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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) comprises three divisions of sports competition for colleges and universities. Large, well-endowed institutions that offer athletic scholarships in most sports make up Division I, while smaller schools without full athletic scholarships make up Division III. More than 400 schools compete in Division III, and soccer programs at these schools are divided into more than 40 conferences nationwide. The salaries of soccer coaches vary depending upon several factors.
Duties and Qualifications
Soccer coaches are charged with much more than devising game strategy, designing practice regimens and managing rosters. They must also have in-depth knowledge of NCAA regulations. All coaches must pass an annual NCAA rules test. Schools require coaches to have a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree will enhance a coach’s chance of employment and earning potential. Most coaches have previous playing experience on the college level. Licensing is also a requirement of college coaching jobs. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) offers licensing programs for coaches.
Base Salary and Other Income
Compensation at any level of the NCAA depends largely on enrollment and athletic department funding. A full-time coach who has no other responsibilities outside of soccer can expect a starting salary to range anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000, or more. Some DIII head coaches can make more than a DI counterpart. The head women’s soccer coach at DIII University of Texas at Tyler, for example, made $43,652 in 2011, while the head men’s soccer coach at DI University of Houston made $37,000. Experience, recruiting skills and win-loss records factor into salary offers. Some full-time coaches also plan summer camps for youth players. Part-time coaches can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $15,000 per year. Coaches who do not have full-time jobs or high school coaches looking for summer work can find positions at DIII athletic department camps for several weeks during the summer. These camps train elementary to high school kids and also provide skills training for elite prep teams. Camp coaches can earn anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $10,000.
Bonuses for Field and Classroom Success
It is general practice to offer coaches salary incentives for different types of success. Some bonuses are tied to a certain number of wins per season. A conference championship guarantees a bonus for many coaches. If a team wins its conference championship or has a stellar season it can qualify for the NCAA postseason tournament, which again can lead to bonus eligibility -- the further a team advances, the higher a coach’s bonus can be. Also, the NCAA releases yearly Academic Progress Reports (APR). Some colleges may offer coaches bonuses if their student-athletes meet certain academic standards.
Continuing Education and Licenses
Coaches can take continuing education classes and apply for higher levels of certification in order to increase their employability and salary potential. USSF offers such classes and workshops across the country. The USSF National "B" license trains coaches to manage teams up to the college level. The National "A" license is the premier coaching license from USSF: coaches can only apply for this level after they have held the "B" license for at least a year and have three years of coaching experience. Most programs also require head coaches to earn diplomas from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. According to USSF, the minimum requirement for a head coach is the Premier Diploma. If an assistant wants to move up the ranks, they must take this 50-hour course on advanced coaching methods.
- National Soccer Coaches Association of America: Coaching Progression in the United States
- National Soccer Coaches Association of America: Job Listings
- United States Soccer Federation: National Course Schedule
- The Texas Tribune: Government Employee Salaries: Soccer
- National College Athletic Association: Academic Progress Rate
- National College Athletic Association: 2010-11 NCAA Division III Manual: Conduct and Employment of Athletics Personnel
Lauren Miller has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles on technology, small business and legal topics have appeared in magazines, newspapers and trade journals. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and is an avid gardener and sports fan.