The Novato Youth Soccer

The Novato Youth Soccer Association 
Progressive Coaching Guide
This guide is intended to provide you, a new or returning recreation league soccer coach, with the pertinent information needed for a successful and fun season! If you have a question, please contact us at:  


Pre-Season Preparation – Getting myself ready to coach!!

With little or no experience, you can be a great soccer coach that kids will admire and remember for a lifetime. Invest in yourself by getting the tools needed to be successful, and you will have a great season!

NYSA offers training and game tools on our website ( in the coaches corner, as well as at our on-field coaching clinics, and on field training assistance with professional coaches. NYSA also offers a coaching class prior to the season starting. These are all offered for free!

Pre-Season Preparation – Creating my expectations of my players and my team!!

First: As a coach, commit to the methods of the Positive Coaching Alliance! The PCA is a very valuable program that NYSA offers at its coaches meetings in early August. The PCA covers many aspects of positive coaching techniques, and in all cases these practices should be included in your coaching!

Second: Players first! Winning second! – NYSA’s fall recreation league is a player development based league set on a foundation of goal-based growth including the essential requirement of a player’s enjoyment of the game. In all cases, all players should be given an opportunity to play multiple positions in each game. Playing time for each player should be no less than 50% of each game.

Third: Respect the game, your players, your opponent, and the officials! In all cases, a Coach is a role model. It is wonderful to be approached several years after coaching a player and having them yell, “Hey Coach”, with a big smile. 

Pre-Season Preparation – Coaching Requests, Player Requests, Team Roster, Team Management!!

Once you have registered to coach, your request will be reviewed by the NYSA coaching committee. Once approved, you will be the Recreation Player Representative. This person is your liaison between you and the league. All essential information regarding dates, team roster, team schedule, event days, etc., will be sent by the Rec Player Representative. NYSA also sends all information sent to parents to you as well so you are aware what is being sent to your parent base. 

Your first act as a coach should be to confirm your desire to be a head coach or assistant coach.  Please reply to the email that is sent by the Recreation Player Representative with the following information:

  • Confirmation of Position (Head Coach or Assistant Coach)
  • Name of Player you will be coaching (Please include players name even if it is your child)
  • Name of Head Coach, or Assistant Coach

NYSA offers coaching partnerships of no more than two coaches. This ensures that two coaches can coach together, with both coaches son/daughter included on their roster. This includes any combination of head coach, co-head coaches, and assistant coach.

NYSA does not allow players to make special requests to participate on a specific team. Based on our team formation practices, NYSA works to build fair and equitable teams using several factors including a players rating from the prior season (if applicable), and player’s home address, and a player’s school.

Your roster will be provided to you by your AGC around July 20. Once you receive the team roster, please contact each player’s family letting them know that they have been assigned to your team. Please provide your first day of training including your field location, and a specific way that your players will be able to find you!

As the head coach, it is important to provide the necessary information to your team regarding training times and locations, as well as game information, half time snacks, and other pertinent season information. Based on a coach’s desire, the head coach can either act as the team manager, or the coach can assign the duty to a parent of a player on their roster. In all cases, the team manager should inform all player families that they will be corresponding and providing information.

Pre-Season Preparation – Training Time and Locations!

Each fall season recreation team will train twice per week. Typically on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. Field locations are pre-selected to ensure player safety. For example all Under 6 teams will train at specific fields in Novato. Training sessions are one hour and start at 4:00 pm, 5:00 pm, or 6:00 pm. Trainings take place on one half of one (GAME) soccer field, or in an area approximately 25 yards x 25 yards on unmarked areas at specified fields.

All training times are coordinated by Brenda Lunning-Camp, the League Administrator. Ms. Lunning-Camp will provide detailed information to all coaches with instructions on Training Field Sign-ups in July.

Special exceptions are made to coaches who coach more than one team.

Pre-Season Preparation – The Coaches Meeting, NYSA Provided Gear!

In early August, NYSA holds its annual Recreational Coaches Instructional Meeting, which includes the Positive Coaching Alliance training, and gear hand out. This is a mandatory meeting during which each coach will participate with professional coaches during on-field training education. You will learn exercises, and have the chance to ask questions.

Bring your cleats, and get ready for the season with our interactive coaches education session!  The 2018 Interactive Coaches Meeting will be held on Friday, August 3.

All coach’s gear is distributed immediately following the NYSA coaches meeting. Each head coach (team) receives one soccer ball bag with three game balls, and team soccer cones.

 Pre-Season Training – Let the Training Season Begin!

Prior to your first training, contact all players on your team asking each player to bring a soccer ball, and water. Ask them to arrive ready to go with their shin-guards and their soccer cleats on.

Be prepared and have a plan! Take a training set from the NYSA coaches meeting, or visit the NYSA coaches corner on the website to pull some training exercises!

Team Training, In Preparation of The Season

When creating your training plan, consider age appropriate exercises, and the attention span of your players. Often, a well thought out training plan includes:

* Touches on the ball      * Fast paced exercises     * Limit long explanations    

* Touches with both feet      * Positive instruction      * Offensive & Defensive training    

 * Passing with correct technique      * Trapping with correct technique      * Use of small sided 1 v 1

* Use of small sided 2 v 2      * 2-3 Water breaks, 2 min. each      * Each player has their own ball

* Include ball in all disciplinary action      * Three short lines vs. One long line

* Be prepared! Write your training plan on a piece of paper!

* Visit the Coaches Corner and our Practice Plans page for more information!


Pre-Season – The Release of the Regular Season Game Schedule!

Kindergarten - 4th Grade

All Kindergarten through Fourth Grade games are played at Novato fields, with the schedule being maintained by the Novato Youth Soccer Association. The regular season game schedule is released by the 2nd week of August.

5th Grade - 12th Grade

Based on the number of players/teams participating in these age groups, to ensure a competitive balance against a larger number of teams, Novato Youth Soccer Association enters all 5th graders and older into the Marin Interleague Soccer Alliance. MISA is an alliance body consisting of (9) Marin based soccer clubs that enter their teams into the alliance. MISA has a supporting board of directors, and a league administrator. The MISA league administrator is tasked with coordinating the field locations provided by the (9) member clubs, as well as the creating the game schedule. Based on the volume of fields, teams, and variables, the MISA league admin will provide the schedule approximately one week prior to the season beginning. To provide an approximate start date for your families, all teams should have their first regular season game on the first Saturday following the Labor Day weekend holiday. MISA will forward the game schedule directly to you, the head coach when the schedule is released.

The Kick Off; Game Time!

For a Successful Start

Regardless of the level of play, a well-prepared coach makes his/her team better. Create a lineup that includes all levels of play, considering that your players have the opportunity to play in many positions. Create lineups with many starting lineups, and be considerate of all players and their desire to be on the field for the first kick off. Arrange substitutions prior to the game based on playing time, and not based on negative situations such as after they allow a goal to be scored. Be considerate that each player wants to play, and contribute. 

The Coach I Want To Be!

Throughout the season, it takes effort to be a role model, a coach we admire, a super coach! The coach that every player wants to play for and every time they see that coach it is a high five and a smile! You can be that coach regardless of your experience. It takes a person that is compassionate, prepared, and positive. A coach that understands that regardless of how many times something is covered in training, the players may make a mistake in game time. Let your players play. Let them have fun! Have a game plan knowing that things happen. Take away small victories considering that winning is not always the team that ends with the most goals! Be a coach that your players remember for a lifetime!

Respect Your Players, Opponents, The Officials!

Respect Everyone! We all want the same outcome, a positive experience for our youth soccer players and it starts with the coach. Please make certain that your actions are respectful throughout the game, setting a positive example for your players, parents, and spectators. Allow your players to participate in the flow of the game, limiting the continual interruption and correction from the coaching sideline, as well as the parent sideline. Be mindful of the score, limiting goal differentials to 5. Be respectful to officials knowing that they will make mistakes that make impact the game, or a play. Be respectful to the game, knowing that your actions may last a lifetime in your player’s eyes!

In The Event…..

In the event that the NYSA Board of Directors feels that a coach is not providing a positive environment for his/her players, or lacks the ability to respect his/her opponent, the officials, or the spectators; the NYSA Board of Directors reserves the right to terminate the coaching status of a coach based on league policy.

Field Equipment Including Goals & Nets etc.

Goal Sets:

NYSA currently uses two types of goal sets at all field locations. Goal sets and their set up requirements are based on the field location and the policies of the field owner. NYSA must comply with the field owner; however, below is a description of what you will find when you arrive at your game field (Novato Fields Only).

  • Three Piece Aluminum Goal Set (Not Assembled) – When scanning the perimeter of the field or nearby fence line, you will see triangular goal posts and crossbars. They may be laying down as required by the field owner. Please use the coaches combination to unlock the goal set and cross bar. Each goal set consists of three pieces: Two Triangular Goal Posts and One Cross Bar. Assemble the goal set by placing the crossbar in the receiver for the cross bar at the upper end of the goal post. The goal set should be placed in the center of the end line.
  • Three Piece Aluminum Goal Set (Assembled) – When scanning the perimeter of the field or nearby fence line, you will see the assembled goal posts set. They may be laying face down as required by the field owner. Please use the coaches combination to unlock the goal set. The goal set should be placed in the center of the end line.
  • One Piece Goal Set Assembled and Placed at Field – At certain fields, a metal one piece goal set has been installed permanently. In this case, the coach should inspect that that goal set is properly secured and cannot tip during the course of play injuring players.

Nets, Post Anchors (Stakes), Corner Flags:

NYSA provides one field box at all game fields including nets, corner flags and goal post anchors (stakes). The field box can be accessed by using your coaching combination and will have the same combination as the goal set lock. Once the goal frame is ready, install your goal net. Start by finding the spine of the net, which is a thicker band of goal net rope running diagonally from the end of the net running in a diagonal fashion from the corner. Place the top of the spine (top of triangle) at the left corner of the goal set. Using the clips provided on the goal post set, or the Velcro provided in the field box, install the net in a secure fashion. For goal sets that are not permanently installed, you can place the net under the goal post legs to ensure a secure fit at the base of the goal. 

Once the net is installed, secure the goal post at the back or rear portion of the goal preventing the goal set from toppling forward. Do not place the anchor at the front portion of the goal post leg, or at the center back of the net, as this may not keep the goal set from toppling forward.

Once your goal set has its net, and the goal set is secured, you can place the corner flags at the four corners of the game field.

First Aid Kit:      Each field box has one first aid kit, and several cold packs. In the event that the first aid kit or cold packs are missing, please notify your AGC immediately. 

Field Clean Up:     Please return all equipment to the location where you got it from, locking all equipment in the event that there is not a coach warming up his/her team when you finish your game.

During The Season, Support 

Everyone at NYSA is here to help. Please reach out for assistance if you need it!   

Thank you!  Regardless of your level of coaching experience, you are making a difference in your community. With nearly 200 volunteer coaches, you are an immeasurable part of a great organization and we thank you for your dedication to our league!