How to coach Soccer

At DSL we recommend:


Taking the USSF Grassroots online 4v4 course.

Using the Mojo Mobile App to learn or improve your drills. (Mojo Sports Mobile App is free on Apple and Google Stores).


The skills

From Mojo Sports

Like any sport, technical skills are key to improving and, well, winning. That’s why every great youth soccer coach has one thing in common: they teach the basics.

Dribbling: Emphasize small touches and ball control. Players should tap the ball using the inside and outside of the foot, not the toes.

Passing: Focus on passing accurately and quickly, whether on the ground, in the air, or on the go. And don’t forget about trapping and receiving the pass, too.

ShootingFirst, get them to kick with their laces. Then expand their repertoire, like shooting with the inside of the foot when closer to the goal.

Attacking: Emphasize spacing and how to maintain possession through passing. After all, the ball moves faster on a pass versus dribbling.

Defending: Teach them to apply pressure on defense by quickly coming in on an angle, closing down the space, and always moving their feet.

Goalkeeping: Goalies get to work on scooping, catching, and punching the ball, as well as footwork and punting.

Practice 101

From Mojo Sports

Running an effective youth soccer practice is all about being prepared. Kids thrive in a structured, fun setting — and here’s how you can provide just that.

And last but not least, keep it positive. Feedback is best when it’s centered around player development — not results. It’s easy to applaud a player’s goal. But it’s more effective to recognize their efforts.

Parents FTW

From Mojo Sports

Parents are wonderful cheerleaders… until they’re not. And in those moments, coaching can be tough.

Calm, confident, proactive communication is the key — even when dealing with that parent on the sideline (you know the one). Before the first practice, send a friendly welcome email, or hold a team meeting to let everyone know that while cheering and good sportsmanship is encouraged, critiquing and yelling is not. Recruit your A-team — assistant coaches, team parents and the like. Build rapport by chatting with parents before or after the game, offering encouraging comments about their child’s progress.

Lastly, act confident in your role as coach — understand the rules, be prepared, and, you know, know your players’ names. Building relationships is easier once you’ve earned their respect.

Game time

From Mojo Sports

Game time is go time — for your players. Experienced coaches don’t actually coach much from the sidelines on game day. They use it as a chance to see what their players have mastered at practice and where they need to work. Strike that balance between under-coaching and over-coaching.

It’s good to think about pre- and post-game routines as well. Greet the refs and other coaches, show good sportsmanship, dish out all the high fives, and thank everyone for participating. Always leave on a good note — win or lose.

The FUNdamentals of a great season

From Mojo Sports

Here’s the secret of youth soccer: It’s the experience that keeps them coming back, not the Xs and Os. Warm, positive feedback — the more specific, the better — is always welcome. Be sure to celebrate your team at the end of the season, and remind them how much they’ve grown. 

Bottom line: Focus on growth — not your record — because that’s what you’ll remember, too.