Who they are and where to find them
| 3 min read
Once registration closes, the scramble begins. Do all your teams have coaches?
Lorinda Mayfield, the founder of Utah North Youth Soccer, fills more than 100 coaching spots each season. It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. As she told MOJO, “Coaches are the foundation to a rec soccer program.”
Here are seven ways that Mayfield finds the right people to keep her program standing strong.
Look to families who have more than one soccer player in the program year after year. They might be willing to coach multiple teams if you help by making the logistics work. Mayfield tells parents, “If you will sign up to coach both kids’ teams, we will fix the schedule so that you can make it to both games each week.”
Mayfield has been involved in youth soccer for more than 30 years. She is now coaching the kids of kids she coached years ago. She looks to those parents to help out the program they once enjoyed. “Why don’t you give back?,” she asks them. “I tell them, You can do it, you know how to coach.” A little encouragement from a beloved coach goes a long way.
“I ask parents if there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings that would be willing to coach,” says Mayfield. “People don’t realize that anyone can coach.” One of her favorite new coaches is the boyfriend of a player’s mom. He shows up 20 minutes early every practice to set up the field.
Returning coaches know the drill—literally. Mayfield works hard to retain good coaches year after year. It pays off when the next season is about the start. “This year we had 75 returning coaches out of about 100 teams,” she says. Building relationships with your coaches will help you give them what they need to return the following season.
Showing up early—every time—is one of the most important parts of being a coach. Be on the lookout for candidates with this quality. Mayfield raves about military personnel from a nearby base who volunteer to coach.
“Anybody from the military has always been dependable,” she says. “They’re consistent. They’re not flaky.” Plus, they stay after practice to help put the 22 nets away. If only we were all this lucky.
There’s no better place to get the word out than on social media. Mayfield uses it often, but is careful with potential coaches, especially when they don’t have any history with the club. Do your research and ask around. She once had a current coach warn her about an interested party—and that was the only red flag she needed. “The kids are my number one priority,” she says.
Putting a warm body in a coach’s spot doesn’t cut it in youth sports. “It’s got to be a good experience for the kids,” says Mayfield. If a person isn’t coming across as right for the job, they’re probably not going to end up being a good coach. “Go with your gut,” says Mayfield. Intuition is often your best tool.