How to Become a Professional Soccer Coach

Becoming a professional soccer coach is no easy job. The process is not only time consuming. It also requires a lot of commitment as well as high training costs. Nonetheless, if done right, the experience and the job can be quite rewarding.

Therefore, to ensure success in this journey, you want to equip yourself with the right knowledge of how to become a professional soccer coach. Our in-depth guide below offers a step-by-step guide on how to become a professional soccer coach.

Get the Experience

As with any other job, becoming a soccer team leader and manager requires extensive experience and knowledge in the field. The best way for a person who aspires to become a soccer coach is to first be a soccer play. You want to get as much experience playing soccer to learn the sport. It is extremely rare to find a soccer coach with no playing experience – even a volunteer high school soccer coach.  You want to learn the tricks and techniques of the game.

Whilst a soccer manager doesn’t necessarily need experience as a professional player, they still need to have played the game for some time to understand it. You can get experience through recreation play in lieu of competitive play. Nonetheless, at least collegiate or professional soccer playing experience exposes you to the strategic, tactical, and athletic challenges of the game – to make you a more insightful coach.

In addition to playing experience, coaching experience may also come in handy for those who want to become professional soccer coaches. This experience can come in a multitude of ways depending on how you acquire it – whether you volunteer with a local youth soccer organization, high school teams, or even find an entry level coaching job or internship with organizations such as the NSCAA.

Educate Yourself

This step comes in a multitude of methods as well. You can pick some or combine all of the ideas. Educating yourself comes both formally and informally. Let’s start with the latter. Informal coaching education comes by learning the rules of the game first and also by observing or shadowing coaches.  Typically, FIFA manages international soccer rules – with slight regional variations.

Therefore, it is easy to learn your soccer rules through the official FIFA rulebook – you can find it online! Typically, the FIFA rule book has only 17 rules. Therefore, it shouldn’t take more than a month to learn, understand, and memorizes all the rules. Once you understand the rules, it is easy to pick up minor rules from different leagues. The next thing you can do to informally educate yourself about soccer coaching is by simply watching games and studying other coaches.

It is quite easy to observe a soccer manager because most of their responsibilities are executed outside the field unlike with American football coaches. You can observe managers execute from the smallest tasks to the largest ones – whether it’s how they make their substitution, how they create plays and strategize, or how they manage rosters.

Additionally, you can choose to educate yourself formally. There are many routes to take. You can opt to get a college degree in sports or sports management and fast track your way towards certification. Alternatively, you can begin the certification at a lower level and continue working your way up as you accumulate training hours as well – depending on your region and certification structure.

Get the Certification

The next step is to actually get certified. The certification process varies from region to region – however, you can easily find out how it’s done in your area online. For example, in the US, the coaching certification is administered by the United States Soccer Federation. The coaching certification is available in 5 different levels ranging from A to E – with E being the beginner’s level.

However, not just in the US alone, but everywhere else, in addition to the certification, you will also need hours of training and experience.  For the level E coaching experience, for example, you need at least 18 hours to get the certification.  As you continue to garner coaching experience, you can then, continue to work your way up the levels all the way to level A. As a general rule of thumb, you want to make sure you get certified in a country or region you wish to work as a professional soccer manager.

Continue to Work Your Way Up

However, you must keep in mind that simply working as a coach doesn’t cut it if you want to be a professional soccer coach. You have to work strategically and with a vision. It may take anywhere between 3 years to even 10 years to become a professional soccer coach. In some cases, you may even find non-paying volunteer jobs – they are still worth it – after all, you are simply brushing up your resume for a bigger picture.

You can first start by applying for jobs as a high school, college, or amateur league soccer coach and continue to sharpen your skills. As you move further, after some time, start taking more ambitious risks.  You can even begin to apply for minor professional leagues and continue to coach for 2 to 3 years. During this time, you can then begin to make your presence known. Network, share resumes, portfolios, and certifications to different club members, and continue being resilient.

Even if you are hired by the teams, it is unlikely that you will be hired as a manager at the get-go. You are probably going to be hired at a low level managerial position if you are insistent with professional soccer clubs. However, it still is a good start and a great way for you to continue building your resume and ultimately, work your way up to the soccer manager position – it may take even up to 5 years but, it still worth the journey.

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