Never Miss a Beat

Coaches Have a Tough Job: Powerful Insights from a Youth Coach

On March 7, 2018, Alison Foley, co-author of the impactful Audrey Press book, HOW TO COACH GIRLS, wowed radio audiences with her Sirius Radio interview and methodology on coaching kids of all ages, specifically girls.
Not 24 hours later, this profound and moving email popped into her inbox, and this radio listener’s words were too powerful not to share. This gentleman asked to remain anonymous but gave Alison, Mia, and the Audrey Press team permission to share his thoughts.
“I am writing after hearing Alison interviewed today on ‘The Coaching Academy’ on Sirius Radio. As a youth travel soccer coach for the past six years — and as a dad with kids playing in our local club — your thoughts really resonated with me.
I am currently coaching my daughter’s travel team and so many of the issues Alison mentioned were things I could relate to. We have a great bunch of kids who did amazingly well in our fall season, but as great as things have been among the girls, I have to say, working with and dealing with some of the parents and their expectations has been a struggle.
We’ve got clique issues. We’ve got issues with parents who want us to do more soccer (we already play year-round!). We’ve got parents (some of whom are experienced coaches in either soccer or other sports) with VERY strong opinions about how things should be handled. They are too shy about sharing their opinions (my favorite is when we combined training with our ‘B’ team last summer, mostly because we had low numbers during vacation season, we got complaints that the ‘A’ players were not being challenged enough … at eight years old!).
We’ve got parents who are convinced that their kids are destined for superstardom.
For the most part, though, we have a lot of parents who are going through youth soccer for the first time. They mean well. But some of them don’t get it. As a result, after two years, I am utterly exhausted!
One of the things I always tell people is that when it comes to youth sports, perspective and context are everything. Some folks in our club certainly know soccer more than I do. I don’t have an advanced license. My soccer career ended by the time I got to high school. But having been through the youth soccer ringer for seven years, I do know that I’ve learned a thing or two along the way. I’ve learned that doing the right thing is more important than doing the most expedient thing.
I’ve learned that you always need to think about the good of the team and every kid on your team, not just the good of your own kid. I\’ve learned that you need to treat people with respect, and those tough conversations are best had over the phone or in person rather than over email.
I’ve learned that ‘A’ and ‘B’ are almost meaningless when the kids are younger, and I’ve also learned that if you just give a kid a chance to keep playing, they usually get better (nothing makes me more upset than people casually talking about cutting kids when they are 7 and 8 years old!).
More than anything else — and I was glad to hear Alison say this on the show today — I’ve learned that the most important thing is ensuring the kids have FUN.
Because the moment the fun stops is the moment they stop getting better. I keep telling people this. But I don’t think they listen. They will have to learn it independently — just like I did!
Anyway, I greatly enjoyed the interview and look forward to reading your book. Thank you for being a voice of reason in a world that needs more voices of reason.
An Appreciate Coach
Thank YOU,  for your honest words and your clarity on what it takes to keep kids in the game. We appreciate you!


More About Alison’s Book How To Coach Girls (Co-written with Mia Wenjen)


Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, with girls quitting at 6x the rate of boys?

Alison Foley, former Boston College’s Women’s Head Soccer Coach and current CEO of Foley Athletic Advising, and Mia Wenjen, parenting blogger at, help coaches — both parent volunteer and professional — crack the code of how to keep girls in sports. As a mother of two daughters who played many sports, Mia provides personal accounts to illustrate issues discussed throughout the book. Alison, a mother of a young female athlete, has hands-on advice from coaching young women professionally for over two decades.


Volunteer parents and experienced coaches alike will find invaluable advice on creating a successful team that motivates girls to stay in sports beyond the middle school years.


Twenty-two chapters cover major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of a growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, and the challenges of coaching your own daughter.

In addition, fifteen professional coaches from a range of sports, including former Olympian athletes, give their advice on what girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun. This is a hands-on manual to help coaches keep girls in sports!


Go HERE to read more about this much-needed resource for parents and coaches.