By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
I have always believed that every child who plays soccer deserves and has the right to have an educated coach teaching them the game. For long periods of time, I have listened to many league and club people tell me that its just not possible. The reasons given really fell into one of four buckets
• Not enough time.
• Too expensive.
• No one cares that much.
• It’s not that important
With the emphasis often on children during the holiday season, it's a good time to explain why none of the above carry any value at all.
Not enough time. The grass roots courses at the introductory level are now only four hours each for the in-person licenses and are available for each game format. Even the busiest of people can find four hours each season to devote to becoming a better coach.
Too expensive. Within the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), it is possible to attend a grass roots license for $85. I have also found that many clubs are willing to contribute towards this $85 to reduce the cost even further.
No one cares that much. No matter where I go in the state from the eastern tip of Long Island to Albany and Utica everywhere in-between, I talk to youth coaches. I find that everyone cares. Most youth coaches are acutely aware of their responsibility and the importance of their role in a culture where the value of teamwork and sports for life is being increasingly diminished.
It’s not that important. Nothing could be further from the truth. There have been enough reports from Designed to Move through the Aspen Institute on players leaving sport that clearly state many disturbing trends. Youth players are leaving sport in droves by the age of 13. A statistic that was 70% a few years ago is now closer to 80%. As we drive them out of sports, we drive them out of health and into a life of inactivity. As we drive them out of team sports and all the life skills a good team environment can develop: focus, self-sacrifice, resilience, open and honest communication skills, discipline to name but a few, we drive them away from well-rounded personal development.
Thankfully, many coaches seem to realize how important it is a get some vital knowledge on the game and the children they are attempting to coach and attendance numbers at grass roots license course within ENYYSA are at a record high. What a great time for all the leagues and clubs within the state to join the campaign and set policies that all the coaches within their organization take a grass roots coaching license in 2020.
Let’s work together to create a tipping point that truly changes the youth soccer landscape.