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First Time - New Coach

Orientation for a First Time Coach

For the first time coach AYSO can be overwhelming.  
There is a lot to know about how we are organized and the initial steps you need to take to get ready.  

Open another browser window next to this one, and go to this same web site,,
so that as you are directed to review another page of information, 
you can read it in the other window without losing your place in this window.

Steps to Get Organized

Initial Registration:  You are probably already registered in our national database of volunteers,, but if not, do it now.

Safe Haven & Concussion Awareness Training:  If you have not already, take these two online courses under the menu item, Volunteering.

Coach Training;  Check out what clinics you need and when they are available at  You can check your registration and training status at this page.

Background Knowledge:  Please review the information in the right column on this page, and then proceed here.

General Preparation:  Hover over the Coach menu in the other browser window, and you will see a drop-down list of items.  In the second block of items, are entries like Kinder Divisions or Under 8.  These pages tell you information about the specifics of each division.  

You should look at the appropriate page for your division and make sure you understand it.  The Kinder page offers a Kinder Coach Guide, while the other pages offer downloadable PDF Coaching Manuals.  The coaching manuals are great preparatory material, and those web pages hold additional information of how we operate in Palo Alto.  Read both the web pages and the manual.

Your Team Assignment:  New players are registering through the month August for the Fall Program, and through March for the Spring Program.  At the end of the registration period your Division Commissioner, aka DC, will form teams, assigning players and coaches.

Email your DC, to confirm you are preparing to coach, using an email address of the pattern, where g is girls and 8 is for under 8.  Then, when you login you will see the additional tab, Coach, as shown on the left.  Your child will automatically be on your team.  

Your DC will be in communication with you to make sure you are fully certified and registered, and will assign you a team number.  Once the DC has coaches assigned to all the team numbers and registration is nearly over, the DC will then assign players, and the teams will take shape.  

When the teams are ready, the DC will inform you by email that the rosters are ready for review.  At that time there is a 24 hour, or so, window for you to check out your roster and make sure there are no issues.  There rarely are any issues. 

After review, the DC will open the rosters to parents.  At that time you may find parents starting to contact you, as they then can see in the system that you are their child's coach.  If you login, you can see your Team Page, under the Coach tab on the left.  Your game schedule may not yet be assigned. 

Getting Your Team Organized:  As soon as your DC tells you that your rosters are visible to the parents, you should contact your parents.  This is easily done by logging in and using the, Send Mail button at the bottom of the Team Page.  You will want to hold a parent meeting asap.  Invite them to a 1 hour meeting to meet them and discuss team formation issues.  Read the parent's meeting portion of the Pre-Season Checklist, available on the Coaching menu at the top of this website.  At the parent meeting you are going to introduce yourself, talk about coaching and the team, and recruit 2 referee volunteers and 1 Team Manager. 

Some coaches try to leave the first parent meeting until their first practice. This does not work well because you need your 2 parent referees to start their training, and you need your Team Manager to get your uniforms. Procrastinating on this task can put your whole team experience off to a hasty, scrambling, recovery mode start.  

Equipment and Uniforms:  You pick up your Equipment from the locker, and your Team Manager picks up the uniforms from a different locker, although both lockers are located in the same complex, we keep the disposition and tasks of uniforms and equipment separate.  The days that are available for you to pick up are on the Regional Calendar widget on our home page,  Read the topics to the right on this page for more information.  Remember:  Fly your colors when your are the visiting, away team.  HOME: WHITE, AWAY: BLUE

Practice Days and Location:  Your practice days and location are provided by your DC.  Email your DC if you don't know.

Your First Training:  Your first training will be different from all subsequent trainings because you are meeting your players and getting some administrative and team formation details accomplished.
  • meet the players
  • collect 2 signed/dated player forms from each player
  • Team Manager distributes the uniforms and records player jersey numbers
  • you commence your first training 
Prepare your training plan ahead of time.  On the pages under the Coach menu are links for each division.  Feel free to grab a lesson plan and make it your own.

Your Second Training:  Some players arrive early, get them busy with a drill, don't let them stand around waiting for more to show up.  Always combine warm-up exercises and stretches with a soccer skill, such as dribbling around the field rather than running a lap.

Your First Game:  Your team is all excited for the first game.  And you have no idea how your team will perform.  Will they hold their own?  WIll they crush the opponent?  Will your team get crushed.  

An important part of your coaching responsibility now kicks in.  Because in AYSO, you and your opposing coach have to manage the game to a close score, no matter how disparate the relative strengths of the teams.  Your DC did as much as possible to ensure balanced teams, but no amount of magic seems to guarantee good balance.  You need to prepare to deal with a lopsided score by reading carefully the page, Managing Strong vs Weak Teams, under the Coaching menu.  Be prepared.

Coach & Referee Social:  There is a monthly Coach and Referee Social on the Regional Calendar on our home page.  Please join us each month as we socialize with pizza and beer and talk about our coaching and referee issues.

Good luck, and have fun this season !!
Background Knowledge

Sign-Up:  All volunteers must be signed up and take the appropriate clinics; Coach training to ensure quality in our programs, and Safe Haven to ensure liability issues are addressed, yours and ours.

More Background You May Find Helpful

AYSO Approach:  AYSO is about kids having fun and building community.  We do not try to simply win games, we try to deliver maximum fun for all the players.  You and your opposing coach work together to deliver great game experiences, including preventing blowouts, where games are lopsided with scores of more than 4 points difference between the teams.  Read the page, Managing Strong vs Weak Teams on the Coach menu.

This cannot be stressed enough, especially in the u8 and U10 divisions of our Instructional Programs. Winning is not the primary goal, and the persons best able to deliver to our players and parents the experience they expect from AYSO, is you and your opposing coach.  In AYSO, you and your opposing coach are PARTNERS.  Talk to your partner and collaborate before, and even during, each game.

Game Formats:  Each division has a different format for play, for skills development, for training methods.  Read the page under the menu appropriate to your division, listed in the second block of links in the drop down under Coach.  Be sure to read the whole page, and download the PDF manual for U8 and up.  The manual will guide you on the age-appropriate level of instruction in our curriculum.

Equipment:  All equipment is provided to you.  You pick it up from the locker and return it at the end of the season.  It is well organized and all you have to do is show up at the right time and a locker volunteer will help you organize your kit, based on the division you are coaching.  You need to know your division and team number to get the right size and amount of equipment.  Full instructions for this are at the page, Equipment Pick Up and Return, on the Coach menu.  The events are on the calendar widget on our home page. 

Team Manager:  You may have a Team Manager already appointed to your team by the DC.  You can determine this by logging in and looking at the Volunteers under your coach tab.  If you don't have a Team Manager, ask for a volunteer at the Parents Meeting that you will conduct.  Note, you must have a Team Manager.  The Team Manager manages uniform distribution and collection, and assigns snack duty.  We strongly ask that you do not attempt to manage the uniforms yourself.  It is a big task and you need to focus on coaching. 

Injuries:  One of your players, or perhaps your referee, or even you, might be injured during a training session or a game.  All incidents, including sit-outs for potential concussion, or bangs or sprains, need to be documented in the, Injuries and Incidents Report, available on the Coaching menu.  This is required for insurance and liability issues. 

Incidents - Kids Zone:  Kids Zone violations by anyone need to be documented as an incident in an Injuries and Incidents Report, available on the Coaching menu.  Kids Zone is explained under the Parent's Guide menu.

Coach Kick-Off Meeting (Fall Season):  Attend the pre-season coach's meeting for orientation and meet your fellow coaches and your Division Commissioner; your partners.  Different divisions meet separately.  The meetings are held in the few days before the season starts, in the evening.  They are listed on the Regional Calendar on the home page.

Game Cards:  You print your game cards before game day using the system.  After logging in, look for Game Cards under the coach tab.  The referee is responsible to enter your game results information from the game card into the system after the game.  100% entry of all games is necessary.  We use the information to track players from season to season, and to be sure our policies regarding play time are being observed.

We do not want the children or parents to focus on the score in U8.  But, we do need the information in the game cards, including the score and who scored.  Note that you need 2 game cards per game, one for each field in these divisions. 

Make sure your game cards are entered into system by the referee, within 48 hours of the game finish. 

Team Administration:  Our system tracks all players, volunteers, practice fields, game schedules and more.  Some of the information is guidance to you and your team, such as game schedule.  All parents can see the game schedule, roster, etc.  Some of the information is only for you, such as Statistics and Evaluations.  Some of the information is for you to enter, to communicate information to your parents.  For example, the Team Page.  For guidance on completing those fields, refer to the page, Team Administration under the Coach menu.

Statistics:  When you log in you can see the statistics for your players as you try to balance the play time.  This can help you make choices for your next game on who needs more game time vs a player that has an abundance of game time.  Remember our guideline, we want all players to be playing at least 3/4 of each game.

Evaluations:  At the end of the season you will evaluate your players.  This is done on the Evaluations page under the coach tab after logging on.  You will be evaluating your players based on how you think they fit into the general pool of players in your division.  But don't worry if you think you might be evaluating too lightly or too strongly compared to other teams.  We will normalize your evaluations with the other teams, afterward.  These evaluations are important to ensure balanced teams next season.  Don't skip this final step of the season. 

Club Coaching:  As a coach in AYSO we ask you to agree to our policy regarding club.  You can read the policy statement at, Coaching Policy Regarding Club Soccer.  If you can not agree to this policy contact your DC and the Regional Commissioner right away.  By accepting an appointment as a coach in Palo Alto AYSO you are agreeing to comply with this, and our other policies.

Questions and Issues:  If you have any questions, issues, or problems now, or during the season, please first check with your Division Commisioner. If you need further assistance, check with the Chief Division Commissioner. The Chief will ensure you get answers and resolution, and will get the necessary personnel involved. 

Confidential Reporting of Issues
         see Player's Corner / Kids Zone Feedback 
                             in the menu at the top of this page
  • Dont wait until it is too late to evaluate the situation and make an improvement.  It is better to over-report. We always carefully look into any reported issue, before concluding there is an issue. But we can't make that judgement unless we know there might be a situation. 
  • eMail addresses and other information must only be used for AYSO purposes. If you know of anyone using personal information from our system for non-AYSO purposes, or for purposes not consistent with the duties and function of someone in our programs, please report it immediately.
  • Questionable behavior by another coach, a referee, or a parent.  Anything that is contrary to our positive coaching and KidsZone principles, should be reported.