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Ruth Nicholson

Make It A Great Year: Take Stock to Increase Your Youth Soccer Club’s Worth

Many make New Years’ resolutions and plan to do better as a new year approaches. What about your club? What could you do now that would make 2021 better than 2020?

What if you looked at the people who lead, manage, and deliver your club’s programs? What if there was a way to make them more effective in serving your club’s players and members?

There is.

The Three Elements for a Successful Youth Soccer Club

The three key elements behind a successful club are competency and balance between Coaching, Governance, and Operations.

The Coaching element is made up of your club’s player development approach, the quality of your coaches, and the support your club provides its coaches. The Governance element covers strategic direction, program priorities, financial management, and human resources (both paid and volunteer).

The Operations portion focuses on day-to-day club administration, such as membership, registration, communication, fields, referees, uniforms, and equipment.

All of these pieces require people to make them work well. So, going into 2021, how can you ensure that the job is getting done well?


Take Stock of Your Youth Soccer Club’s People Power

One of the major sources of conflict and confusion in clubs occurs when people are unsure of their roles in the club. In fact, according to a 2020 GO! survey, Directors of Coaching (DOCs) and Board Members agree that one of the major reasons DOCs get fired or leave their jobs is because of unclear roles and expectations.


Look at the work needed to run your club in the context of the people you need. Think about all the work that must be done in the three key elements of your club: Governance, Coaching, and Operations.

As you identify each task, decide whether it needs to be done by a senior person in your club, such as a DOC, Board member, or senior administrator, or whether it can be done by other coaches, junior staff, or volunteers. Talk to others in your club about the work and fill in the table below to organize your thoughts. Try and identify as many tasks as you can think of that are needed to run your club. (HINT: It may be a longer list than you expect!)

Roles and JobsMust DoWork To Delegate
Board of Directors or Owners
Director of Coaching
Senior Club Operations or Administrative Manager

The work in the Must Do category for your senior positions is a key part of the job descriptions for those jobs. The work in the Can Be Delegated column can be divided into specific roles and jobs in the club for paid staff and coaches or for volunteer staff and coaches.

Once you have these positions identified based on the work to be done, you can build the secret resource for successful club management.

Increase the Worth of Each Position

Your people are your club’s most significant asset. For many clubs, payroll for coaches and staff is the largest line item in their budget. And volunteers are not free! According to Independent Sector, the value of a volunteer hour in the United States in 2019 was $27.20.

The single most valuable thing you can do for existing and future staff is to create clear job descriptions for them.

Now that sounds like a boring bit of bureaucracy, doesn’t it? What if there was a way to make it short, easy, and useful?

There is.

A good job description has four parts. It does not have to be pages long. It only must answer four basic questions.

  • What skills and abilities are needed to do the job?
  • What are the tasks that the person in this job will do, and how long will they take to accomplish?
  • Who will the person in this job need to work with?
  • What supplies and information will the person in this job need to complete the tasks?

Taking the time to create a job description for all the positions in your organization will help you clarify the roles of your current coaches, board members, and administrators. This includes both paid and volunteer positions. It also sets you up for future success.

Make Your Planning Count: The Ongoing Value of the Secret Resource

Job descriptions are a secret resource that make clubs successful because they:

  1. Clarify responsibilities and expectations for existing coaches, board members, administrators, volunteers, and parents which decreases confusion and potential conflict,
  2. Facilitate advertising for upcoming paid job vacancies in the club,
  3. Help recruit club volunteers through clear descriptions of the tasks and time needed for specific jobs,
  4. Increase the ability to coordinate between jobs and to identify redundancies, gaps, or potential areas of confusion so that the club can improve its use of staff and volunteers to support its players, teams, and coaches, and
  5. Illustrate to potential sponsors and donors that the club is organized and worthy of their investment and support.

Take stock of your people to increase their worth and ability to improve your club operations in 2021. Let me know how I can help you do it!

Ruth Nicholson is an internationally certified professional facilitator, mediator, and organizational alchemist helping youth sports organizations better support coaches, teams, and players. She is the founder of GO! offering proven governance, leadership, and administrative tools.

In 2020, Ruth was inducted into the International Association of Facilitators Hall of Fame. She was a co-creator of the international 2019 Think Tank to Improve Youth Sports which engaged over 60 speakers from two dozen sports. In 2018, Ruth was a finalist for the Hudl Innovator of the Year award for youth soccer. Her work has engaged coaches, sports professionals, and organizations in North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America.

The post INCREASE YOUR YOUTH SOCCER CLUBS WORTH IN 2021 appeared first on SoccerToday.

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