High school soccer coaches are responsible for selecting and training student athletes, and fostering their development. Soccer coaches at the high school level prepare their teams for competitions while also communicating with parents and school administration to coordinate all events.
High school soccer seasons typically last anywhere from six to 12 weeks, depending on the league as well as playoff scenarios. Many states have their high school soccer seasons in the fall, though some feature spring seasons instead. Season scheduling aside, candidates for high school soccer coaching positions must possess a variety of qualifications to land jobs.
Teacher or Independent Hire
Many high schools enlist full-time employees of the school to take on the added responsibilities of coaching their boys' and girls' soccer teams. In most cases this means that a school will only hire coaches from within its immediate pool of teachers. However, some coaching opportunities are also available to non-teachers who have no pre-existing ties to a school. Individuals who work full time as teachers at high schools may only need a strong relationship with a school's athletic director and a healthy dose of enthusiasm to take on a coaching role with the soccer team. In contrast, independent hires with no other connections to a school usually have to possess some kind of coaching license and other relevant experience with the sport. In either case, earning the appropriate licenses and credentials certainly makes it easier to secure a coaching position and provide student athletes with a high-quality experience.
Official Coaching Credentials
Several prominent organizations offer official coaching credentials for high school soccer. For instance, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America recommends pursuing the NSCAA High School Coaches Diploma or NSCAA Premier Diploma. Similarly, U.S. Soccer features a National "B" License Course intended for coaches of players age 16 to college level. U.S. Soccer requires coaches to progress from the initial "E" license level up to the "C" level over the course of several years prior to applying for the "B" level program.
One other major entity is the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS). Those who complete the NFHS National Coach Certification Program become accredited interscholastic coaches with training specific to high school soccer. Coaching license guidelines and programs vary greatly by state and school district, but virtually all programs cover a wide range of topics including managerial issues, student-athlete coaching techniques, practice strategies and game tactics.
Additional Training and Qualifications
Apart from earning official licenses and demonstrating an expert knowledge of soccer, high school coaches typically have to obtain a few other certifications and clearances prior to starting work. First aid and CPR certifications rank as two of the more common qualifications. In addition, prospective coaches generally have to submit to an FBI background check and pass other criminal background clearances before they will be allowed to work with school-age children.
Teachers who take on extra work coaching school soccer teams often earn a small salary bonus, whereas independent hires tend to earn a salary or stipend for their efforts. Compensation varies based on the region as well as whether a school is public or private. The standard salary range for high school soccer coaches hovers between $2,000 and $7,000 per season, according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. Some coaches may make significantly more or less depending on their circumstances.