Professional coaching poll: what do consumers want?

UPDATED April 19 10:30pm: The polls are still open but voting has slowed and the numbers have coalesced around some of the choices. The pro coach profile that has emerged as most popular is as follows:

You’d like to see someone who is a strong teacher of technique (19%) and tactics (16%) who can also communicate their ideas strongly (18%) and is committed to continuing their professional development (15%) while having some experience coaching at this level (12%). You expect a minimum certification of B Provincial (52%) and feel that their coaching background should include experience at Metro/Selects (33%) or Y League (19%). While 26% of you feel that playing experience is not important, more felt that having some university or college playing experience was valuable (27%) with competitive adult level soccer like Metro Premier (18%) also being acceptable. If you were able to get someone who met all these criteria, you’d be willing to pay $1000-$1500 (32%) or maybe even $1500-$2000 (27%).

I’m not sure how interesting people find this but as someone who works as a professional youth soccer coach I feel it’s valuable and I’d guess a lot of organizations who hire pro coaches to run high end youth teams would also find it worth knowing.

Thanks for participating.


I’ve put together a series of polls to get at the question of what, from a parent (ie. consumer’s) point of view makes for a good professional coach. They’re very simple (not much choice on WordPress for polling. Could use third party but they limit responses to 100 generally) and only give rudimentary options for collecting answers and breaking down responses but should suffice for this.

There’s five questions. They cover minimum certification you expect (choose one from the list), playing experience you expect (choose one), previous coaching experience you think is relevant at this level (choose all that apply), coaching criteria you think is important (choose up to five from the ten listed) and the amount you’d be willing to pay if you got all the things you indicated were important to you in the first four questions.

Here we go. The polling software should limit you to one entry per computer. Don’t think we need to worry about ballot box stuffing anymore but please keep to just the one submission:

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23 Responses to Professional coaching poll: what do consumers want?

  1. K says:

    Bit surprised the “Experience at the age level” is currently low. Knowing how to coach kids of a certain age is critical of course, but actually knowing the age level and how they operate emotionally etc….critical.

  2. Richard says:

    Ideally at this level player participation should be free but I acknowledge it is early days yet for the program and we don’t live in an ideal world.

  3. Ras Island says:

    Again question – are we serious or are we just playing here?? If we are serious then the U17 and U18 age groups coaches need to have the CSA A License/ UEFA A License/ USSF A License in order to show proof that they can teach tactical elements of the game in 11v11 format/ develop season plans/ assess team performance in match analysis etc.

    U15 and U16 – B National/UEFA B License/ USSF B License

    U13 and U14 – B Provincial/USSF C License

    Coach education is critical (not certfication). That is why Holland is so successful at in football.

    2nd part we need to make it attractive ($$$) for former players to want to go into coaching (especially for females). I will be first to say from my playing background – I used to be one of those, ” I have played at a very high level” what could anyone possible tell me at a coaching course that I have not seen or been told by my coaches”? I am one of those lucky foreigners to have been coached by a former pro players/ coaches since age 10.

    When I attended my 1st coaching course in Canada, then US, then Europe – I realized how ignorant I had been. Playing and coaching is like night and day. I would say though I was still better than a parent coach with no soccer background but still not good enough to impact the top 1% that will make professional. (According to FIFA less than 1% of the world football players play professional football enough to earn a descent living).

    Coaching standards should have been the 1st creteria set when they sat down to plan HPL.

    • Gregor says:

      Good point about how different age groups perhaps need different types of coaches or rather coaches with more specialized knowledge. Personally, I was underwhelmed by the courses I took. First thing we were told at our B Prov was not to worry because everyone was going to be passed. And they were. The thought was that a decision on them had been made at B Prep that they were good enough to take the course so the instructors, who I won’t name, decided that meant they were good enough to get their full B Provincial. The content was decent I’ll admit but the value of the courses is diminished when you see how the pass/fail decisions are made. Only one person failed the B National I took and there was no shortage of people who literally couldn’t kick a ball properly.

      • Ras Island says:

        I agree with you Gregor our Coach Education needs to be specialized on different age group one is coaching to mirror LTAD Wellness to WC – UEFA also now has the UEFA A License for Youth Coaches different from coaching pros – same applies to their B License etc.

        I think our problem with CSA/BCSA Coach Education is that they educate recreational coaches same way as those who have a desire or want to go into elite coaching.

        There needs to be different standards: D Licenses – A Licences at each level
        – Elite Youth Coaching Education – for elite Academy, Metro – Provincial players U12 – 16

        – Recreational Coaching Education – club coach (

        – Professional Coaching Education – HPL U17/18, National Teams, MLS, PDL, NASL, USL 2 etc

        This is how the Dutch, German, English FA and even the NSCAA have structured their education……….Could they be right??

      • scott says:

        Community coaching courses are a good start for any parent/coach. After that the coaches ambition and communication skills are the crucial difference. I agree that at U15 and up for HPL a high level certification is the ideal. At all levels if the coach can’t demonstrate it, how the hell can they teach it?
        “we need to make it attractive ($$$) for former players to want to go into coaching”
        If I can get a few girls currently on a soccer scholarship at a local University to come out and help train a girls U12/13 group, I’m guessing the young girls will benefit a lot more than if I get my next level of coaching ticket. I’ve seen boys snap to attention and train as hard as they ever had, just because a former pro BRINGS HIS JOY OF THE GAME to the park to share. I’ve also seen boys look around at each other, confused and bewildered as a TD tries to run a session. Personality and communication skills are paramount. The certification process is far from perfect but at least it shows some time commitment. Personally I got some good ideas and inspiration from the official clinics I have taken. However I got some even better ideas from other seminars and clinics that don’t lead toward any official level of coaching ticket. Now if I’m paying top dollar for my child’s coaching I would like to see a resume with a fairly high level ticket. But for the money, I would really like to see them in action to see if they can back up the paperwork with excellent direction and interaction with a specific age and gender of player.

      • K says:

        I wonder if you shouldn’t reverse that. The “best” coaches should be at the younger ages to ensure the foundation – technical foundation. Not easy to find the right balance in a country such as this one.

  4. K says:

    The “courses” as they call them are not meant to be “courses” at all though. The word “course” suggests education. B Prep and up are “tests.” Yes, we always need to be open to learning, and being around good coaches for the week(end) certainly allows for that. BUT, you are not there to “learn.” You are there to “show you already know.”

    What needs to happen rather than adapt the testing (which I agree may actually need adapting!) is to focus more on the rest of the year – CSA and down need to provide educational opportunities and/or ongoing assessments. Coach education is the key, not coaching tests.

  5. Ras Island says:

    we need to treat elite coaches same way we treat teachers in schools. Who wants to have a volunteer parent teacher for their kid?? One who has good ideas and no “ticket” or coaching qualification?

    When we get to that stage when elite coaches are accountability by type of program they provide then we have a good system.

    TD are another group that need a different kind of education – the NSCAA has the Director of Coaching Diploma , perfect for TD and English FA has the Academy Director course. It is required different skills to work with Bronze players than with Gold or Provincial players in a club. Therefore training required to make sure TD can make the practice beneficial to bronze players rather than do a tactical session with them – getv them a fun game to play with learning involved but FUN.

  6. I Caramba says:

    Maybe I am slow to see this, but the details of the whitecaps program are on the web
    It appears they will continue prospects programming in the younger ages the way they always have. For outstanding players in the 1997-1999 age groups there are 30+ spots in this U14 bracket for BC players. At end of U15, players will graduate to U16 residency or not. Most will be well trained and well coached players going back into the HPL or community system.
    The reality here is that the professional club is setting up a system for elite (academy) players, the way a professional club would in other soccer countries. They are also creating a league their academy teams can play training games in (HPL). Hopefully the coaches in HPL will benefit by being brought into the whitecaps coaching fold, and the players will all benefit. As a community coach, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a couple of tournaments the whitecaps organized, and found whitecaps to be a class act. A major contrast with our local leagues at times.
    It’s hard to see a downside to all this, at the HPL (actually tier 2) and above level, for the players who want to commit and/or are selected. As time goes by, look to see players moving up into HPL/whitecaps in season and benefitting from the experience.
    The challenge now is can the community clubs reorganize to provide the age-appropriate technical focus, early, that players and parents will want to see. The idea of ‘no leagues at the early ages’ has been pushed for years. I expect you’ll start to see kids go into whitecaps prospects at U11 or so who have only ever played at TSS, RT or other outstanding academies. These kids will have been coached by coaches who are qualified, and have the (age-) appropriate skills to teach and encourage kids. The TDs of the academies will see to this. My prediction is that within a few years, a big % of players going into HPL/whitecaps will have bypassed community clubs (other than clubs with academies and TDs) entirely.

    • RR says:

      Very insightful (or is it inciteful :-))comment — particularly the final paragraph. I believe you’re bang on with your prediction.

    • Phil Hernandez says:

      A couple of points of clarification are in order in an otherwise intersting post…

      “It appears they will continue prospects programming in the younger ages the way they always have…”

      Well not really unless you are, you know, ignoring or forgetting about girl’s soccer. Dont feel bad. Many do:) The programming is changing for the girls. Where once there were two training sessions per week there are now “camps” offered four times per year. I have heard that there will also be tournaments twice per year, perhaps similar to the club series they used to host, from which players will be selected for the camps. There may also be other player identification activities. The preceding is relevant for the 2011-12 season only. The 2012-13 season has yet to evolve.

      “They are also creating a league their academy teams can play training games in (HPL).”

      Well it’s a bit of a stretch to say they created the league. But certainly they had a hand in it. The BCSPL is what is replacing, in theory, the twice weekly training sessions. I say in theory because it remains to be seen how the PL coaches will measure up against the existing Prospects coaches (Rich Fagan et al) who are excellent.

      For more details: WFC Girls Elite (with apologies if the html tag doesn’t work in which case copy and paste the url)

      Regarding younger players skipping community altogether until they hit HPL age. It could happen, and would be nice if it did, but I doubt it will for the following reasons:
      – there is relatively little “play” at academies – it is almost all training. Like it or not parents/players like to watch/play games. It is among other things a social activity that allows not just the parents but the whole family to come out and watch especially if the player is of exceptional quality. Tough to completely oust that mentality.
      – It is significantly more costly to train at an academy than to participate on a community team. Even though on a strictly quality basis, the value makes it worthwhile, in my opinion, not everyone will see it that way, especially when you factor in distance from home. Now if TSS were to open branches around the lower mainland…
      – Most clubs do in fact have (or are in partnership with) academy programs that, again, cost much less than private academies. Yes, you get what you pay for.
      – The private academies would themselves have to re-design their approach. Training is great but it doesn’t make you game-ready; and players will need to be game-ready before jumping to the PL.

      All that said, I think its an idea with merit that could work with a few tweaks here and there.

  7. Coachrich says:

    Great for CMF but doesn’t this water down their BCPSL teams in the process?

    Whitecaps FC Residency select fourteen from Coquitlam Metro-Ford

    April 21, 2011

    Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club is very proud to announce that 14 players have been selected to the Whitecaps Residency Program for the 2011-12 Season and have put forward the most players into this program from all BC clubs.

    Under 14 Residency Program
    Christopher Guerreiro 1999 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Milano
    Cole Kiez 1999 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Milano
    Frederik Boserup 1998 Coquitlam Metro Ford SC Spartans
    Kadin Chung 1998 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Spartans
    Erik Morden 1998 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Spartans
    David Norman 1998 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Euro
    Matteo Polisi 1998 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Euro
    Olamide Ajibike 1997 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Euro
    Evan Libke 1997 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Euro
    A.J. Lopez 1997 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Euro
    Marcello Polisi 1997 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Barca

    Under 16 Residency Program
    Brody Huitiema 1995 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Sparta
    Mathew Van der Eyden 1995 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Sparta
    Titouan Chopin 1995 Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC Sparta

    As a club we are proud of the programs and structure that we have in place to assist players reaching their full potential and goals of making programs such as the Whitecaps Full-Time Programming, Provincial Team programming, and National Team Programming. Each year our club continues to grow and build on our successes and we are proud to be recognized as one of the top clubs in British Columbia and Canada.

    The following coaches should be commended for their contribution to the development of these players: Les Krivak (U16 Sparta), Danny Jones (Under 16 Barca), David Norman (U14 Euro), Rob Mazzarollo (U14 Spartans), Joe Scigliano (U13 Milano). In many cases, these players have been with CMFSC since they were young boys and the club views this as a huge success that such a large number of players invited to join the Whitecaps program are coming from CMFSC.

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