FAI Summer Soccer Schools Coaching Policy
The Football Association of Ireland (“Association”) provides opportunities to coach on their Camp programmes to accredited coaches under its auspices. A coach must be a minimum of 16 years of age to be accredited. Being “Accredited” means that the individual has completed Garda Vetting through the Association that remains valid for the length of the Camp programme, completed a Sport Ireland Safeguarding 1 Basic Awareness Course that remains valid for the length of the Camp programme and an entry level FAI Coach Education course such as the PDP1, PDP2 or PDP3. The Association may also accept an equivalent coaching qualification accredited by another FIFA-affiliated member.
INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools
For its primary camp programme, the INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools, there can be in excess of 400 camps in 26 counties across an eight-week campaign. The INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools is targeted at children between the ages of 6 and 14 years. All coaches are provided training by the Association and are selected to coach at a camp by a FAI Development Officer in conjunction with the Host Venue. The coach, recognised as an independent contractor, enters into a service agreement contract with the Host Venue to provide coaching to the Venue’s camp participants. As part of this agreement, the coach is renumerated by the Host Venue for the services provided.
The Association operates the camps with a coach to child ratio of 1:15 (Please note 1:12 ratio may apply to younger age groups). In addition to the coaches assigned to a group of participants, a Head Coach is also assigned to the camp. The Head Coach is recognised as the activity coordinator for the camp, the COVID-19 Compliance Officer, if and when applicable, and as the line manager for all coaches on the camp.
The Association has identified the recruitment of adult coaches as a threat to the sustainability of its camps. “Adult coaches” is interpreted as coaches that are a minimum of 18 years of age. It is an ongoing challenge to ensure that camps have an adequate amount of adult coaches available. It is deemed by the Association that optimum practice is that each participant group is to be coached by an adult coach. The adult coach may be supported by an Assistant Coach. An “Assistant Coach” is interpreted as a coach that is either 16 or 17 years of age. The role of the Assistant Coach is seen as an experience-building exercise to help them develop the coaching skills required to be an adult coach. Renumeration for an Assistant Coach is at the discretion of the Host Venue when agreeing to engage them on the camp.
16 and 17 Year Old Coaches
In a circumstance where an unavailability of adult coaches is identified for a particular venue, the Association recognises that an Assistant Coach may need to be promoted to the role of a Coach for a group for the duration of the camp (or part of a camp as the case may be). This action will only be taken when absolutely necessary to ensure that the camp can proceed and all registered participants maintain the ability to participate in the camp. The Association will ensure that the following steps and checks are taken before confirming any promotion of an Assistant Coach to Coach:
- The FAI Development Officer and Host Venue must have exhausted a search for an adult coach from the pool of adult coaches available in the region. A region is interpreted as the county of the Host Venue and counties that border the Host Venue county.
- The Assistant Coach who is proposed to be promoted to Coach must have had previous coaching experience with the INTERSPORT Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools programme, another FAI programme or with a Club, School or FAI Emerging Talent centre and be able to provide evidence of such experience.
Furthermore, in order to ensure the safety and welfare of both the participants and the promoted Coach, the following measures and procedures will be put in place by the Head Coach and the FAI Development Officer of the relevant camp:
- There must be a total ratio of 3 adult Coaches to 1 promoted Coach for the entire camp. This ratio does not take into account the Head Coach.
- It is recommended that the promoted Coach should not be assigned to three consecutive camps.
- The participants of the promoted Coach’s group should be between 6 and 12 years of age. – PDP1 6-9 Yrs old. PDP2 9-12 Yrs old
- The promoted Coach’s group is located in the nearest position to the Camp Command Centre.
- The promoted Coach’s group is always within a maximum radius of 20 meters of an adult coach’s group.
- The Head Coach will check-in with the promoted Coach’s group every 30 minutes of the camp.
- The Head Coach will ensure that either an adult coach or the Head Coach accompanies the promoted Coach during a bathroom break for participants.
- A promoted coach should be assisted by the Head Coach during the sign-out of participants.
- The Head Coach will debrief the promoted Coach at the end of each day’s session and discuss learning outcomes of the day and set targets for the remaining sessions.
- The FAI Development Officer will debrief the promoted Coach and their parent/guardian during the camp period and after the camp has been completed.
For children with additional needs, it may be necessary to provide a coach that will work directly with the child during the camp. During the registration of the child, the parent/guardian will be asked to provide details if their child(ren) has any additional needs. A Football For All Development Officer will contact the parent/guardian before the camp starts and make an assessment on what supports the child(ren) may need during the camp.
- It is desirable that Support Coaches have experience of dealing with children with additional needs in either a sporting, education or household environment. Training will be provided to all support coaches by a Football For All Development Officer.
- 16 and 17 year old coaches must not be Support Coaches in the absence of an adult coach for the group.