Have you ever thought of coaching a youth soccer team, college level team, or a professional team? Is doubt getting in the way of you becoming a coach? Does the idea of entering a male dominated field hinder your ability to live your soccer lifestyle to the fullest?
No need to worry! There are tons of coaching events to help you get where you need to go.
For women who are considering coaching, events like this are a great opportunity to learn what it’s really like be a soccer coach at any level. These events give women the opportunity to pursue leadership and coaching roles. Women’s soccer is growing. And with that growth, there are many organizations out there paving the way by offering opportunities for all and providing great resources. It just takes a bit of research.
United Soccer Coaches is one of the best and most diverse coaches associations nationwide. Their mission is to try and inspire coaches through their programs while providing support. They offer many resources for various levels of coaching whether you are a novice, a club level coach, or a leader in your community.
Open Training WeekUnited Soccer Coaches hosted Open Training Week from April 2-8 in cities across the country. A total of 176 teams hosted these trainings. Nearly 1,200 coaches were in attendance. This event allowed coaches of all ages and levels the opportunity to experience new coaching styles and different kinds of play. These sessions provided some great recommendations for coaches when it comes to running practices and setting up their own daily practice plans. Any coach, at any level has a set plan for a training day. But depending on players’ feedback or energy levels, a coach must be ready to shift gears to get the best out of their players that day. The highlight of this casual, open practice within the community was to be able to observe high-level training sessions and learn from them. There is a lot of theory involved in coaching soccer. But, nothing compares to hand-on training.
Earlier this month, men’s and women’s teams at the college and professional levels welcomed local soccer coaches to visit men’s and women’s college teams at 176 cities across the nation.
As a novice coach, I appreciate these open practice sessions.I went to USC (University of Southern California) which is fairly close to my home. I was very interested in getting out to their stadium and meeting their coach. McAlister Field at USC is an intimate place to watch the game of soccer. It’s not a big stadium for a huge number of students and alumni, but this allows you to really see the game. USC Women’s Soccer team won the NCAA Championship 2 years ago and they continue to play at the highest level. Coach Keidane McAlpine and his Women’s soccer team led the coaches through a training session. We got a bird’s eye view of how these athletes communicate on the field, and got a sense of the intensity of practice, even though it’s offseason. After the warm-up, the Coach came over and asked for questions, and as practice moved on to small sided games and eventually the game itself, the Coach came took us through each process. This was the most valuable coaching session I have ever been to, seeing the players respond to the different intensity of the practice, and hear what the coach was looking to get out of these women for the 2-hour practice. Also, Coach McAlpine touched upon his recruitment process and NCAA rules and regulations that these women athletes need to adhere to while playing in college.
Dominique Randall, a USC grad currently playing for the NWSL Utah Royals reserves, joined her old Coach in the training discussion after the practice. What was so interesting was the Coach telling us that Randall was highly aware that she lacked technical skills of the game like some others in her league, but what she lacked in technical skills, she made up for with her attitude on and off the field, her tenacity, energy aggressiveness on the pitch, her confidence and leadership with her team. As he explained, Coaches need to instill an environment where players can excel in different approaches to the game and fit the dynamic of the team.
United Soccer Coaches is a great resource in for coaching education, networking, job opportunities, and more. Many amazing coaches and mentors are affiliated with this organization and want to share their knowledge of the game of soccer and principles of coaching. We are all learning every day, and it is important to encourage, motivate and mentor. Pass it on!