I am now 61 years old and started refereeing when I was the transposed number, 16. So I’ve come across all sorts of youth soccer coaches and trainers in 45 years of refereeing. Here is my view what makes a good coach:

1) The coach greets the opposing coach and referee before the match. For more on this point, read Randy Vogt’s full article on why coaches should always greet each other before every game. (Read Here)

2) The coach emphasizes fun and fundamentals, not winning. Coaches who emphasize winning often have kids who play tight and are afraid of making mistakes. I overheard one good coach say during a parents’ meeting, “Try not to tell your child that this is an important game.”

3) No players linger on the bench

4) Any commentary to the officials is respectful and comes from a place of knowing the rules. Not something like, “He can’t play the ball while he’s on the ground,” which is generally not a foul for dangerous play. Players and parents get their cues from the coach on how to treat the ref so a good coach is ALWAYS respectful.

5) Not saying one thing and then doing the opposite. I heard a coach tell his players at halftime on an adjacent field, “Let the other team complain to the ref, you be quiet.” Too bad that he did not follow his own advice as the ref dismissed him with a red card several minutes later as he continuously started berating the ref. It even went downhill from there as that coach’s players started yelling at the ref, who spoke with an accent, to go back to what they perceived to be his native country.

How many of the five points above does your child’s coach fulfill? The more the coach fulfills, the better chance games will go smoothly plus there is also a much better chance that you and your child will enjoy youth soccer.

Longtime ENYYSA referee Randy Vogt