve got you covered. In this article you’ll learn:
- How much money you can make as a soccer coach
- The required training and certifications
- Professional groups to join
- Employment Opportunities
- Finding players as a private coach or owner of a training camp
- Plus helpful tips for soccer coaches
How much money can you make?
As a private soccer coach, you stand to make the most money in the sport (outside of coaching a pro team, where the salaries are astronomical). A typical private soccer coach can charge $60 an hour. Many offer discounts for buying multiple hours of coaching sessions.
The ten highest-paid soccer coaches in the world average $11.3 million per year, but they enjoy little job security, according to Forbes. Five of the ten best-paid coaches are still in the first season with their current teams.
While it’s great to aspire to a multimillion-dollar coaching salary, the reality is you are going to start out on the lower end of the soccer-coach pay scale.
The U.S. average for a professional soccer coach is just under $44,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. On the upper end of the national salary range, some soccer coaches are making $100,000 annually.
Assistant coaches can make up to $500 a month during the soccer season. They typically coach soccer as a supplement to a full-time job.
Youth soccer coaches can expect to be paid $18 to $22 per hour for games, practice sessions and travel.
Training and Certification
Soccer coaches typically need a bachelor’s degree. They must also have extensive knowledge of soccer, usually first-hand experience as a player. Some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, and sports medicine.
US Soccer offers an educational program leading to a coaching license. Both online and in-person training is available.
“The Coaching License Pathway consists of a series of courses designed to meet the specific needs of a coach at every step of the way,” the organization says.
There are 7 course levels starting with fundamentals and moving from Level D to Level A with increasingly advanced instruction. The basic course costs $200. Each level up has its own license. The top level is the Pro Course for coaches who want to lead professional teams. This course requires completion of Levels A-D as a prerequisite and costs $10,000.
If your goal is to teach youth or senior soccer, you would only need certification in courses up to those levels.
High schools typically hire teachers or administrators within the school system for coaching jobs. If your career path is to teach at the high school level, in college you can major in any subject you wish to teach, then get your state teaching license. At that point you can coach high school soccer for supplemental income.
At the college and professional levels, you’ll need a college degree and US Soccer certification to be a competitive job candidate, as well as experience playing the sport.
With certification, you’ll also learn valuable skills including first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Some states also require coaches to complete classes in sports safety and coaching fundamentals. For information specific to your state, contact the state’s high school athletic association or visit the National Association of State Boards of Education.
For coaching jobs involving students up through 12th grade, most state school systems will require a background check before allowing someone to work with children.
To reach the ranks of professional soccer coaches, you’ll need to invest years of coaching and produce consistent winning records at a college.
College coaches sometimes launch their careers as assistant coaches to gain the knowledge and experience needed to be a head coach.
Other college coaches may begin their careers as high school coaches before moving up to the collegiate level.
Professional Groups to Join
United Soccer Coaches is one of the top professional organizations for coaches of the sport. You can try out membership free for 30 days during which time you’ll have access to the organization’s online training materials, newsletters and member discounts on most education offerings. After your free trial current annual membership costs $125.
Full members receive:
- A $1 million general liability insurance policy
- Access to other insurance products at group rates
- Soccer Journal magazine
- The right to nominate players and coaches for awards
- Networking with other members
- Participation in the organization’s, annual conference
- Product discounts
When looking for a job coaching soccer the first place to start is the job board maintained by United Soccer Coaches. This is where schools, colleges and pro teams list their employment opportunities because they know they are more likely to find top candidates through a professional organization. To be comprehensive, you’ll also want to search sites such as Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com.
Another benefit of membership in Unite Soccer Coaches is the ability to network with other members who may know of upcoming job openings before they are advertised.
College and pro soccer coaches work with recruiting staff in their organizations to find top players. Scholarships are the incentive in attracting college players; fat salaries lure the pros. College coaches also work with walk-ons – students who show up one day and want to try out for the team because they love to play soccer.
As for privately-run camps, soccer is such a popular sport you may find people coming to you to sign up their kids for summer soccer camp. It also helps to get your business listed on Soccer Training Info’s summer camps directory. Parents use this resource to find the right camp for their children.
To maximize your chances of being selected as that “right camp,” ask your participants and their parents to leave great reviews of your business on sites such as Yelp.com. Many people will check multiple directories and business reviews before making a decision on where to send their kids to soccer camp.
Good to know:
Tips for first-time coaches from US Youth Soccer:
Dealing with Parents
Involve the parents of your team members and encourage their support.
Communicate your philosophy and team goals.
Having parents support and reinforce your discipline policies are crucial. Your expectations for player behavior should be clearly stated at the beginning of the season.
Engage parents in the process of understanding best soccer practices
Active listening is a communication skill that guarantees clear, mutually understood communication, and makes players more comfortable talking to their coach.
Good coaches pay attention to the player’s words and signal their attention to the player with small responses via their head and facial movements, low-key verbal responses and body posture, such as leaning forward to show interest.
Game Day Management
Teach fair tactics.
During matches, let players make tactical decisions.
Be a positive role model.
Set high standards for yourself and your players, the officials and everyone in attendance.
Enjoy the work. Enjoy the game. Go for the win.
Buy liability insurance. How much coverage you need will depend on factors such as your net worth and the value of your private coaching business. Some professional organizations may include liability coverage as a benefit of membership, but you’ll need to decide if that coverage is sufficient for your business. Liability insurance is important because injuries occur in all sports and you could potentially be blamed, unfairly or not.
If you enjoyed this article, check out some other PocketSuite.io content that can help you grow your career as a soccer coach. Here’s a great place to start.
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