Correspondence for Soccer Coaches

This is the email correspondence I send out to my parents of my soccer players, prior to the soccer season to give them my philosophy, goals and expectations.

Please take time to read through this information you will need to know about fall soccer.  It takes me a lot of time to write up this info, but I want to get this to you in one email than fill up your inbox.  Please save it for reference.
Welcome Blue Dolphins U9 Parents!

First of all, I want to thank all of you for signing up your child to play soccer.  It is a fantastic sport and it’s a gift that he will treasure always. 

My Background, Philosophy and Goals

  • At the U9 age group, my philosophy about soccer is not about winning or losing, it is about developing the boys as soccer players.   I feel as if you make the players the best they can be individually and then kneed them together into a team, it’s a recipe for a fun year of sportsmanship, competition and teamwork.   
  • The Blue Dolphins U9 are ranked into Division 1 play this season, based on the majority of wins we had last year.  I am hoping to level-up the practices and make this team fairly competitive.    I believe it will be a tough season. 
  • In the past year, I have grown as a soccer coach, learning more each season and with every team.   Last fall, I coached 4 teams and I grew immensely!   This fall will be my 11th and 12th teams that I will coach.   Last month, I earned my coaching “E” license.   I spent two days at a Washington Youth Soccer Coaches camp with some of the top coaches in the country; including our own Sounders’ Head Coach Sigi Schmidt; and goalie Kasey Kelleher, plus MLS Colorado Rapids Head Coach, the Head Coach of the National Boys team, and a number of others who filled my coaching sheets with TONS of information that I would like to bring to our team. 
  • I have been playing soccer, including refereeing and coaching for over 35 years.  Yikes!  The game has changed from my years of 6-year old co-ed teams playing 11v11 games to the 21st century – smaller, more tactical games of 3v3, 4v4, and this year’s 5v5 with goalie.   The smaller sided games give the players a chance to participate.  Therefore, every time they are on the field, they are engaged in playing. 
  • During game time, similar to last year, I will try to ensure a balanced field to make sure there is enough support on the field as the kids play.   Saturday’s games are an attempt to apply the learning that happens during the week; it doesn’t serve as a good forum to teach, but only to learn from.  What worked, what didn’t?  I will go back to the drawing board and workup new activities for the week ahead.   Every game is different, every team we play against is different and every situation is different.  That’s what’s so fantastic about soccer! 
  • That’s why practices are so important to attend.  Each week I will focus on a topic and will try to bring that to the game each week.   Building on skills and tactical information in those small sided or ‘numbers up’ games, for the boys to work on, even outside of practice, if they can.   But the constructive feedback to help with the players development during practice is key.  I will do my best to individualize practices to work on each players skills and grow the team.
    • Coaches have different ways they like the kids to refer to them.  I would like the boys to refer to me as “Coach Keyser” or “Coach”.  I have found that this helps kids to listen without at all detracting from the focus on fun.
      As always, our focus will be to:

      • to make the game fun,
      • to develop the boys’ soccer skills, and
      • to create an atmosphere where the boys can learn teamwork and competition. 
  • This year, we may see some of the boys growing into certain positions.  The fields are bigger and we’ll play with a goalie, so sometimes we see kids gravitating to certain areas of the field.  I will rotate the boys through all positions as best as I can.   I feel that general development at each position will give the boys a better overall sense of the game and will give them the opportunity to become comfortable with the entire field.   Lots of times, they prefer a position, and I try to accommodate as best as possible, but this is a team game, and sometimes players are placed where they are needed.   
  • At the U9 level, there are 5 players per side and they use ball size #4 (larger ball).  We will play with goalies and the goals are wider apart 8 feet.  They play two 25-minute halves and there 9 players on the team.

 Correspondence, Emails and Phone

  • I am a very busy coach with two teams, plus Heather is in Select this year as well, so if you want me to read your emails, please put in the subject line: “Blue Dolphins – [your topic]”.   This way, when I’m searching I will find it.  Thank you!
  • Texting me is the best way to reach me.  I carry my Smartphone with me the majority of the time.  (except when I’m on the field).  But if you leave a voicemail, I will not get to it for several days later!   Txt to 425-xxx-xxxx with your message: ie,

“running late, be there in 15 minutes.”   “son woke up sick, won’t play today”  And please put your players name, so I know who it’s from!  Thank you!

 Roster (include names) 

Assistant Coaches*  

Our Assistant Coaches will help me run practices each day & day from x:00pm to x:00pm at park location.

Being engaged on the field (no checking email or making phone calls), helping setup/take down practice cones, watching ½ the team run activities, while I work with the other half on skills, will be key for a great team!  The Assist Coaches may find it very insightful, as they watch the boys closely during practices and games!  The players will come to know you as the Asst. Coach and it will give the Blue Dolphins other adults they know they can go to if I am not available.   THANK YOU for volunteering!just


On game days there is tons of activity going on the field, before, during and after the game; having help on the sidelines (keeping kids hydrated and warm/dry, shoes tied, sitting on bench, someone to exclusively keep game time) while I am watching the field of play is a HUGE help!   The field needs to be setup & taken down and getting the kids to warm-up (shooting or passing drills) and cool downs before and after the game is very busy.  There a lot of ground to cover.  9 boys for 1 coach is A LOT!     

Referees – Important 

The U-7 through U-9 referee program is the same.  Each team is expected to provide a referee for 1/2 of each game.  Same as last season, I want to be sure to focus our time this year on coaching and we will use the Parent-Snack-Referee Program to satisfy our refereeing obligation. 

Please read second email from me regarding the Parent-Snack-Referee Program.


 We will publish a snack schedule after we receive the final game schedule.  First game is Saturday, September 11th.

 Soccer Fields/Practice – Update

 We secured the field for day & time.  This is a fantastic field and we are very fortunate for the Blue Dolphins to play on it.    

  • Please arrive on time and go directly to the field, as we want to get the most out of our hour practice.  If your child has a tendency to play at the park before, please allocate time for this (either before or after).   
  • I prefer parents walk-in to pick-up your player.   I do not feel comfortable letting players leave the field without an adult supervising.  In the past I have had kids stand out near the curb when I was leaving (and that’s usually long after practice is over and most people are gone).  Please be prompt on pickup for your child’s safety.  Thank you!
  •  I will be coaching my U7 team from time; and there may be other teams on the field as well.  So if you arrive early, indicate to your player to get a ball and start kicking against the backstop/wall near our equipment.  Please wait on the sidelines, (not on the field).  
  • Our first official practices are dates.  
  • I do recommend the boys getting out and start running.   The fields will be slightly larger this year, and they will be expected to run more, as part of the game.   I am planning to have kids participate in our schools running club.  It’s a fantastic free activity and it really helps the kids with their endurance.   

Where: field
When:  days
Starting: week of  

I hope everyone will be able to make these times.  Let me know if you cannot. 

Heads up: The last 2 weeks in October, I may move the time back an hour; because of darkness.   I’ll poll everyone to see if that works, later in the season.

Health Forms – New Information

Your son will not be permitted to play in practices or games unless I receive the health form beforehand.  So, I have printed a copy for everyone and it is in my 3-ring binder. On the evening of the first practice, please review the information sign it and return it back into my binder.    

  • Zackery Lystedt Law passed in 2009 and you and your player are required to electronically sign a consent form regarding head injuries before your child can practice or play, which you all did upon registration.  The law requires if any player gets hits in the head, s/he must be taken out of the game and cannot return without a consent form from a physician.    As a coach, I take this law very seriously, and will expect your assistance if you child is taken out of a game.   This happened several times last fall, including to Harrison, and it’s not fun; but please watch this short video to see how serious this can be.

 Please watch the 2-minute King 5 Video on this website.  (the one below it is good to watch as well) Washington Youth Soccer – Head Concussion Info


 For practice, the boys should wear shin guards and weather-appropriate clothing (shorts/t-shirts or sweats), but not their soccer uniforms.    See Equipment/Uniforms below for more info.
The boys will use size 4 balls to practice.  We should have enough balls at practice, but if you want to purchase one for home, get size 4.

Equipment and Uniforms – Update

At the coaches meeting, we got new balls, and with last year’s pennies, my own personal cones, PUGG goals, slalom poles, a 6-man insta-bench and my new pop-up tent, I think we’re well equipped for the season!    Again, anytime parents and players can grab equipment that would be a big help!


We have new players on the team and with the boys all growing up, even Harrison has finally outgrown his Youth Medium shirt; I recommend the boys try on their shirts to determine if they need a larger size.   I will be placing an order for uniforms NEXT Monday, August xx for our gorgeous royal blue jersey  Starter Jersey #22011 youth sizes YS, YM, YL. 

After they come in, I will get a logo printed, and your sons’ name and number on the shirt.    I will send out a separate email about the total cost.

Please, ask your son what he wants his number to be, but it cannot be a duplicate of another players number.   Fill out this table, copy and paste it into another email and send it to me, Subject line: Blue Dolphins shirts.   First come first served on the numbers.   And please check the spelling!  Whatever you send me will be put on the shirt.  Thank you!

 (table omitted) 

Shorts, Socks, Shinguards, Shoes:

  • In addition to the shirt, each boy will need black shorts and black socks.  Cleats are not required, but highly recommended, as the fields get very muddy and slippery.   All kids are required to wear shin guards as condition of playing in games.  I also recommend buying two pairs of black socks.   

Also, LWYSA is enforcing the “no earring” rule.  Please make sure that your boys do not wear earrings (including studs) or any jewelry (bracelets) during the games so that they do not find themselves disqualified and forced to sit. 

If you have any questions, let me know.

Thank you for your time with this!

–Coach Keyser

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