Just like the players, coaches need to constantly learn, adapt, and evolve. We hope that the below educational tools can help you become more effective whether you are a beginner or experienced soccer coach.
We have broken up the coaching education manual into three different sections, specifically for the Elk Grove Village Soccer Club Recreational coaches, Elk Grove Village Soccer Club Travel coaches, and a big-picture overview for coaches at all levels. We have organized it this way because although some of the material for each section can be similar, the processes for handling certain aspects can vary dramatically.
INTRODUCTION TO SOCCER
There are four main player positions in soccer. Please use the proper titles for each position when assigning each player. This will help the children learn what they are and how to play each of them. It is a good idea to rotate the children through the different positions throughout the season/game so they learn each part of the field.
Goalkeeper – Wears a different color jersey than the rest of the team. May handle the ball within their own penalty area
Defender – Defensive players, sometimes also referred to as Fullbacks, help to keep the ball out of the goal area. They generally play in the defensive half of the field. A Sweeper is a specific position for a defensive player, who usually plays in the center of the field in front of the goalkeeper. The Sweeper is usually the last defender before the goalkeeper and ‘sweeps’ up anything that comes their way. A Stopper is also a specific position for a defensive player who plays in the center of the field in front of the two outside defenders. The Sweeper and Stopper positions, in general, are used for full size teams, 11 versus 11.
Midfield – These players move the ball up and down the field. They play both offensive and defensive positions throughout the match. They generally play from 18-yard line to 18-yard line (penalty area to penalty area). On a full size team, teams may choose to have 3, 4, or even 5 midfielders.
Forward – Forwards are also sometimes referred to as Strikers. These players generally play in the offensive half of the field and should be taking the most shots on goal. On a full size team, teams generally choose to have 2 or 3 forwards.
Since at the Elk Grove Recreational level most games are small sided you will need to modify how you line up your players according to the number of players on the field in your division. In every division the number of players includes the goalkeeper. Remember to keep it simple for the younger players where introducing these ideas are merely to get the players familiar with the terms and ideas.
RECREATIONAL SOCCER COACHES
At this point, we assume you have volunteered and been selected to coach a recreational soccer team. While it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, we provide you with an in-depth look at what the season entails.
TRAVEL SOCCER COACHES
At this point, we assume you have volunteered and been selected to coach a travel soccer team. We also assume that the travel coach requirement of having at least an ‘E’ license certification is met or will be before the season commences. While being a travel soccer coach may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, based on the below in-depth look at what the role entails, you can see that it is flexible enough to fit anyone’s schedule.
GENERAL COACHING EDUCATION
We’ve told you about some of the specific Elk Grove Village Soccer Club coaching opportunities and some of the responsibilities required, but you might still be wondering about where Elk Grove Village Soccer Club coaching fits into the big picture. How do you move up the ladder? Where can I learn more about coaching? What types of opportunities are out there? We hope to answer some of those questions or at the very least lead you in the right direction.
Soccer in the United States is under the big umbrella of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Coaching is no different in this regard. They have set up a series of licenses to give coaches like you the opportunity to become more effective, as can be seen in the following diagram (Link to “USSF License Program.pdf”).
The “E” and “D” licenses are handled logistically through the state association (Illinois Youth Soccer Association), whereas the “C’ “B” and “A” licenses are handled through the USSF National Coaches Office. At the recreational level, we currently do not require coaches to have a certification. However, for travel coaches, a minimum of an “E” license is required in order to coach. As a coach, challenging yourself by going for the next license is the first step in moving up the ladder. By attending these courses, you will network with other coaches, learn about other opportunities, and pick-up many helpful tips.
While the USSF is a major educational resource, there are many other organizations and opportunities out there. The other one we will discuss here is the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). It is the largest soccer coaches’ organization in the world with more than 30,000 members. The NSCAA offers many clinics, courses, and other education materials both in person and online. Not only does the NSCAA offer coaching for the coaches, but it also has its own job listings page – a very useful tool if you are looking for the next challenge.
Whether you are a beginner soccer coach or an expert, we hope that you have found this information useful. Coaching is an art and requires constant learning, adapting, and adjusting. The resources and overview provided above and on our coaches resources pageis only a small sliver of what’s really out there – we hope you like what you see and are encouraged to help the growth of Soccer in America!