Soccer Coach, you give all your time to others, but you must be sure to take care of yourself. You must make time to protect your well-being and the well-being of your family. CoachingAmericanSoccer.com recommends that you consider and act upon the following:
Stay in shape. You should be able to play with your team. Get annual physicals and stay healthy. Pay particular attention to your heart and circulation. Choose good foods and maintain a proper diet. Drink in moderation. Absolutely no smoking. Use sunscreen, SPF-30. Wear clothing appropriate for the weather and proper soccer gear, including shoes and shinguards.
There is no place for inappropriate behavior. You must also learn to recognize and to stay away from any situations that could be misconstrued as inappropriate behavior. Expect that your organization may require you to undergo some sort of background check. The most common is the “KidSafe” program.
Always have a second adult with you at all times during practices, games, and any other activities involving your players. This is not only for the safety of your players, but also for you. Make sure that both of you have emergency contact information for each other. Never, ever, leave a child at a field alone with the expectation that they will be picked up.
If you transport any players under the age of 18, get permission slips from the parents or guardians. Contact your automobile insurance provider regarding coverage.
You must have your own health and accidental injury insurance. You can sustain a personal injury during practice just as easily as your players.
Research personal liability insurance. Homeowners’ and renters’ policies may or may not apply or may only be limited to your property. If you don’t have this type of policy, it doesn’t apply at all.
Obtain an “Umbrella” insurance policy. Some insurance agencies may still offer “tort” insurance.
Join the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This will include you under their insurance policy.
Research your institutional insurance coverage. If you coach under the auspices of a school or similar organization, they should have some sort of group policy.
Take advantage of other insurance offerings. Many youth groups provide an insurance option from national youth-sports-insurance providers. (For example, the National Youth Sports Coaches Association, NYSCA, has insurance options.) Expect that your organization may require you to take some sort of child protection course.
Don’t let your insurance lapse. Pay all of the premiums on time. You can’t afford not to.
Always notify a parent or guardian of suspected injury to a player. This is especially true of a head injury involving a possible concussion. Follow up any verbal notification in writing.
Educate yourself and follow the rules of your organization, league, state association, and US Youth Soccer or US Soccer. Coaches are subject to sanctions or suspension for such things as registration violations, failure to make payments, or being named as defendants in litigation (see US Youth Soccer Bylaw 252).
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John Harves, All Rights Reserved