Guidelines for Division of Responsibilities between Professional Trainers and Parent Managers
The guidelines below are intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Professional Trainer and the Parent Manager of each team.
- The Professional Trainer is in charge of everything related to the game of soccer for his/her team and each player on that team.
- The Professional Trainer has authority over all aspects of practice and games both tactical and technical.
- For training sessions, this includes preparing and managing the practice sessions.
- For games, this includes preparing the roster, assigning positions, substitutions and playing time (except that the Parent Manager is responsible for ensuring that minimum playing time is accorded to each player in accordance with SYSC policies and as discussed below).
- It also includes all communications with players prior to, during and after games with regard to the game.
- The Parent Manager's role is principally administrative. Ongoing responsibilities include facilitating registration and collecting registration related materials, communication and coordination as described in more detail below.
- The Parent Manager should also try to foster team building whether through seasonal team parties or other sorts of events, especially at the beginning of each season.
- Please note that parent managers are expected to serve this role for the entire seasonal year.
Parent Manager Relationship to Professional Trainer
- It is the Professional Trainer’s responsibility to communicate all soccer matters to players in practice and before, during and after games. Parent Managers are not to instruct players at practice, or to discuss soccer matters before, during or after any game; this is the sole jurisdiction of the Professional Trainer. Unless the Professional Trainer has explicitly sought the assistance of the Parent Manager in any of the foregoing, involvement in this regard by a Parent Manager undermines the basic premise of professional training and development.
- Under certain circumstances, the Parent Manager may be asked by the Professional Trainer to assist with certain coaching responsibilities, but this should be only at the Professional Trainer's explicit request. Typically, this should be with respect to a particular situation (eg, the Professional Trainer needs help with a particular aspect of a practice, or needs to track a particular situation within a game).
- The Parent Manager should not engage in an dialogue about player and team development, whether with the Professional Trainer or with a parent or child on the team, because such discussions may unduly influence the professional trainer and compromise his/her objectivity or his/her approach. UK Elite has internal procedures for the assessment of each player, which will be communicated by the Professional Trainer and /or relevant Assistant Director of Coaching to each player/family.
Note that each team has at least one carded parent designated as an “assistant coach”. However, this designation is given only in order to comply with the League’s registration system. The only additional soccer-related responsibility of the Parent “Assistant Coach” is to be available to step in if the Professional Trainer is red-carded so that the team is not forced to forfeit (which we would expect would never occur). For all other purposes, parents who assist the professional trainer are in fact Parent Managers (see below), Co- Managers or Assistant Managers, depending on the number of parent volunteers for a particular team, and how those parent volunteers choose to allocate the responsibilities below.
Parent Manager Responsibilities
Specific responsibilities of the Parent Manager include the following:
- The Pre-Season meeting – The Parent Manager should organize a meeting between parents and the Professional Trainer to set out the following expectations and objectives.
- Expectations – Explanation of Parents and Players expected commitment, punctuality, applicable playing time rule, and policy re playing positions. Review expectations for appropriate parent conduct (including parent manager's liason role and the 24 hour rule whereby parents must wait at least 24 hours after a game to address any issues about their child). Emphasize expectations of parents and players related to showing respect for all participants in the game, including teammates, opponents, coaches and officials.
- Objectives – FUN, Core skill development, understanding and love of the game, and teamwork
- Important dates including spring season start dates, state cup and other tournaments so families can plan accordingly.
The Age Group Coordinator (“AGC”) should be invited to the pre-season meeting as appropriate.
- Coordination with the Professional Trainer- All parents should have direct access to the Professional Trainer. However the Parent Manager is a natural conduit for dialogue between parent and trainer, and should serve as first touch point to resolve non-soccer related issues or concerns that may arise between parents and Professional Trainer.
- The Parent Manager should communicate and follow the 24 hour rule (ie, in the event of any coaching or game related concerns, the parent should wait 24 hours after the game to “cool off” before raising the issue).
- The Parent Manager should make clear to parents that he/she, and not the Professional Trainer, is the first option for addressing any parent concerns.
- To the extent that the Parent Manager can't easily resolve an issue, the next step should be a discussion with the AGC regarding any disputes, new player additions, team allocations in addition to general advice. The Parent Manager should seek to address concerns without the involvement of the Professional Trainer to the extent possible.
- Parent Managers should also make clear to parents and to the Professional Trainer that if there are any concerns about the Parent Manager, the AGC is the appropriate outlet.
- Team Building - The Parent Manager is responsible for arranging seasonal parties or other team-building events (Red Bulls, watching major matches on TV together, etc.) early each season. It is important to have a team event as early in the Fall season as possible (ideally before the first game) so that new players feel welcome and have an opportunity to get comfortable.
- Email – The Parent Manager is responsible for email communications with parents. This should generally include a weekly in-season email detailing practice times and game locations, jersey colors, half time snack rotation (if any) and the like.
- Registration Coordination - The Parent Manager is responsible for monitoring and facilitating player registration in June for the following Fall season and for ensuring that player and coach photos are uploaded, medical forms collected and that any players new to the club provide birth certificates or passports in a timely fashion.
- Additional In-Season Training – The Parent Manager should regularly encourage participation (as part of weekly email, etc) in individualized clinics such as goal scoring, goalkeeping and PACE fitness training sessions.
- Winter training – While Winter training beyond the sessions provided by SYSC is optional, additional voluntary Winter training can significantly advance player skills and should be encouraged by the Parent Manager. The planning for Winter training should start in the Fall and be communicated to families as early as possible. Note that the Club and UK Elite are now offering optional weekly training throughout the Winter as part of a broader effort to offer programs year-round.
- Coordination with Opposing Teams' Parent Managers - The Parent Manager should email and if necessary phone the opposing parent manager each week to confirm game times and locations, coordinate jersey colors if teams have same or similar colors, and communicate any special issues regarding parking or directions.
- Game day responsibilities - The Parent Manager's game day responsibilities include checking in with the referee, maintaining player passes, preparing the line-up sheet, helping to set up the field (goals, flags) and finding a linesperson.
- The Parent Manager should also ensure that parents are seated on the opposite side of the field from players and comply with the club's Parent Guidelines.
- While the Parent Manager should not dictate playing times or discuss playing time with the Professional Trainer during games, it is the Parent Manager’s responsibility to make sure that the Professional Trainer is aware of the SYSC policy regarding minimum playing time for the relevant age group, and in the event that any player is not receiving minimum playing time, the Parent Manager should communicate this to the professional trainer promptly after the game. Any ongoing issue in this regard should be referred promptly to the AGC.
- Tournaments – The Parent Manager should work with the Professional Trainer, with the assistance of the Tournament Committee, to identify appropriate tournaments for the team. Each team should try to play in at least one tournament per season. Teams are encouraged to participate in the state cup appropriate for their level of play.