Learn How to Get Recruited For College Sports

Learn what it takes to play collegiate athletics at your top school!

Written By: Matthieu Braem

AFC Ann-Arbor

When I am approached with the question, “how much does a college soccer coach make?”, there is no definite answer to give. Like any other job salary, it varies greatly depending on experience, type and length of contract, level and division of the school
team, as well as which type of position they have.

When it comes to coaching, especially in college, I think that the passion and love for the game comes before pay. Trust me when I say that, soccer coaches do not go into this profession for the money. During a phone call with Will Lukowski, volunteer assistant
and goalkeeper coach at Missouri State University, a NCAA Division I school, he explained to me his primary goal was to help young athletes to be able to better themselves and leave a positive impact on each one of them once they graduate. He went on to say that coaching soccer is not just about improving their footwork, but also about improving their attitudes, outlooks, drive, and encouraging them to lead honest, hardworking lives no matter what they decide to go on to do. Will emphasized that he just wants to help them grow into respectable young men that know how to do things
the right way.

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Roles and positions:

Head Coach: The most known and obvious when it comes to collegiate soccer. The head coach runs the program, the recruiting process, his season schedule, the way he budgets his expenses and offers scholarships. According to Glassdoor, a website that allows users to anonymously submit and view salaries as well as search and apply for jobs, bases the average pay of a soccer coach at $35,184/yr. This number refers to collegiate coaches’ salaries going from NCAA Division I-II-III, to NAIA and NJCAA. Understandably, the higher the collegiate level you coach at, the higher your pay will be. Some coaches
in the most successful programs playing in the ACC, Big Ten or Big East can make up to $100K or even $200K per year depending on experience and number of years they have been with the team, their success with the team, and the amount of publicity the school receives. Like in every sport, head coaches make the most money, but they also have the greatest responsibility and are the first ones to receive negative commentary and backlash when things go wrong. Full-Time Assistant Coach: They can be referred to as the head coach’s right-hand. A good assistant coach, does anything that his boss asks him to; from meticulous recruiting, faraway campus visits, and attending long, frequent training sessions. The assistant coach is the second highest paid coach and his salary will also vary based on the school and level of experience. Because of the many variables, it is
almost impossible to give their salary estimate. Assistant coaches will often oversee the program’s soccer camps, which in themselves can be extremely time-consuming but profitable, and could increase their yearly salary by $5-10k.

Part-Time/Volunteer Assistant Coach: This is where the pay drastically decreases.
Most volunteer coaches will only be given a stipend or be paid a low hourly wage.
Although the pay is significantly lessened, collegiate soccer programs need these
volunteers, and would not reach higher success without them. Like Will, they coach
because they love the game, the interactions with players, and just want to make a
positive impact for the team and athletes.

Graduate Assistant Coach: It can be the most rewarding and interesting path to follow for a recent college graduate. A graduate assistantship gives you the chance to not only taste the water and see if coaching is what you are passionate about, but it also gives you the opportunity to further pursue your education by paying for your master degree. Added to that significant scholarship, most applicants will receive a stipend to help them out with personal expenses.

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Non-Collegiate Coaching Opportunities: When it comes to making extra money, coaches
have many other non-collegiate opportunities. Days become longer, harder, and more
exhausting, but it is all worth it when you get to wake up every morning doing what you love while getting paid for it. College coaches often work with clubs where their abilities are even more valued.

Club Coaching: Clubs are more than willing to pay good money for coaching services. The monthly salary for coaching travel or academy teams can easily reach $2K or more, depending on the club and level. EXACT Camps: EXACT camps are one of my favorite places to be at. Helping kids and aspiring college athletes to understand what it takes to play at the highest level and reach their highest potential is what it is all about. EXACT pays $200 per camp. A Packed Schedule: College coaches can work up to 60 or even 80 hours per week, especially in season. Here is what a typical day of a coach will likely look like on a cold October day:

• 7:30AM: Arrive at the office
• 7:30-10:30AM: Office work: phone calls,
emails, scouting, recruiting, figuring out
travel expenses and scheduling, preparing
the afternoon practice session.
• 1:30-3PM: Meet / Set-up training
• 3-5:30PM: Training Session
• 6:30-8:30PM: Club training

This schedule can quickly become exhausting and if you cannot wake up every morning with enthusiasm and the drive to become a better coach, and for your program and athletes to achieve success. Everyone is counting on you to be there, show up, and be on your game every single day.

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Conclusion: After researching averages on college soccer coach salaries, I found that 80% of head coaches in the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA, make between $25K and $50K per year. Only the top Division I programs that have been consistently successful for subsequent years show large pay increases for head coaches. Coaching assistants
seldom surpass $35K - even at top division schools, camps not included. Since most schools do not consider soccer their leading sport, their assistant coaches make considerably less than an assistant coach for football does. The reason college soccer coach salaries are so low is partially due to the demand being extremely high. The United States has an incredible poll of qualified coaches coming from all backgrounds and cultures. The soccer pyramid being so vast with clubs, academies, high schools, colleges, semi-professional and professional leagues, adds more competitiveness to the hiring process. There are only a few position openings each year along with an overflow of applicants for any college coaching job (usually 100+ applications for a single position). This low availability/high demand, results in schools not feeling obligated to raise their soccer coaches’ wage because someone as qualified and experienced as the next guy will always be willing to take on the job for less. Furthermore, soccer in America is sadly still not considered a leading sport at many of the biggest colleges in the country. Soccer does not generate as much money in comparison to college football and basketball. This lack of popularity and publicity has a detrimental effect on the wages of soccer coaches when compared to the multi-million industry of college football. Low revenue and budgets within this sport tremendously hurt coaches’ salaries. The time spent coaching, recruiting, scouting, traveling, getting ready for training sessions and games makes the low pay noticeably apparent when adding up the total hours involved in making a program successful. Soccer coaches do it for the love of the game, and the ones who truly do not leave this industry very quickly. Being a college soccer coach is probably one of the most enjoyable and rewarding jobs anyone could dream of, but it is also one of the most demanding, exhausting, and underpaid jobs in sports.