If you’re a keen footballer who wants to help others succeed on the pitch, you might enjoy a career as a football coach. Find out the steps you’ll need to take to become a successful football coach with our helpful guide. 

What is a football coach?

A football coach plans and runs training sessions to help players improve their skills. You could work with children, amaetur adults, semi-professionals or even professional teams. Whilst football managers need to make off-the-pitch decisions too, coaches are instead focused on the performance of their team. 

As a football coach, you could work in schools, colleges, universities or professional sport arenas. No matter what level you choose to coach at, your main aim is to help your team keep up their fitness and develop their game.

What does a football coach do?

Football coaches have a variety of roles and responsibilities, making it an exciting career. 

Each coach will develop their own preferred training plans and programmes but some of your day-to-day tasks could include: 

  • Planning and running group training sessions
  • Providing 1:1 coaching sessions
  • Reviewing the performance and fitness of players
  • Deciding on player and team strategies 
  • Advising players on nutrition and health
  • Helping players to stay motivated
  • Staying up to date with coaching and football guidelines

What skills are needed to become a football coach?

Football coaches need a few key skills and qualities to successfully train a team. These include:

  • A passion for football and fitness
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An ability to teach and explain
  • Strong organisational skills
  • An ability to work well with other people
  • A positive and motivating personality
  • Patience and perseverance  

What qualifications are needed to become a football coach?

From degrees to volunteering, there are many different routes that you can take to become a football coach in the UK. To coach an amateur youth team you won’t necessarily need any formal qualifications, but you will need to have a DBS certificate(1) and complete the FA Safeguarding Children Course(2) to work with children.

The Football Association(3) offers a number of different coaching qualifications, ranging from introductory level through to the UEFA Pro licence for professional coaching. If you’d like to coach at the very top of the game, you’ll need to work your way through these qualifications.

Alternatively, you could start off by completing a degree or diploma at university or college. Universities offer undergraduate courses such as football coaching and colleges offer diplomas such as the level 2 award in coaching game based football. 

You could also volunteer(4) at a local amateur football club to develop your skills and gain experience. As with any job, the more qualifications and experience you have, the easier it’ll be to land a job.

Steps to become a football coach

The steps you’ll need to take to become a football coach will depend on the level you want to work at. However, most people will begin their career by coaching at an amateur level before climbing the ranks.

Step one: Develop a passion for football and coaching 

As a football coach, you’ll need to have a true passion for football and coaching. You’ll need to inspire and motivate your players, so it’s important that you have both a love for the sport and for teaching others. 

Complete courses and gain qualifications

As previously mentioned, there are a number of different courses and qualifications you can complete on your journey to becoming a football coach.  

The Football Association offers online introductory courses such as BT Playmaker(5) and Introduction to Coaching Football(6), which are a great place to start.    

You can then make the decision as to whether you’d like to attend university, college or complete a UEFA course with the Football Association. Alternatively, you could do a sports coach higher apprenticeship to gain a mix of theoretical and practical skills. 

Step two: Volunteer at a local club

Work experience is a great way to learn on the job and put your training into practice. Volunteering at any local youth or adult team will enable you to build your confidence as a coach and gain that all important experience.  

Step three: Apply for a job

Once you’re ready to start looking for a paid role, you can use the Find a Job(7) service to search for jobs in your area. Each job role will require different levels of experience or qualifications, so it’s important to check the description before applying. 

“You’ll never become a football pro if you can’t be reliable. We work hard and we play hard, but we always make sure we’re on time for every training session and appointment.”

Ali Mustafa(8)

How much does a football coach earn in the UK?

The average salary for a football coach(9) in the UK is around £30,000 which can rise to around £50,000 for those at the top of their career. For those just starting out, you can expect to earn around £18,000. 

What are the typical working hours for a football coach?

The working hours for a football coach depend on the level they coach at. For those coaching youth teams, typical working hours are often evenings and weekends. For professional teams, coaches will mainly work throughout the day, often working extra hours before big matches.