Finding the Right Youth Soccer Coach: How a LeagueApps Event Helped This Club Team Fill a Coaching Void
We know that finding the right coach that fits in your club’s mission and goals is a top priority for you. We also know from many of our soccer and club partners that the process can be difficult or stressful at times.
Many times we’re asked, “where can I find a coach that fits my club?” Or, “what can I do to hire a coach?” Though there’s certainly more than one answer to those questions, one of our own at LeagueApps recently shared with us her experience in how our partners from the Manhattan Kickers were able to land a coach that really fit what they are trying to do for their club.
We sat down with our own Alex Weaver, who is now the newest member of the Manhattan Kickers coaching staff. She’ll be documenting her journey with the Kickers over the next few months.
In this six question interview, Alex gives some insights into her new role.
What is your soccer experience?
I’m originally from Northern Virginia where I started to play soccer. I played on one of the top club teams in the country, The Chantilly Burn, under Chantilly Soccer Club. We played a lot of the top talent in the region and the nation at some of the great showcases like the San Diego Surf Cup, Disney Showcase, and the Players Showcase in Las Vegas. I was even lucky enough to play on the Virginia Olympic Development Team.
Eventually, I earned the chance to play in Division I soccer at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Not only did I play four years, but I also coached the summer camps for all four summers. I coached a little bit of everything, from the Junior Niners to ID camps.
What do you do at LeagueApps?
The opportunity to work in and with youth sports was just too good to pass up. So I moved to New York from North Carolina to join the LeagueApps Soccer team as a Partnership Development Representative for Youth Soccer clubs and programs.
My role is pretty interesting. I get to speak with anywhere from 8-12 soccer programs a day from all over the country. I help in different capacities with these programs with some of the problems that most youth soccer clubs face every day. I love it because it really allows me to stay in touch with my passion for soccer.
What type of problems are facing youth soccer programs? Are they similar to what you saw growing up?
Yes and no. Soccer is ever evolving so it’s becoming even more complicated. Club and program operations are changing not just year to year, but even day to day. My lengthy background in soccer allows me to communicate with program directors and understand the landscape.
But I also remember some of my mom’s experiences and how those are still some of the same problems today. She was the soccer mom and in charge of payment collections, registrations through the state, the player cards, things like that. And even 10 years ago, a lot of that is still the same!
I like to think about the direction in which soccer is going, not where it has been. So I work with these program directors every day to help them get more efficient in day to day operations, spending less time on paperwork. That’s the future of the game.
So, how did you land a coaching job?
LeagueApps recently held a partner panel at the Brooklyn Nets training facility. We invited our partners from the Manhattan Kickers to attend and Evan showed up. Director of Soccer Bryan Alcantara introduced me to [Kickers President] Evan [Rosenthal].
I spoke about my passion for the game and my 10 years of experience of training kids and how much I love it. I guess Evan was impressed and he introduced me to Tom [Hatton] from the Little Kickers School.
It’s interesting because club directors always ask about where they can find a good coach. Using your network and attending events has always been my answer, and now I’m the living proof of that!
What will be your role with the Manhattan Kickers?
I will be working with the Little Kickers soccer school at one of their eight locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. There’s just two coaches, including me, teaching ages three to six.
For nine weeks we’ll be running 45-minute training sessions with different curriculums. Everything will be focused on the fundamental soccer skills, but most importantly, to get the kids excited about playing sports and soccer while having fun.
What are you excited about?
So much! Just the fact that I’m helping shape the future of soccer so early is exciting enough!
But I’m really looking forward to building relationships with all the kids and staff while encouraging healthy practices and exercise.