SOCCER TEAM PARENT
A soccer Team Parent is the common term for a mother or father of one of the players on a youth soccer team who traditionally volunteers to coordinate the “extras,” such as end-of-season parties, for the team. This role can also be filled by a committee or a group.
Recently, however, the “duties” of this wonderful person (or persons) have evolved from just putting together a party to performing the numerous functions of a Team Manager or Team Administrator, all-season long.
Any assistance by someone who can effectively take part of the burden off the coach allows the coach to get some of his or her personal life back and/or be able to put more time into actually coaching. Having a competent, dedicated and effective “Team Parent” is usually a dream come true for any youth coach.
The very first step in becoming a Team Parent is to appreciate the commitment involved. Then one should contact the coach as far ahead of the start of the season as possible and offer to volunteer. The two of you must have a candid and open conversation about the concept.
There are some coaches that do not want to have a Team Parent, possibly because they don’t want to cede responsibility or because they may think that working with a Team Parent will be just another burden. Then there are other coaches who will accept the offer with open arms and hymns of praise.
If the coach accepts, you need to schedule a time in the very near future to discuss duties. During this initial contact, you should also ask whether or not anyone else has volunteered and, if so, get their name and number.
If the coach accepts, the next step is to consider how much time and effort you can afford to provide. It is imperative that you not over-commit. “Dumping” duties back to the coach in the middle of the season is particularly burdensome to the coach and not very good for the reputation. A sample list of possible duties is provided below. Review the list and determine what you are willing and able to do.
Communications – Developing and/or maintaining the team Website; including presenting schedules, practice and game locations, and other pertinent team information. (Remember to not include any personal information.)
Volunteer Coordinator – Finding other people to help. Check with the coach to see if he has been contacted. Have a volunteer meeting. Make sure duties are well defined.
Addresses, Email and Phone Lists – Developing, maintaining, and distributing other avenues of communication. (Make sure you have absolute approval to list, print, and distribute personal information. Also double-check all numbers to confirm that they are correct.)
Finances – Acting as the Treasurer for the team which includes collection of funds, disbursements, bookkeeping, and managing a checking account. With this function, it is mandatory that meticulous files be kept, that the checking account be separate from any personal accounts, and that regular reports are provided to everyone. More than one person must have access to any accounts.
Sponsorship, Fundraising – Finding individuals, professionals or businesses that may support the team. Be prepared with a “sales pitch.” (Note that some Club’s may have restrictions on how sponsors’ information may be displayed.) Ensure that a sponsor receives schedules, team information, pictures, invitations to games and the end-of-season party, and formal recognition of their sponsorship (letter, plaque, photos). Then there are the “traditional” bake sales and candy bar sales.
Registration – Collecting prior Player Passes or Birth Certificates; completion of forms and collection of photographs; development of the Roster, including birthdates; and physical travel to-and-from the Registrar’s location to create current Player Passes or deal with modifications.
Meetings – Arranging for Meeting Space and announcement of the time and location of team meetings.
Forms and Documentation Manager – Distributing and collecting Medical Releases and Liability Releases. This may include obtaining Field Permits for practices. This may also include keeping a master copy of the Player Notebook, capturing handouts from the coach.
Linespersons and Referee Training – Arranging for volunteers to be available if Club Linespersons or Emergency Officiating is needed to be provided by the team at a game and ensuring that they are properly trained for the task.
Water Kit and Post-game Snacks – Arranging for volunteers to provide the Water Kit and post-game Snacks for each game. Confirm with the individual(s) before each game.
First Aid Kit Maintenance/First Aid Response – Ensuring that the team First Aid Kit is always properly supplied. Being trained or accepting responsibility to be the first person to respond to the need to provide first aid.
Uniforms and Equipment – Ordering and disbursement of game jerseys, shorts, socks, team bags, warm-ups, and practice gear.
Trip Manager – Acting as the Travel Agent if the team goes on away trips. (This one is huge and requires tremendous cooperation on the part of parents of players.)
Picture Day – Coordinates all form distribution and answers questions about the Club-sponsored team and individual photographs taken on an established date.
Action Pictures – Arranging for volunteer photographers from within the team to take photographs of each player while games are in progress and then ensuring proper electronic or printed distribution.
Video – Arranging for volunteer videographers from within the team to take video of at least one game, ensuring that each player is captured then arranging for copies and distribution.
Team Logo and Banner – Designing a logo and arranging for it to be printed with the team name on a suitable banner or practice shirts.
Canopy – Acquiring a team shade cover for use during hot games and arranging for a volunteer to ensure that it is properly transported to, and set up for, games.
Scorekeeping, Record Book, Statistics – Arranging for volunteers to keep “official” records of games. This includes a minor level of training for consistency, especially if more than one person is involved. (Note that this information can be used by upper-level youth players when promoting themselves to college coaches.)
Formal Pictures – If the Club provides for a professional photographer, ensuring that all players and parents are informed of “Picture Day,” managing the event, and arranging for distribution of the resulting photographs. If the Club does not otherwise provide for pictures taken by a professional photographer, creating a picture day with a professional or arranging for a volunteer to perform the function.
End-of-Season Party – Arranging the date and venue. Arranging for the menu and payment.
Gift(s) for Coach(s) – Collecting money. Arranging for a thank-you card, signed team photo and something significant for each member of the coaching staff. Whereas “white-boards” are nice, gift cards are likely to be best. It really doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you want to do some article of clothing. Getting the right size is critical and a clothing gift must include a “gift receipt.”
Mementos for Players – Acquiring items like patches, t-shirts, pins, mini-balls, mini-shoes, bumper stickers, footbags, or practice saucers, to give out at the end-of-season party. Note that there are differences between what boys and girls may like.
After deciding which duties to take on, meet with the coach to determine how he would like to see things done and how to communicate your activities. Continuous communication between you and the coach during the course of the season is critical.
Soccer Coaching Tips:
– Review all of the articles in the Team Administration section of CoachingAmericanSoccer.com.
– Be prepared to deal with potential conflicts between more than one volunteer with respect to how they think a function should be performed.
© Copyright, John C. Harves