What’s Better: Paid or Volunteer Coaches?

Courtesy Mike Slatton

Paid vs. Volunteer Coaches

From the street or parking lot, club soccer looks like a well structured, purposeful machine that is busy developing the future of American soccer. From the sidelines and the clubhouse though, it’s obvious that club soccer has no real direction at all.  Over the last couple of decades, clubs have started PAYING their volunteers and treating youth soccer like a franchise. Soccer clubs are acting like publicly traded companies, putting revenue ahead of everything else, most importantly: player development. The youth players of the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s are now all trying to make a living in the game that they love. The predominant reason for the MASSIVE increase in youth soccer club fees over the last few years is that soccer clubs all around the country have started paying their volunteers.  From the top to the bottom, EVERYONE is getting paid (see the article: Where does all the money go? (Youth Soccer Fees).   This means that most youth soccer clubs have moved past the role of community (oriented) service provider to just service provider.  The service, of course, is to provide a safe, controlled environment for children to play soccer.  The PURPOSE of youth soccer clubs has nothing to do with training or development.   There are however a few hold-outs; there is a minority percentage of clubs that are still community oriented and have volunteer coaches, administrators and facility maintenance, and charge fees that are a small fraction of clubs that are just in the business of service soccer clubs.   This therefore leads to the question, “Which is better: Paid or Volunteer coaches?

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