Coaching pathways for travel soccer have been around for decades. An examination of various state associations and other organizations shows that similar guides for grassroots coaches are nearly non-existent. This is because very little coaching education is offered, or in some cases not recognized. Maryland takes the opposite approach by being transparent in showing what major coaching education providers are out there, and showing what is generally available – whether offered by MSYSA or not. All coaches should learn to understand the complete environment they are in. Since there are no absolute requirements in grassroots, coaches have freedom to use what MSYSA makes widely available as a standard, and whatever else suits their needs or their club needs.
MSYSA highly recommends that the NSCAA level 1 online course be the start point for any new coach in Maryland for formal education. The course can be completed at any time, and any place, even immediately after volunteering with a club. MSYSA also recommends for coaches of all ages to take the free, 30 minute, CDC Heads-Up Course for concussion prevention and management. These are essentials for the first season coaching.
Following these, the highly recommended course is the MSYSA foundation class. This is an in-person course conducted at a central location for 2-3 hours, which focuses only on how to plan for and conduct practices with youth teams in your age group.
Coaching education – represented by a pathway – is not a short term or single season effort. It takes place over many seasons for those who continue coaching. The pathway simply shows a logical progression – with options - over time. Good coaches will have perhaps a general, long term self-development plan, based on their free time available, cost (if any), and partly based on other forms of learning besides formal education.