Four Components of Club Soccer (Part 2)

By Dave Simone

Last month, we examined two of the four necessary components in club soccer, which were: Organization, Planning and Leadership, and Facilities. Next we examine the final two: Staffing and Programming:

Staffing is an integral and essential part of what the club can offer to its players. Coaches directly interact, and have an impact upon, the one product in the game: players. The technical people must have a capacity to manage aspects of organization, communication, programming, education and scheduling. All of these areas have implications in player development. Coaches hired into the club bring:

I. Experience and expertise

II. Capacity to influence the organization

III. Suitability

IV. Professionalism

V. Ability to impact a player’s development

VI. Credentials; Education, Licenses

Appointing a qualified Director of Coaching (DOC) or Technical Director (TD) is an important step in a club’s development. The club DOC / TD should retain an active role in coaching players and not become a “coaching administrator”. Along with a role in coaching the DOC should have specific responsibilities in club management, managements of technical staff, development of / education of technical staff, budgeting process, development of and implementation of programming, comprehensive competitive planning. Some criteria include:

I. “A” License, National Youth License

II. Experience both in playing and coaching

III. Scope of experiences with coaching, management outside the club (college, ODP, national teams, other successful clubs)

IV. Leadership

The DOC / TD is responsible for developing and formulating a technical plan. This is the blueprint for player development. The DOC / TD needs to function with autonomy in developing and implementing the technical plan. They also have the responsibility to present the technical plan, justify the budgetary cost and rationale that went into its development. The DOC and coaching staff are the experts in this area.

The extent of a club’s programming amounts to what it’s able to offer after registering its players and teams. This includes both recreational and competitive players. Programming to affect development must amount to more than two training sessions and one competitive game per week. Organized programming is necessary because:

I. The lack of “free play”.

II. Decrease in Physical Education programs previously offered in the school system (movement education, motor development).

III. Increasing role of privatized public recreation (sport clubs, YMCA, etc)

Programming has a direct relationship with the expertise of the technical staff and facilities.

Programming may include:

1. Organized “free play”, “street soccer”.

2. Movement education to address the development of balance and agility.

3. Collegiate / ODP preparation for potential elite performers.

4. Cross training programs that emphasize speed, strength, agility, balance and power through a variety of activities such as bounding.

5. Player development programs aside and in addition to participation with their club team. For instance, programs which provide training and competition for more talented players regardless of age.

6. Coaching education / development for those working in the club.

7. Qualified goalkeeping coaches.

8. Alternatives to tournaments and the problems associated with “tournamentitis”.

9. Player Development Academies.

Dave Simeone brings nearly thirty years of coaching and managing experience combined from youth, college, Olympic Development, U.S. National Teams and the National Coaching Schools. Simeone earned his “A” license and National Youth License from U.S. Soccer and the National Diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

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