Being a coach, administrator, trainer, or educator in youth soccer is a job like any other. Why should anyone be expected to do it for free, or for minimum wage, or for less than minimum wage?
That’s the expectation in American youth soccer, though. Those who make money in youth soccer are often unnecessarily demonized.
Here’s the thing, nobody is getting rich off youth soccer. Sure, some DOC’s or executives might be making 6 figures, but why shouldn’t they?
This certainly isn’t the popular stance to take, but the notion that no one should be making money off youth soccer is completely misguided.
So, today Gary Kleiban and I discuss the issue and how it’s linked to other popular talking points such as “pay to play”, promotion and relegation, and the global soccer marketplace.
If you have questions about anything we cover, send them our way. We’d be happy to answer them in future episodes.
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Terry Ransbury says
You guys know that I was going to love this one. One thing that I would add is that the compensation is following the money. Back in the AYSO era, the top soccer money in the world was not great (by today’s standards). Way down the food chain, there was volunteerism. Now, with billionaires competing at the top level, they are demanding and paying for excellence. Because of this, I would suggest that the top is pulling up the quality of the youth level by the bootstraps. I hear from friends that played at the top level in that bygone that the quality at the youth level is much better today (their expert opinion, not mine). This excellence from above demands coaches dedicated and talented, like Brian, to be able to compete at the ultimate levels. Add to that, world-class support for the players (physio, psychology, nutrition etc.). To be competitive, requires money for travel to play at the appropriate level, money for talented coaches, players (at the pro level), and quality management. This is expensive and without subsidy from pro/rel, it is going to pull away from the socio/economical lower tiers. The bright side is that those with means will find some of that talent (a la the mining of talent in the Paris ghettos). Unfortunately, without pro/rel, there is not enough money to do that digging.
The line between expecting coaches to not make money and make money might be influenced by who’s paying. High school and college coaches are paid by third parties, while youth soccer coaches are paid directly by parents.
I also don’t think many parents give it much thought to the value they receive. I was able to reframe that value in a few parents minds by saying that I was thinking about giving myself a raise by taking up babysitting.