Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

James Campbell

Second Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Third Advisor

Richard Bernato


According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA, 2018), at least 4,420,000 children between the ages of 6–12 and 2,454,000 children between the ages of 13–17 participate in outdoor soccer in the United States. Arguably, their coaches have a significant impact on these children’s development. The purpose of this study was to evaluate coaching methods in soccer and their relationship to youth players’ enjoyment of the game and retention rates. The sample consisted of youth soccer players from the New York metropolitan area. This study adds to the growing literature on youth sports and demonstrates that coaches have a significant impact on outcomes such as enjoyment of the sport, increases in self-confidence, and motivation to remain in the sport. This study was used quantitative analysis and the Leadership Scale for Sports (LSS), designed by Chelladurai and Saleh (1978, 1980), with the goal of assessing athletes’ perceptions of coaches’ leadership styles and behaviors. This instrument assesses coaches’ leadership style along five dimensions: training and instruction, autocratic behavior, democratic behavior, social support, and positive feedback (Chelladurai & Saleh, 1980, as cited in Wood, 2008). It is important for coaches to understand young athletes’ motives for continued participation. Creating a positive environment within a team and at training sessions can have a lasting impact on overall enjoyment and, ultimately, on retention of team members. The findings of this research provide additional support for specific coaching methodologies, such as including players in the decision-making process, providing specific positive feedback and encouragement, creating realistic expectations, providing social time for teammates to make friends, and creating an environment that reduces fear of trying new skills.