For the past few days I have been talking to my best friend about how I'm pulling my hair out over the emotional toll this job has taken on me, working with the sweetest kids on a regular basis just to have them or you depart and start over again with a new group of players. After telling him that sometimes I wished there was no emotional attachment between me and my players, he sent me a series of messages which I have composed into this heartfelt letter that I could not have said any better myself.
"It would be a real pity if your best quality (emotional attachment) is erased from this job.
Do you feel the difference between dedication towards your players and dedication towards your paycheck? The great thing about your job is that if your heart is in the right place and you are doing the best for your players, they will trust and listen to you and their parents will feel the same towards you.
Such quality is so hard to find in a world where everyone is working for penny to penny, paycheck to paycheck. Emotions are raw, humane and there are no side agendas accompanying them.
I know you grew up without a father or brother figure in your life, and you want to be that figure for the kids. But remember one thing: kids come and go, and they won't be with you forever. You are just a stop in their lives, but be the best stop in their lives. Show them that there is more than just football when you coach them, and that you are coaching them to become better human beings too, so that they can carry those qualities throughout the rest of their lives.
Teams come and go. Who knows, you might be the key factor in bringing up the new Del Piero, the new Totti, or the new John Terry when the world of football is judging good players by the number of titles and wealth they have.
Or they might never become great footballers, but instead become great human beings."
About the Author
Bao "Terry" Cao is currently a coach at Manchester United Foundation and the FA Development Centre for girls. Terry is licensed by both the FA and USSF. He shares his personal experience of being involved in youth soccer as both a coach and an outside viewer.