Coaching Frequently Asked Questions

How much time is required for me to commit?

For 6U, 7U, and 8U, practice is 60 minutes one night per week. For 10U, 12U, and 14U, practice is 90 minutes one night per week. You’ll also spend some time planning your practice (find drills on MOJO) and you should arrive ~10 min. early to set up and so you’re relaxed when the kids show up.

All divisions – 6U through 14U – play a game on Saturday. For 6U-8U, games don’t require much advance prep for games (see Game Prep for 6U-8U). For 10U, 12U, and 14U, Coaches generally spend some time on creating a lineup and deciding on game strategy. The season runs from Labor Day to Thanksgiving, with some playoffs in December for 10U, 12U, and 14U.

Head coaches generally have some administrative duties such as contacting parents and answering their questions, rating players, etc., which are heaviest before the season starts. Some of these duties can be delegated to your Assistant Coach or Team Manager. Once games begin, these administrative duties are minimal.  

Do I have to actually know the rules and techniques of soccer to coach?

AYSO will teach you what you need to know. As long as you have a desire to help kids learn and have fun, you’re good to go. Year after year, Region 13 parent surveys say that it’s more important for a coach to be fun vs. competitive. You just have to know more about soccer than your <fill in the blank> year-old player.

The referees are taught the Laws of the Game and how to apply them to little kids. That said, you’re welcome to learn as much as you can, and the more you learn, the more you bring to the kids. Once you start coaching, you’ll have a better idea of what information to look for.

Will there be coach training? If so, when and for how long?

AYSO provides the nation’s only accredited coach training program. Coaches take an age-appropriate Coach training class every other year to be certified to coach in a specific division. These classes get progressively longer and more detailed as your players age. These courses are in-person and are offered in the Pasadena and surrounding areas. In addition, all AYSO volunteers have to take safety and child protection courses that are mandated by law. These include one in-person and three online safety courses. You can find these courses on eTrainU.

Do I need to have soccer practice equipment?

AYSO Region 13 provides every coach with a basic soccer equipment: a Coach bag with three balls, a pump, cones, pinnies, a first aid kit, the Laws Of The Game, and a nice duffel bag.

Many coaches like to supplement this with additional balls, cones, etc. Many also buy pop-up goals, for example the 6′ PUG or PUG-like goals or even the larger folding portable soccer goals.

A folding cart is also useful to lug your gear around.

Will I have an Assistant Coach?

We try to make sure each team has a Head Coach and an Assistant Coach. For 6U-8U in Region 13, the games are played on two fields side-by-side. The coach divides the team into two squads, and each plays 5v5 with the other team’s two squads. One of the teams switches fields at halftime. The Head Coach supervises one of the squads, and the Assistant Coach the other.

When and where is practice? 

Head coaches decide when their team practices by submitting up to three requests with their preferred practice day, time, and field. We do our best to allocate the field space so every coach gets a time and place that is acceptable to them, but due to field constraints, not everyone will get their first choice. We recommend consulting with your Assistant Coach to find a time that works for both coaches.

Younger divisions usually start practice earlier (5-6 PM) while older divisions (14U and up) usually begin practice later (7:30 PM or later). 

When and where are the games?

During the regular season, almost all games are on Saturdays, anywhere between 8:30am and 5:30pm. The schedule usually comes out during the first week of practice. A specific division will normally play on a small subset of fields.

Can I coach more than one team?

Yes! Many volunteers choose to coach multiple teams. If you do coach more than one team, we will attempt (and are almost always successful) to schedule your games so that you can coach (and travel between) multiple games. This benefit is mainly for Head Coaches, but we also will try to accommodate Assistant Coaches too.

Can my teenager get community service credit for coaching?

Yes. While he/she can’t be an “official” coach until age 18, we welcome youth volunteers to watch the coach class, take the Safe Haven course, and help out as much as they want. We’ll sign off on volunteer hours, and, if they want to referee, they can ref for players 3 years younger then them. Click here for details.

Will I be required to wear certain outfits, or can I be myself?

Region 13 provides coaches with an AYSO Coach polo shirt, which we encourage coaches to wear for games, but you can wear whatever you want. 

What happens if I can’t make a game? Or if something changes so that I can no longer coach?

Often, either the Head Coach or Assistant Coach will miss a few games during the season. This is why we try to have two coaches and why both coaches receive the same training. If both coaches will miss a game, contact your DCA for help finding a replacement.

If you’re unable to continue to coach at all, we ask the Ass’t Coach to step in full-time.

The Volunteer FAQ has more information about the volunteer requirements for coaches.