Responsibilities of DC Stoddert Soccer Coaches

DC Stoddert Soccer cares greatly about providing the best environment for the youth playing soccer within its League, and this environment starts with the coaches involved.  DC Stoddert has created a series of policies and procedures, which should guide the ethics that Stoddert coaches bring to trainings and games.  For any questions or concerns, please contact League Administrator, Tom Gross, at tom@stoddert.com.

Policies, Procedures, and Ethics

Read the DC Stoddert Soccer League (DCSSL) Rules and Regulations.  The Rules and Regulations Handbook is updated periodically and is available from the League Office, or click here.

The Handbook specifically includes Section VIII, the Coaches’ Code of Ethics, which emphasizes sportsmanship, fair play and child development.

Coaches’ Qualifications

Complete the KidSafe form.  This is required by the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) and seeks information from adults participating in DCSSL activities concerning prior incidents that may implicate abuse or exploitation of minors.  The Division Commissioner will have the form.

Take the course for the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “F” license.  For coaches of teams U10 and older, DCSSL recommends an “E” license.

Prior soccer experience is very welcome, but not required of coaches, particularly at the ages below U10.  The League offers numerous opportunities for coaches to learn about the game and coaching, including Coaching License courses.  Contact the DCSSL Director of Coaching, or the League Office, for information.  All coaches are asked to take the “F” license course before serving a second season as coach. 

Also plan on attending, at least occasionally, the activities for coaches offered by the League, such as the weekly Open Coaches Training Center.


Obtain your team roster from the Division Commissioner.  Discuss and resolve any irregularities with the Commissioner.

Rosters should be issued by the Commissioners, and any problems should be resolved in the weeks immediately prior to each Open Division season (the latter part of August for Fall season and early to middle March for the Spring season).


Obtain uniform sets for your team from your Division Commissioner prior to the Fall season and distribute them to your team.

Uniforms are used for two seasons, so no new uniforms are distributed in the Spring.  The sets distributed in the Fall should contain several extras.  Retain the extras in case “fill-ins” are needed in the Spring.

Obtain team balls (provided by DCSSL) and any extra equipment that may be needed for your team (not provided by DCSSL).

DCCSL provides each team with two game balls each season (Fall and Spring).  These are distributed by the Division Commissioner.

Additional equipment needs should be minimal.  A few cones for practices are useful to mark play areas.  A few extra balls may be handy.  Practice jerseys, or “pinnies,” are useful to divide the squad for games and scrimmages.

Players should be asked to have their own balls, shin guards and water bottles for practices and games.

Coaches’ Meeting

Attend the Coaches’ Meeting for your Division prior to each season.  This will be scheduled by the Division Commissioner, usually in the week or two just prior to each season.

The Coaches’ Meeting is an opportunity to discuss rosters, the schedule, game rules applicable to the Division for the coming season, field locations, initial field lining, goal storage and goal set-up and take-down procedures (see below), available practice fields (see below) and other administrative matters.

Uniforms and balls are often distributed at the Coaches’ Meeting.


Maintain frequent and effective communications with parents and players regarding scheduling and administrative matters.  This is important to establish an overall sense of organization for your team and to satisfy busy parents.

This can easily be accomplished by an e-mail group for your team.  Information on the schedule, rain-outs, uniform distribution and the like can be promptly passed on to the team, when available, from the Division Commissioner.

Since rain-out decisions are often made in the early hours of Saturday morning (by the League Office because of DC Parks & Recreation decisions or by the Division Commissioner), a Saturday morning phone tree or hot line may also be useful.

Communicate behavior and good sportsmanship guidelines and expectations for players and parents.

Communicate to your team about what is going on in the wide world of soccer (e.g., D.C. United, the World Cup, Real Madrid) and about soccer opportunities on TV or at the stadium.  This is helpful to establish a “soccer culture”.


Locate a practice field.

Each season, DCSSL obtains a number of permits for fields for practices during the week and makes these available to Open Division teams.  Teams that need field space are assigned a specific day and hour each week.  This is coordinated by the Division Commissioner in the weeks immediately prior to each season.  It is usually an issue for the Coaches’ Meeting.  Contact your Division Commissioner for more information.

Hold one practice a week in addition to games.  Practices are usually 60 to 90 minutes.

Plan practices in advance.

Many useful books, videos and web sites are available to provide ideas for practices.  DCSSL maintains a lending library.  Contact the League Office or the Director of Coaching for more information.  Examples include www.vysa.com and http://bettersoccermorefun.com.

Game Day

Follow the field and goal set-up, take-down and storage procedures established for your Division by your Division Commissioner.

The coaches of the teams with the first game of the day at each field will usually be required to show up at least 30 minutes prior to game time to assist in retrieving goals from storage, setting up goals and lining fields.

The coaches of teams with the last game of the day on each field will usually be required to take down goals (and corner flags) and return them to storage.

Precise goal storage, set-up and take-down procedures vary by Division and field.  The Division Commissioner is responsible for establishing these procedures.

Show up for games early enough to organize and warm-up your team before game-time.

Respect the referee and provide any feedback on referee performance to your Division Commissioner after the game.  Individual Commissioners establish procedures for referee feedback, in consultation with the DCSSL Director of Referees.

As necessary, control the parents of your team members to assure that expectations regarding sportsmanship and sideline behavior are met.

Communicate to parents the need to take away trash.  The League follows the campers’ rule:  “if you pack it in, you must pack it out”. We must be good neighbors in using the fields.

Report game scores to the Division Commissioner by the procedure set-up by your Commissioner.


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