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FAQ – The Coach’s Clipboard

The Coach's Clipboard

Yes, more information can be found on our support site.

Yes, using our custom event tool. More information can be found on our support site.

A steward is someone entrusted with safeguarding, protecting, watching over. AYSO launched the concept of Stewards of the Game in order to make player safety the number one priority on game day. Coaches from each team and the referees are asked to work together as a team of stewards to focus on player safety including pre-game player equipment checks, field inspections, review of concussion protocols as well as checking in with each other at game stoppages.

Stewards of the Game are also asked to help maintain kids zone sideline behavior and to promote good sportsmanship.

Yes. All head coaches and assistant coaches are required to have age appropriate training before working with their teams.

Beginning August 1, 2010, coaches and assistant coaches in the Under-6 (U-6) divisions in all AYSO Regions were required to have AYSO’s age-appropriate training when they take the field. Each year thereafter, the training requirement was been extended to the coaches and assistant coaches in the next age division until, by the 2015 membership year, every AYSO coach and assistant coach at every level should now be appropriately trained for the age division of the team that they coach.

No. Coaches with no training certifications are required to attend the appropriate level of training. Training is a benefit. It makes coaches – even long time coaches – better coaches. And better coaches make a more enjoyable experience for the players.

For coaches that have been working outside of AYSO who possess a USSF certification, AYSO has a Coach Reciprocity Agreement in which they can be cross certified over to an appropriate AYSO coach certification. These coaches must still complete a volunteer application and have Safe Haven and CDC Concussion training in place.

Yes. There are many options available to secure the needed training, including online courses, enabling even a last-minute volunteer to get the training that will make him/her more effective and will provide a better experience for the players and their families. All our members must know the importance AYSO assigns to properly trained coaches. For that occasional situation where the regular coach is unable to attend the game, another age-appropriately trained coach can serve as a substitute.

Contact your Section or Area Coaching Staff. They can help arrange for the instructors to provide the needed coach training courses at a place and time convenient for your Region’s volunteers.

To schedule age-appropriate coach training, you can contact one of the following:

• Your Region Coach Administrator

• Your Area Coach Administrator

• Your Section Coach Administrator

It’s a chance to spend quality time with your child and it’s fun. It’s a great break from work. It makes you feel good. It’s a great way to give back to the community.

The rewards come in the form of helping kids have fun at a game or practice, and contributing to their individual skills and teamwork. There is also a great sense of accomplishment when you reach the end of a season, look back and see how far the team has come.

Yes! AYSO provides training and materials. Being a coach involves skills you probably already have in addition to specific soccer knowledge. If you are uncertain, try being an assistant coach. Your Region’s Coach Administrator will be happy to try to match you up with somebody with a little more experience.

Coaches run one or two weekday practices (depending upon the age group that they are coaching) and a game at the weekend. Coaching in AYSO is all about teaching and encouraging kids, and having a lot of fun. Parents will help with the team’s organization tasks.

You must be 18 years old or older to be an AYSO coach. Though AYSO appreciates and encourages young people to participate in all aspects of soccer including coaching, an individual under 18 years of age may not be listed as the head coach or assistant coach on the official roster, due to liability issues. They can certainly assist in training and even make decisions regarding the team, but can’t ever be left alone with players and can’t be listed on the official roster.

You will need to sign up to coach during the online registration process when you register your kids to play. If you have a child that is already on a team that has a coach, just let the coach know that you are interested in coaching and would like to help. Most of our coaches will be delighted to utilize you and can help you get started.

No. Anyone over the age of 18 can volunteer to be a coach in AYSO. Generally speaking, most coaches are the parents of a child on the team; however, AYSO welcomes and encourages anyone who wants to volunteer to come out and coach!

AYSO makes a commitment to provide a safe place for children to play and compete. The coach has a responsibility to help make the environment safe, as well as fun. To ensure the safety of both children and volunteers, each volunteer is required to take a short in-person or online-training session called Safe Haven™. It focuses on safety and appropriate behavior with children as well as first aid and other on-field issues. Agreeing to a background check is also required for each volunteer.

AYSO offers coach training for every age group. The various levels are as follows and each one has its own course: Playground Soccer, U-6, U-8, U-10, U-12, Intermediate and Advanced.

AYSO’s 6-U, 8-U, 10-U and 12-U courses are all considered “stand-alone” courses, meaning that you may take any one of them without having taken any prior courses. The 12-U course then becomes the prerequisite for taking the Intermediate course, which is the prerequisite for taking the Advanced course. The U-6 and U-8 are available as stand alone online training components. The classroom portion of the 10-U, Intermediate and Advanced courses are also available online at AYSOU. 12-U will follow later in 2018.



A record of all coach training is stored in AYSO’s online database, Blue Sombrero . Every individual that is registered as an AYSO volunteer will have a profile, and with that, a record of all their training is attached to the individual’s file. Once in the database you may view your own records by going to My Account and looking at your transcript history. AYSOU will also provide a transcript history of any online training that you have taken on AYSOU.

There is no requirement to coach younger players before coaching older players. The only requirement is that you have the age-specific certification, meaning if you are coaching U-10-you’ve taken the U-10 coaching certification course.

True to one of AYSO’s founding philosophies, Everyone Plays™, every player must play at least 50% of every game. Additionally, it is strongly recommended that no player, play four (4) quarters before all players have played three (3) quarters. The only exception to this rule would be a serious injury that truly prevents the player from participating or if the players arrive to the game after it has begun, in which case the following National Rules and Regulations apply: …if the player arrives in the first quarter, the player must play a minimum of two (2) of the remaining three (3) quarters …if the player arrives during the second or third quarter, the player must play a minimum of one (1) quarter.

AYSO recommends that all children under the age of 12 play small-sided soccer (less than 11 players per team) for the following reasons:

Young soccer players need special consideration:
They are children playing a child’s game. They must be regarded as young children, not mini adults. They are essentially self-oriented and relate naturally to one or two others, not to large groups. Fun and activity factors must be a central part of a child-centered program.

Educators agree that early learning experiences are the most important and produce the most retention:
Most children cannot sustain prolonged activity. They function best in suitable starts and stops (rest periods). Concentration span is limited, so frequent changes of pace and activity are essential.

Children love to learn:
They learn a great deal more when the ratio of teacher (coach) to student (player) is reduced. With small numbers and the simple nature of soccer, the best teacher is the game itself. With fewer players on the field, each player gets more touches on the ball and has greater opportunity to change location in a fast-flowing, fluid game. Playing small-sided allows players to make simpler decisions and develop an earlier, better understanding of organization of play. Smaller fields mean more players are directly involved in play, creating increased levels of both concentration and interest. The reduced field size encourages more shots on goal by all players, therefore more goals scored.

Residual benefits:
Parents are introduced to the game in smaller, more understandable doses. Small-sided soccer is a great place to train new referees. The rest of the world is playing small-sided games to develop player skills and we are part of the soccer world.

All coaching courses that are registered with the National Office are entered into All registered volunteers are allowed access to AYSOU. Once in the AYSOU database, you will click on Live Courses and navigate to the age group training that you are looking for. You can also reach out to your local Region to see if there are any scheduled training classes in your area.

AYSO will provide each coach with some basic equipment every year: some cones, a soccer ball and some first aid supplies. Otherwise, coaches are expected to provide their own equipment. You can obtain equipment at the AYSO Store which carries everything you will need.

Accreditation by an authorizing agency attests to and approves our programs as meeting a prescribed standard. Accreditation applies to our programs, the way that they are delivered, and who delivers them. Through accreditation, an outside, credentialed institution grants recognition that we maintain reputable standards. The National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) Standards Accreditation – Accreditation and adherence to NCACE’s national standards provides AYSO with across the board recognition and validity from colleges, universities, high school athletic associations, national governing bodies of sport, youth sports organizations, and others for AYSO’s certification programs.

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