Congratulations! Your child made the travel soccer team. And you've raised your hand to be the team's manager. Now what? Here are six tips to help you successfully manage the team.
Leave the coaching to the coach
Most youth travel soccer associations contract with coaching organizations, instead of relying on parent volunteers. These coaching organizations are often affiliated with a professional club and adhere to a training philosophy as taught by certified coaches. As the manager, allow your coach to coach. Hopefully, the team's parents will follow your lead.
Communicate team business efficiently
The most time-consuming part of your job will be administrative. Scheduling games. Collecting forms and payments. And polling the parents on everything from what tournaments to enter to where to have the end-of-season party. So your families aren't inundated with messages, send out one email each Sunday night detailing the upcoming week's schedule. Only contact the parents more frequently if there's a change in plan, or if an urgent matter needs to be addressed.
Post the team's schedule online
It's also a good idea to post all practice and game information online. Most soccer associations set aside space on their Websites for each team. Or consider using one of the many online services that cater to the communication needs of team managers (examples include eteamz.com, leagueathletics.com, and teamsnap.com). That way, parents can easily access field directions and be reminded who has snack duties. Consider making the team schedule password-protected.
Help your parents and coach resolve issues amicably
The manager is the liaison between the families, the coach, and the soccer board. Typical team issues include playing time, the team's performance, and the commitment of the players, including punctuality and attitude. Listen to - don't judge - the parents' concerns and suggestions. Then create a productive forum where issues can be addressed and resolved.
Attend to the children with care, patience, and humor
Some might call a manager's sideline responsibilities glorified babysitting. But sharing sidelines is a wonderful way to spend time with your child and get to know their teammates. Yes, you'll be chasing after them to throw away their empty water bottles. But talking about the game, even attending to their twisted ankles with ice packs, often leads to an easy, genuine camaraderie.
Most importantly, think big picture
As the team manager, you have the opportunity to create a positive youth sports experience for all the families involved. For sure there will be heated, intense moments on and off the field. So be calm and respectful toward opposing teams, referees, and fervent fans. By emphasizing good sportsmanship and the joy of the game, your behavior will inspire others well beyond your tenure as manager. And your enthusiastic leadership will be a memory your child will treasure forever.
Author: Eileen S.