Becoming a Recreational Soccer Coach
Posted by: Regan Brown | U6-U8 Program Director
The Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club is excited to welcome you into the fun and engaging world of coaching! As a club, we appreciate coaches of all experience levels and look forward to adding you to our Rapids family. We trust our coaches to carry out our developmental mission and vision with all of our players. No matter what program or age group you are a part of, we want you to be informed on what to expect as a member of the Rapids Youth Soccer team.
We’ve broken down our program into the following sections. Please use this information as a resource if you are unsure about anything in your coaching journey. If you have any questions, reach out to our office at [email protected] or 303.399.5858.
The Rapids Way
The Rapids Way is defined by the experience each individual player has from the time they enter the Club to the time they graduate. From a technical perspective, we focus on establishing an individual foundation prior to teaching group actions and tactics. One of our primary goals is to get as many individual touches on the ball to create confident players. All levels of our programming can be broken down into four key pillars of the game: technical, tactical, physical, and psychosocial. Together, these pillars form a distinct style of play that goes beyond winning and losing games.
For a more comprehensive explanation of what this looks like throughout the Rapids feel free to read this blog.
Your best support as a coach will be found through your age-group Program Director. Our Program Directors are all equipped with the program-specific knowledge needed to answer your questions or direct you to specific resources. Once you sign up as a coach, you will be connected with your Program Director. If you don’t hear anything before the start of the season please look at our webpage and find their contact information to reach out.
We understand that becoming a coach can be a daunting task. If you are interested in connecting with a veteran coach for mentorship, reach out to your Program Director. Youth soccer can present unique challenges, and it may be beneficial to talk to someone who has found success in coaching.
Flow of Communication
Our Coaches and Team Administrators are the primary source of communication between Rapids Youth Soccer and our teams. Please try to answer questions from your team as best you can. If you are unable to provide answers, please direct the question to your Program Director. With thousands of players, parents, and coaches, it is important that we maintain the flow of communication to properly address questions in a timely fashion.
The amount of equipment that a coach may receive from Rapids Youth Soccer is based entirely on the program they are a part of. In general, we try to provide two cones per player, enough pinnies for half the team, a game day ball, and a first aid kit. Feel free to reach out to your Program Director for more specifics on what is available to you and your team.
Rapids Youth Soccer works to provide our coaches with the resources they need to feel comfortable and confident in front of their team. We have created materials specific to each program: Soccer Start, U6-U8, U9-U10, and U11+. You can find these resources in our online coaching portal. In addition, our coaching portal provides a forum where coaches can openly discuss issues and tactics that work for their team.
You must create a logon in order to have access to all this great information. Click here to register as a Rapids Youth Soccer coach.
We pride ourself on the support we provide coaches who want to continue their coaching education. Rapids Youth Soccer will reimburse any coach that takes their USSF F License online. In addition, we offer several in-house coaching education opportunities and regularly provide videos and blog posts to help our coaches. If you are interested in expanding your coaching knowledge don’t hesitate to start that conversation with your Program Director.
Our new player and coach registration system, Bonzi Team, is a fantastic resource to plan and communicate with your team. Check out our blog for more details on how to use this great resource. Bonzi Team will allow you to view your roster, take attendance, send group emails and/or text, post events to the team calendar, and make announcements. There is even a photo album where members can upload pictures throughout the season!
One of the biggest questions that our coaches are asked is when and where game days will be. From U6 on, game days are held on Saturdays at different parks throughout the Denver area. A week before the start of the season we post all scheduling information on Bonzi Team. Bonzi Team is consistently updated with any changes that occur in time or location, and is where parents should be directed with scheduling questions.
Every program sends out a weekly newsletter throughout the season with important information for you as a coach. The newsletter includes the training for the week, helpful tips, and announcements from the club. Please be sure that your Program Director has an updated email address that you can check regularly to stay up to date on important club information. If you are not receiving these newsletters, please let us know as soon as possible.
Long-Term Player Development
The Rapids is committed to the long-term development of each of our players. Not all children enter the sport of soccer at the same time or level, and the way they develop can differ. It is our responsibility to make sure that our players are in the appropriate playing environment to reach their full potential. As a result, we offer many different training and playing options to allow for player growth over the longer term. For a more in-depth look, check out this blog.
Coaches will be equipped with the proper tools and forms from their Program Director to best evaluate and track their players. It is important to provide feedback on your players, as coaches have the most in-depth perspective on their player’s development. Program Directors will also be present throughout the season at different training sessions, kick arounds, and game days to assist in tracking the development of our young players as.
Each program has a specific curriculum created by the professional staff at Rapids Youth Soccer. We focus on delivering the main components of the game (technical, tactical, physical, and psychosocial) in a method that is appropriate to the age, ability, and interest if each individual player. Depending on the individual program, the curriculum may be provided in its entirety before the season starts, or it will be included a week at a time in the weekly newsletter communication. However, all sessions will be uploaded to the Coaches Portal online making it easily accessible at all times.
Soccer Start: Teams meet once a week at a specific time and location designated and communicated by the Program Director. If you do not know your schedule, contact your Program Director as soon as possible.
U6-U8: Beginning at the U6 level, parent volunteers take over as coaches for all the teams. At this age, teams generally practice once a week. You have control over when and where practices take place for your team. Most coaches survey the other parents of the team and vote on the best day and time to practice. From there, they can look for a local park that is relatively close to everyone. Once a training schedule has been agreed upon the coach can update that on Bonzi Team.
U9-U10: Before the season starts the Program Director will communicate with coaches in order to find the best day, time, and location for practices to be held. Our U9-U10 teams practice twice a week. Once the schedule is set, the information will be posted on Bonzi Team.
Most schedules posted on our schedule webpage have a link to a map of the park under the location section of the spreadsheet. Coaches looking for a field to practice on in Denver can use the ‘Find a Park’ feature on the Denver Parks and Rec website. However, in order to see what parks have been used for practice by the Rapids in the past, coaches should go the U6-U8 program page. The fields marked on this map have been used by other coaches. The U6-U8 Program Director can assist volunteer parent coaches in finding a practice location and letting them know field availability.
Team Volunteers (Team Manager, Assistant Coach)
It’s important to involve other parents on the team to build a strong community, as well as make your job as a coach easier. There are two specific roles that parents can take to help with the team. An Assistant Coach often steps in as the coach when the head coach is unable to attend a training session or gameday. They offer support wherever necessary on the team and help make things run smoothly. Team Managers help out with the logistics of running a team. This can range from organizing a team pizza party to updating contact information for the other parents. This role helps make sure that everyone is on the same page and receiving the same communication.
At the end of each season, your Program Director will reach out with next steps for your team. There are several key transition ages in our program, such as Soccer Start to U6, U8 to U9, and U10 to U11, that will have significant changes for the team and game rules. We will work with you to provide a smooth transition for your team. Don’t forget that the Rapids also offers different offseason training options for all age groups that allow players to continue their progress. These options can be found here.