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American Youth Soccer Organization Providing world class youth soccer programs that enrich children's lives.

Everyone Plays!

Coaches

Volunteer to Coach

  1. Register as a volunteer.
  2. Complete training.

ALL coaches and assistant coaches are required to attend an AYSO coach training session for their division (unless you have previously received such training). These training sessions are geared for all ability levels and deal with such matters as AYSO’s core philosophies (especially the importance of POSITIVE coaching), team management, the laws of the game (which vary considerably by division), age appropriate skills and techniques, game strategy, and how to run an effective practice. Ensuring that all of our coaches have the same basic training is not only a good practice, it is required by AYSO National.

AYSO Coach Guides

Rules: coaches need to become familiar with the age-specific rules.

The age-level coaches training in AYSOU includes a comprehensive guide to team preparation, game management and player development specific for each age division.  Log in to AYSOU, navigate to Coaching Courses and the age level you want, and then there is an option to download the Coaches Guide for any level, even courses you have not yet completed.

Fall 2021 Coaches Meeting Slides
Fall 2021 IR Coaches Meeting Slides

Safety

Please review the COVID-19 Safety policies for the year.  Contact [email protected] with any questions or issues to report.

For the end of game "handshake," we recommend players touch elbows this season. 

Other Resources:

Forms and Reporting

Incident Report Form - Injuries, fights, property damage, and any other incidents must be reported.  Fill out the form and send to [email protected], [email protected] and the relevant coaches.

Concussion Guidelines and Release Form - Concussions and suspected concussions require an Incident Report Form.  When the player is ready to return to practice or play, an AYSO Participation Release Form is also required.  The link provides information for coaches and referees on handling identifying and handling possible concussions.

General Release Form: for players leaving practice with someone other than a parent/guardian or by themselves.

Team Logistics

Schedules

The first game for Fall 2021 will be Sunday, September 12, 2021. We're still finalizing teams and working on the schedule. As a coach, plan to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your scheduled game time.

As a coach, you get to set your team's practice schedule and location in consultation with your other coach and team parents. You can start practices beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

U5 and U6 teams do not have practice during the week. These younger teams meet at the scheduled game time on Sunday, practice for 30 minutes, and then play a 20 minute game.

For U8 and older teams, you can pick any available green space in Evanston to practice. We do not formally reserve fields. We will have a spreadsheet to keep track of where and when teams are practicing and resolve any conflicts. If a player cannot practice on the day/time you choose throughout the season, and you aren't able to find a practice time that works for everyone, check with other coaches of the same age group to see if they can welcome the player at their practices. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] if you need assistance.

Practices do not have to be long to be effective, especially for younger players. Keep the length of practices manageable and appropriate for the age group.  If you and your co-coach cannot both be at a practice or game, make sure there are at least two adults present (one of the same gender as the players).

U8 and older games start at the scheduled/listed time.  Please arrive early and ask your players to do so as well.

Communicating with your Team

You can find a list of your players and their adults' email addresses/phone numbers under TEAM CENTRAL in the menu above (you may need to search for your team).

You may find the GameChanger app to be a good way to communicate with your team throughout the season.

Things you may want to communicate in preparation for the season:

  • Who you are, and what your experience with coaching/soccer is.
  • AYSO's Philosophies
  • Evanston AYSO is a volunteer organization, and you'll need their help.
  • Remind them to order their uniforms from soccer.com. In addition to uniforms, players also need shin guards, appropriate shoes, and a ball.
  • What to wear and bring to practices and games.
  • Solicit input on scheduling practices, or share when and where practices will be held.
  • How you will communicate going forward. Should they expect emails? texts? Confirm you have all of the contact addresses/numbers they want you to notify. It is a good idea to request confirmation that they received at least your initial communication. If you don't receive confirmation, follow up with a phone call or text.
  • Try to recruit a parent (or two!) to referee.  Without volunteer referees, you and the other coaches will need to manage the game.  Having a referee allows you to focus on coaching instead.  No experience is necessary to referee games for the younger ages; training is provided.  It's fine for a parent to referee their child's game; older siblings can also referee games in our younger divisions.  Volunteer, or contact [email protected] with questions.
  • Remind parents/caregivers that they will need to pick up their players promptly from practices/games if they won't be attending with them.  Remember that you need a release form for a player to leave with someone other than the listed caregivers.

Equipment

Evanston AYSO provides each team with a coach's bag with cones, whistle, ball pump, first aid kit, and other key supplies. Each coach also receives a free shirt. Check your email for a survey on shirt sizes. More details to come on picking up bags and shirts.

On game days, the first teams on a field will need to pick up equipment from the shed and/or set up goals. The last team on a field will need to return/replace equipment. Please recruit parents for this - you are busy coaching!  More details to come as the season approaches.


Drills and Player Development

If you're looking for more resources and support, AYSO offers The Coaching Manual.  This is completely optional, and it does not replace the required training.  There is a fee for some content on this site.

Where to Start?

Training drills are great for practices!

Other Sites

  • SoccerClinics.com Drills, tactics and products for the soccer coach.
  • NSCAA – National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Look for the link to Coaching Tips . . . and more.

Positive Coaching

Positive Coaching is one of the six philosophies of AYSO. By "positive coaching" we mean:

Setting the Tone

Good sportsmanship and team spirit begins with you.

You are teaching these kids much more than just soccer, so always be aware of you behavior, because your players will be watching.

At Practices

Set the right example for the kids.

  • Always be the first one to practice and the last one to leave.
  • It is okay to expect kids (and their parents) to come on time, too. They should respect your time.

Come prepared with a sense of what drills you want to run and what you want to accomplish. Kids get easily distracted when standing around.

  • If you are fumbling and stumbling about what to do at practice, you are more likely to lose your attention.
  • Focus on drills that involve most or all of the kids at the same time.
  • Understand the level of your players. You can’t teach the whole thing in one season. Focus on one or two skills that are age appropriate. Reinforce and praise good performance. Be patient when correcting a player.
  • We are a teaching league, but we have limited time. Only one practice a week!
  • We want to advance the skills of all players, not just the stars. This is the reward of being a coach: seeing all your players shine after a season of hard work.

Games

The coach wins if the kids learned something about soccer and sportsmanship, regardless of the score!

  • Sure, everyone wants to win but NOT at the expense of excluding a player. We are here for the kids and to help them play the game.
  • Limit your teaching during the game, That’s what practices are for. Give encouragement and take notes so you can work on skills at the next practice.
  • It is the kids’ game. We want each kid to say they had fun at the end of a game and practice.  They should work hard to win.

Here are some rules to follow:

  • Come to the game with your roster and positions already set for each period of play.  It will eliminate 90% of all squabbling, lobbying or complaining about positions.
  • Say Hello to the refs and opposing coaches before the game. We are all part of the same soccer family
  • Players should play all positions during the regular season. Even your star goalie should play out of goal at least half of each game. Kids who love defense need to play as Forwards, and vice versa.  Players should learn the skills and strategies of all positions. As they get older and involved in more competitive play, they will have plenty of opportunity to focus on one particular position.
  • Substitutions are made between quarters, never during the quarter (unless there is an injury). The clock does not stop at quarter breaks, so do this quickly.
  • Players should be in the game at least three quarters. If you have too many players, you are required to balance it our. No player should play three or four quarters every week while others are playing two.
  • Make sure that you alternate your starting line-up and your fourth quarter line-up. Players should not be sensing that there are certain times of the game when they are not as welcome on the field.
  • Make sure your players have proper equipment.
  • NEVER EVER BERATE THE REFEREE. They are volunteers, just like you, doing the best they can. You undermine their authority and set a horrible example for the kids when you cannot control your emotions. Rolling of the eyes, complaining to parents or players on the sidelines is equally poor conduct. Refs will blow calls. It happens, get over it. IF you want to talk to the ref about specific or general issues, take him/her over to the side at an opportune time and have a polite conversation about it. Perhaps you do not fully understand the Laws of the Game. Perhaps the ref just missed it.
  • NEVER EVER BERATE A KID FOR POOR PLAY. There is simply no excuse for criticizing players on the field, or barking instructions at them every two seconds. Let the kids play. Take notes. Use those notes to teach at the half and the end of the game. Most players know very well when they commit a bonehead play; there is no need to remind them.
  • ALWAYS LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO PRAISE. A good pass. A good shot. Good hustle. Good teamwork. A good defensive play. A nice save. A good kick. Use of the whole field. Nice dribbling. Good positional play. There are dozens of opportunities to praise your players and your team every game, win or lose. Take advantage of some of them.
  • NEVER PUT WINNING ABOVE GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP. Never run up the score. If your team has a victory well in hand, think about putting your goal scorers on defense, and telling them not to go midfield. Or tell them to focus on possession, not scoring. There is not bright line rule as to when to ease up, but it usually isn’t to hard to figure out.
  • DO NOT TOLERATE POOR SPORTSMANSHIP BY PARENTS Whether towards the other team, the ref, or their own team or kid, be considerate, but firm, and remind them of the code of conduct that parents are expected to follow. It may be helpful to have one handy to show them. If a parent continues to be a problem, escalate to the Regional Coach Administrator and Commissioner.
  • ALWAYS DISPLAY GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP AT THE END OF THE GAME. Thank the refs. Thank the opposing coaches and players. And encourage your players to thank the refs too.

Running Your Team

Always focus on positive coaching.

  • It is up to you to set a positive tone for your team.
  • Always be respectful of your players, opposing players, other coaches and refs.
  • Make sure your players and parents show the same respect at all times.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Work your team hard, but always have fun!

National Partners

Contact Us

Evanston AYSO

848 Dodge Ave PMB 392 
Evanston, Illinois 60202

Email Us: [email protected]
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