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How To Become A Professional Soccer Coach?

How To Become A Professional Soccer Coach?

You’d agree that soccer is a game where every team member can influence the game, including the coaches. Many people who decide to become soccer coaches choose that because of the game’s outcome.

Sometimes, such fans watch a game and think; “maybe I should be a soccer coach.” 

For others, perhaps they had a coach that had a positive impact on their life back in high school. Or maybe they couldn’t make it as a player for some reason, and they chose to coach as a way to make soccer a part of their lives.

Whatever your motivations or reasons are for choosing to be a soccer coach, you have come to the right place. In this article, you’d get a detailed explanation of what a soccer coach is. Plus, you will get to know the skills needed to be a successful professional soccer coach.

Moreover, to clarify, you do not need to have experience as a soccer player to be a soccer coach. In fact, there are several examples of successful coaches who have little or no experience as professional players

Let’s get started!

A soccer coach and his team

How to become a professional soccer coach?

To be a successful soccer coach and a good mentor, there are specific skills that you must possess. Without these skills explained below, your career as a coach might not be as successful as you hope. So, what are they? 

Basic Knowledge and Skills To Become A Successful Soccer Coach 

Strong Teaching Skills

One primary task of a coach is to teach players about the game. Therefore, to help your players hone their skills, you have to be a good teacher.

Player and Team Management

The truth is, every player in your team will be different, and more often than not, they will give varied responses to situations. If your team gets a confidence issue because of a loss, some players will need to be left alone while some will need hand-holding.

So, in this case, you will have to learn how to manage these situations for each player on your team effectively.

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Fitness Instructor 

If you start as a high school soccer coach, chances are you won’t have other staff. You might have to instruct and lead the team through their fitness and physical conditioning routines.

As a coach, you must keep the players strong and healthy without inflicting injuries. Some good drills to try are interval training, quick agility steps, and exercises to help the players change direction quickly during a game.

Assess the performance of each player during training; watch out for their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you learn how to work together to get a strong team.

Manage and Plan your Team’s Time

Soccer is about balance, and one of the best skills is learning to plan and manage your team’s time properly as a coach. Don’t spend too much time training at the expense of rest, and vice versa.

Ability to See Things from An Analytical Angle 

Using the numbers from games or workout sessions can be of enormous help to your team. You can utilize them to put the players in the correct positions, which would improve your chances of winning games.

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Effective Communication

A soccer coach is an instructor and a guide or, as the Chinese call it, a sensei. Therefore, you need to effectively communicate with the team members to carry out this role properly.

Basic Knowledge of Soccer

This is basic information; you can not educate people on what you do not understand. For example, to educate the players on how soccer works and figure out which techniques to try, you need to understand the game.

Be Empathetic 

Another thing that a coach must possess is emotional intelligence. You have to connect with the players emotionally. Share their pain, listen to their concerns and monitor their behavior, this will make them trust you.

Be Level-headed and Flexible

Learn not to let your anger get the best of you. Your team will lose games. The referee will annoy you with their bad decisions, but your job is to respond wisely.

Don’t take it out on the team players, because these things affect your relationship with the players. Develop new tactics; the game is constantly changing, and if you are not adaptable and creative, you will be left behind.

Basic And Actionable Steps To Become A Soccer Coach

The steps to becoming a coach are dependent on your location. In this part of the article, there will be an outline of a basic plan which would work for any part of the world. Later on, we would give a defined roadmap for aspiring soccer coaches in America.

Acquire Knowledge of the Game

You can learn about it by playing or watching it. This might not be strictly required, but having experience with soccer can assist you to appreciate the game better and strengthen your relationships with your players.

Proficiency in the game enables you to take techniques you learned from the field and introduce them to your players. This mastery is especially valuable if you hope to coach at a high-paying or competitive level.

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Try to Get A Role As A Volunteer Coach in A Local Team

Working with a team in your community can help you learn the techniques required to become a thriving soccer coach. Possessing a background before applying for a job is always the right way to go.

Go to Soccer Coaching Clinics

Coaching clinics are specialized workshops that can nurture you and give you the tools to learn various coaching techniques and protocols for teaching soccer. Plus, there are also several online courses and seminars that you can learn from.

Get the Required Certifications

One of the most important things you should do to prepare yourself for the job of being a soccer coach is to get the relevant certifications. 

You can obtain six certifications ranging from A to F, if you apply to the United States Youth Soccer Association. And you must have earned an E or F certification to be a soccer coach in a youth club category.

Coaching at a higher level, i.e., the national level, needs a C, B, or A certification. And to earn a certification, you have to attend state workshops and courses to acquire varied methods and routines that you can execute with your teams.

An additional and essential certificate for soccer coaches is the CPR certification. A soccer coach should be prepared for any accidents during practice. In addition, many team managers expect soccer coaches to be CPR certified in case of an emergency during a game or training session.

Certifications are important things to become a professional soccer coach

Procure A Coaching License

Before becoming a professional coach, you first need to earn a coaching license. This is mainly done or gotten through the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). NSCAA gives two distinct charges; a state diploma and a regional diploma.

Both levels teach different things. For example, the state diploma licensing examination for fresher coaches who work with small children ages 6 – 12 instructs on game laws and the maintenance and prevention of wounds.

The regional diploma licensing test is recommended for coaches who work with players from ages 12 – 19. Taking the test would afford you the opportunity to learn how technical and tactical knowledge helps with player improvement.

If you attend any of these programs, you will receive a diploma and course manual when you complete the certification.

Get A Degree If You Can 

Many coaches go to college and get bachelor’s degrees in exercise and sports medicine, nutrition and fitness, or physical education. This kind of practical added knowledge can indicate your mastery and passion for sports to prospective employers and serve to enhance your coaching.

Moreover, a degree also helps you to have options. For example, getting a degree and a teaching certification or license would enable you to coach at a public school.

Of course, not all public schools need these things, but a lot do, so you will have a broader area to cast your net if you consider acquiring these certificates.

Begin as an Assistant Coach

When you start your vocation as a soccer coach, you should first serve as an assistant before becoming a head coach. This is because working as an assistant coach will enable you to work under a more skilled and experienced coach and gain knowledge.

How You Can Become A Successful Professional Soccer Coach In The USA?

There is a set and comprehensive road to becoming a competent soccer coach in the US. Generally, US soccer offers some guidance on this, and there are a lot of programs you can find on their website.

Also included in the US soccer website are understandable and actionable ways to become a professional coach. In fact, you can take many of the classes online, but some need you to attend in person.

Typically, there are seven categories or levels of certifications and courses, and the higher you go, the more developed and advanced you get. The highest professional certification instructs you to achieve the D to A levels as a requirement.

Simply know that the road to becoming a soccer coach in the US is a rather long one, but having the right reasons and motivation will help you on this journey. The steps you will need to take are further explained below:

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Have Some Coaching Experience

If you want to turn out as a skilled soccer coach, your primary focus should be earning a coaching background in any way you can, with any tools at your disposal. 

The widely recommended way is to get a good start by joining a regional youth soccer group or high school soccer squads.

Enrolling in these teams can lead to future job chances and assist you in creating a professional network. In addition, there are several volunteers, internship, and entry-level coaching vacancies for you to find on the NSCAA website.

Acquire the Needed Education and Certifications

Sometimes strict requirements are not asked for, but most professional soccer coaches need proficient training and education. Therefore, the United States Soccer Federation issues the most widely accepted coaching diplomas.

The institution offers five grades of coaching certification; A, B, C, D, and E. The level E credential is the most suitable for commencing coaches.

Plus, the conditions for each certification are different. For example, the level E certificate imposes 18 hours of training, while level B requires 20 hours in the classroom and 48 hours on the field. Licenses are acquired cumulatively, so you have to begin and work your way up.

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Make Sure To Pay Your Dues

The meaning of this is simple. Do not rush through getting your licenses and certification in the hopes of immediately working for a big club with a fat paycheck. 

The NSCAA advises prospective coaches against this. In many cases, getting to the top of the ranks and working at a professional soccer club results from years of hard work and a strong background.

More often than not, you will have to work for years as a high school or college junior coach before growing enough to take on working at the professional level.

And even then, you might still spend a considerable number of years gathering experience at the club before you get to the head coach or club manager position. The professional journey as a soccer coach is slow for most people, but it is a rewarding challenge for genuine soccer lovers.

Valid Training and Certification

As a budding soccer coach, you might need a bachelor’s degree. You must also have a substantial understanding of soccer by watching, reading about, or playing soccer.

Some people may choose to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education, and sports medicine. US soccer offers an academic program that will result in you getting a coaching license. Both online and in-person training is available.

This academic program contains 7-course levels that begin with fundamentals and proceed from Level D to Level A, each step with more developed instruction than the last, and each level up carries its license.

The highest degree is the Pro Course for coaches who lead professional squads. This course requires the completion of Levels A-D as a condition.

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Being a soccer coach is a roller coaster filled with highs and lows. In fact, it can be exceptionally rewarding one day and entirely defeating the next day.

However, becoming a soccer coach is not a simple path, and you will likely find yourself working for free in the initial years. Nevertheless, ensure you have the means to fund your journey.

As a soccer coach, you will have a lot of fulfilling moments. Observe the skills of your squad grow, see the players display maturity through the decisions they make during the game. Watch their bond and get to that space where they can almost read minds on the field.

If you possess true affection for soccer, you love helping others and guiding them to succeed, then getting into a career as a coach could be the best vocation for you.