Well it’s that time of the year. Time to make sure you get your rosters from your Clubs and Leagues. However; many coaches don’t take the time (just a little bit) to really get themselves ready for the season. Here is a mini check list of some items that coaches tend to forget or overlook until it becomes too late.
There are a couple areas that I will point out to all. From a ‘risk management’ perspective; there is the most obvious roster (goldenrod), individual player registration forms (1601), and most importantly… the player’s passes. Often overlooked; the coach is responsible to make sure the information returned to them for their team is both accurate and complete. It is extremely important that it is organized and on hand at all times…not just game day.
Another ‘risk management’ issue for coaches is too make sure they are aware of specific rules (League, District, and Affiliation) regarding topics such as training and scrimmaging another team. The coach is responsible for making sure that their team works out within the specified guidelines to ensure your player’s safety (insurance liability reasons). Coaches do not want to find that a player’s injury during a team activity is NOT covered by liability coverage because you (the coach) did not make sure it was covered. The philosophy of it’s easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission is a concept that more coaches are getting themselves into trouble nowadays.
An incredibly important tool for the coach are the playing rules for the different playing opportunities that your team will compete in during the season (District Playing League, tournaments, and Cups). The rules in these playing opportunities may differ, so you need to be aware of the any differences in those rules. Again; coaches do not want to find out, after the fact, of a rule that affects their team in an adverse way that could have been averted if they prepared by reading the rules. Pleas of ignorance do not change outcomes or potential sanctions for you, your coaches, or your team.
Finally (for the time being), coaches need to make sure of any changes in play (depending on specific age groups) are taught to their players for better understanding of game play. Beginning August 1st, the changes that US Soccer implemented over the past 18 months are ‘fully’ implemented for the upcoming season. An example of this is the ‘build out line’ in the U10 age group. Many people have shared their ‘opinions’ on this rule. However; this concept is going into place this season, and coaches need to maintain an overall ‘big picture’ understanding of this concept during the game. I’m in the minority here, but if coaches’ look at these rules (as described by US Soccer on their website) from all views (players, coaches, and referees), everyone will have a better experience with a little preparation.
We want you all to have fun this year. Please prepare yourself (as a coach) like you train your players to play the game. More to come soon…
Mike Hodges ,District Coaching Coordinator , firstname.lastname@example.org