Wednesday, October 31, 2007

JT's Blog - Kentucky Youth Soccer Mandates Coaching Education - Oct. 31

JT's Blog will be a weekly addition to the US Youth Soccer Blog. John Thomas "JT" is the Assistant Director of Coaching Education for US Youth Soccer.

Mandating anything in soccer is tough enough. As one of the national staff coaches for US Youth Soccer, it’s hard educating coaches that have been coaching for over 20 years. The issues most of the time are- why do they need education when they have been winning all the time, but winning and player development can be two different things. My hat goes off to Kentucky Youth Soccer for putting education of the player’s first and mandating education. Here is what Kentucky Youth Soccer has done.

On September 1, 2007 Kentucky Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors implemented a minimum coaching policy for those working with select soccer players. Currently there are no minimum coaching standards for recreational coaches but Kentucky Youth Soccer Association Board of Directors recognizes and fully supports coaching education for all levels and would like to emphasize that there is no substitute for an educated coach. Coaches will have until September 1, 2009 to meet these requirements. The rationale for coaches of all age groups to hold a minimum coaching requirement is as follows:

• To increase your effectiveness as a volunteer or paid coach by enhancing your knowledge of fundamental coaching concepts such as: philosophy of coaching, age appropriate training of children, prevention of injuries, care of injuries, team management and risk management issues.
• To protect you from civil lawsuits. If you are ever sued for an injury to one of your youth soccer players (although rare), you can present a much better legal defense as a result of being educated and trained.
• To increase your knowledge on how to properly teach technique and tactics.
• To ease the worry of volunteer coach’s who have never played or have limited knowledge in the game.
• To provide the coach with soccer related activities that will provide for a safe and fun learning environment instead of placing them into drills, standing in lines and running laps.
The table below is what will be a minimum coaching requirement for Club Directors of Coaching/General Manager, Select Soccer Head & Assistant Coach’s. It is recommended that each coach attempts to exceed these minimum requirements. All of these requirements are expected to be met by September 1st, 2009.

Minimum Coaching Standards as of September 1st 2007
* Club Directors of Coaching

Full Time Select & Recreational: USSF “C” License and USSF National Youth License Part Time Select & Recreational: USSF “D” License and USSF National Youth License Volunteer Select & Recreational: USSF “D” License and/or USSF National Youth License.

Monitoring & Policing
Kentucky Youth Soccer will monitor coaching qualifications through the League One system. If the system does not show the correct data, a copy of the appropriate coaching certification needs to be sent to the Kentucky Youth Soccer Association Head Office for them to enter the details into the system. If the team head & assistant coach do not possess the appropriate qualification, the official roster and player passes will not be stamped and issued. Any coach who does not meet the required criteria by September 1st, 2009 will not be allowed to coach with a Kentucky Youth Soccer Association member. Following September 1st, 2009, coaches who are assigned to new teams will be
required to obtain the appropriate certification within six months.

Any Director of Coaching/General Manager who has not received the appropriate qualifications at the end of the phase in period may not have their name placed on any of that teams rosters nor can they receive a coach’s pass.

Kentucky Youth Soccer Association Roles & Responsibilities
The 24 month phase-in period will allow those individuals in need of attending a coaching education course plenty of time to do so. During the phase-in, Kentucky Youth Soccer will be providing additional coaching education opportunities in and around the state of Kentucky. We are going to try our best to provide each District with ample course selections in time periods which are typically slow for coaching.

Although the prime responsibility does fall upon the state association we also rely on the members to set up courses to help coaches within their own and neighboring clubs. To encourage clubs and associations to do this Kentucky Youth Soccer Association will provide the members with the appropriate marketing materials. Clubs will also be strongly encouraged to reimburse or pay for their coaches to obtain the appropriate certification. Kentucky Youth Soccer will continue to work with US Soccer Federation to host a National Youth & “C” License.

If you have any specific questions regarding coaching education, please contact Dr. John Thomas at or Kentucky Youth Soccer Director of Coaching and Player Development, Adrian Parrish at


Anonymous said...

I think this is exactly what all State organizations need to do. From Select to Rec play, coaches need to have some kind of training.

There are some coaches that are good coaches and have had no formal training. Unfortunately, there are too many coaches that have no training and are doing more harm to both the players and the game.

If we ever hope to get soccer to a top level across the board in this country, this is the path that we need to take - train the coaches.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Technical Advisor to our soccer league with over 7,000 players and over 500 coaches.

I applaud the decision in Kentucky. We've adopted a similar rule for the 2008/2009 season for U10 and above coaches.

Therefore, continuing Coaching education becomes essential! Like playing a game or refree-ing a game, coaching is another aspect of the game that needs training and education. Coaches need to be open to learning more all the time.

From the beginner coach to the most seasoned coach, there is always more to learn in the game of soccer - I refer to as "dynamic chess 11v11".

Even the most accomplished professional coaches will tell you, that they learn something new with every game they coach.

The big question is:
What are the most important quantifiable ways to know that a youth coach has succeeded?

Which is the order of importance:
- Wins/Loss Record
- Number of players who want to play for the coach again
- Players moved up to play at the next level
- Player's attendance at practice
- Player's combined perspective on improvement as a team at the end of season compared to the beginning of the season.

Not easy, I admit. Above should apply to teams with top, medium or no talent at all.