How to Start a Soccer Academy: Step-by-Step Guide

Olivier Rousseau
16 June 2024 Soccer 2 min read

Starting a soccer academy is a venture that combines an entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for teaching and sports development. Below, we take a closer look at each step required to open a soccer academy.

We’ll discuss:

Step 1: Soccer Academy Business Plan
Step 2: Finding the Right Location
Step 3: Licenses and Insurance
Step 4: Attract and Hire Soccer Instructors
Step 5: Effectively Marketing Your Soccer Academy
Step 6: Use Technology to Enhance Your Operations
Step 7: Monitor and Adapt
Bonus: Other tools to help you open a Soccer Academy

Author’s note: I’m Olivier and I share with you tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the last decade as the owner of a kids’s sports program. Today, as the co-founder of Activity Messenger, I help soccer academies across the U.S. and Canada streamline their operations, increase revenue and improve communication with families and athletes.

Step 1: Develop Your Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is your blueprint for success. It should outline all the necessary steps to launch your soccer academy:

  • Mission and Vision: Define the broader goals of your soccer academy beyond profit. For instance, focus on fostering a love for the sport and promoting physical fitness and/or developing elite athletes.
  • Market Analysis: Identify the demographics of your target audience, including age range, geographic location, and the current local demand for soccer training. Analyze competitors in the soccer academy space to understand their offerings and pinpoint opportunities for differentiation.
  • Services Offered: Decide on the types of soccer programs you will offer, such as group training sessions, private coaching, competitive team training, or specialty clinics like goalkeeping or advanced techniques.
  • Pricing Strategy: Set competitive yet profitable prices for your soccer programs. Consider offering tiered pricing or package deals to accommodate different budgets and needs.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Develop a plan for attracting and retaining customers for your soccer academy. This might include online marketing, community outreach, partnerships with local schools, and special promotions.
  • Financial Plan: Outline your start-up costs, ongoing expenses, projected revenue, and break-even analysis. This section is vital for securing funding or attracting investors if needed.

Develop Your Business Plan for you soccer academy

Step 2: Secure the Right Location

Selecting the perfect location for your soccer academy is crucial for its success. Here are some options to consider when opening a soccer academy:

Renting Space to Start a Soccer Academy

Minimize your initial investment by partnering with community centers, local schools, or sports facilities that already have soccer fields. This approach allows you to tap into the established audience and infrastructure of these venues, avoiding the high costs associated with building and maintaining your own facilities. Be sure to negotiate terms that provide adequate hours and ensure that the field meets your program’s needs without interfering with the host’s schedule.

Renting Space to Start a Soccer Academy

Building Your Own Facility:

This option requires a larger financial commitment but offers complete control over how the soccer academy looks, functions, and operates. By customizing a facility specifically for your soccer programs, you can significantly enhance the customer experience. This allows you to offer more training sessions, tournaments, and special events than you could in a shared space. However, this approach demands careful planning—from securing funding to designing a facility that is user-friendly and compliant with regulations. With the freedom to customize everything from field size and surface type to amenities and accessibility, you can differentiate your soccer academy in a competitive marketplace.

Building Your Own Facility to start a soccer academy


Starting with Mobile Soccer Academy:

This option allows you to offer soccer lessons by traveling to your customers’ locations, such as local parks, private fields or even people’s homes. It minimizes overhead costs since there is no facility to maintain or rent. This model is ideal for clients who prefer the convenience of having lessons in their local area. It also provides flexibility in scheduling. However, ensuring a steady flow of customers requires effective logistical planning and robust local marketing. Mobile soccer training is perfect for those looking to enter the market with a low initial investment while offering personalized, convenient services.

Starting with Mobile Soccer Academy

Key Considerations When Opening a Soccer Academy

Regardless of the type of venue you choose, several important factors must be considered:

  • Visibility and Accessibility: Select a location that is easy to find and access. You can increase registrations by ensuring good visibility from major roads, enough parking, and access to public transportation.
  • Competition: Conduct a thorough analysis of the local market to understand the level of competition. Positioning your soccer academy in an area with fewer nearby academies can help you capture a larger share of the market.
  • Safety and Compliance: Ensure that your chosen facility complies with local zoning and building codes. It is crucial to meet all safety standards to protect your clients and staff, as well as to fulfill insurance requirements.

Step 3: Licenses and Insurance

Meeting regulatory standards is just the beginning. Compliance is also a key factor in establishing trust and credibility with your customers. Here are the critical areas of compliance you need to address when opening a soccer academy:

Business License:

To legally operate a soccer academy, it’s essential to obtain the appropriate business license from your local city or county. This process may vary depending on your location, so check with local government websites or offices to understand the specific requirements. Having a business license not only ensures legal operation but also enhances your business’s credibility with customers and partners.

Health and Safety Certifications:

Maintaining strict health and safety standards is paramount, especially for an activity involving physical stress like competitive soccer clinics and group interaction. This includes ensuring that your facilities are safe and that your staff are trained in first aid and emergency response. Certifications might also include ensuring that playing surfaces are maintained to prevent injuries. Demonstrating your commitment to safety can be a deciding factor for parents when selecting a soccer academy.

Health and Safety Certifications for soccer academies


Having the right insurance protects your business and helps keep you and your customers insured. Liability covers injuries that may occur on your premises or while you’re working. If you are the owner of your facility, property insurance protects the physical aspects of your business from damage due to events such as fire or vandalism. If you have employees, workers’ compensation insurance is a legal requirement in many places. It protects both your employees and your business from unforeseen accidents by covering medical expenses and some lost wages for employees injured on the job.

Step 4: Hire Qualified Soccer Instructors

Instructors play a pivotal role in the quality of your soccer training and the overall experience of your soccer players. Ensuring you have the right team in place is crucial. Here’s how to make sure your soccer academy has top-notch instructors:

Soccer Coaching Certifications

Ensure that all soccer instructors are certified by reputable organizations, such as the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) or Canada Soccer. These certifications verify that instructors are knowledgeable about the latest coaching techniques and safety protocols. This not only enhances the credibility of your soccer academy but also reassures parents that their children are receiving quality training from skilled professionals.

Soccer Coaching Certifications

Experience and Skills

Seek out soccer instructors who possess a strong background in both playing and coaching, beyond their basic certifications. Experience working with children is particularly crucial if they are your primary clientele. Instructors who have successfully engaged with young athletes and demonstrated patience and understanding are better equipped to foster a positive and effective learning environment.

Experience and Skills for your soccer instructors

Background Checks

Conducting thorough background checks on your soccer coaches is a non-negotiable. This step will ensure that all employees are trustworthy and have no history that could be a threat to the safety of your players. Criminal records, previous employment verification, and references should be included in the background check. This due diligence is not only for the protection of your students, but also for the integrity and reputation of your soccer academy.

Attracting Young Talent as Soccer Coaches

Using insights from your blog on hiring Gen Z employees, consider creating a dynamic work environment that appeals to younger soccer instructors. Gen Z values workplaces that are inclusive, tech-savvy, and socially responsible. Here’s how to cater to their preferences:

  • Inclusive and Supportive Culture: Promote a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusiveness. Encourage open communication and collaboration so that all team members feel respected and valued.
  • Tech-Savvy Tools and Resources: Leverage the latest technology to streamline your soccer coach application forms, coaching process and enhance your training sessions.
    Give coaches access to the latest coaching apps, video analysis tools, and other technology resources to help them improve their coaching techniques and engage more effectively with their students.
  • Social Responsibility: Through community service projects or partnerships with local organizations, demonstrate your commitment to social responsibility. This can be a powerful motivator for Gen Z employees, so highlight your academy’s efforts to give back to the community.
  • Opportunities for Growth and Learning: Within your soccer academy, emphasize opportunities for professional development. To help coaches hone their skills, offer ongoing training, workshops and certifications. Emphasize the potential for career growth and the possibility of taking on more responsibility or expanded roles within your small business.

How to retain Soccer Instructors

How to retain Soccer Instructors

To retain your soccer instructors, your academy should cultivate a culture of feedback and recognition. Regular check-ins, performance reviews, and open channels of communication can keep Gen Z employees engaged and satisfied. By fostering such culture, your soccer academy can retain talented Gen Z instructors who are motivated and committed to your program’s success.

Step 5: Effectively Marketing Your Soccer Academy

Successfully marketing your soccer academy requires an omni-channel marketing approach to attract prospects and turn them into dedicated soccer players. By combining digital and traditional marketing strategies, you can increase awareness and drive enrollment to your soccer academy or programs.

Here’s a detailed look at some key marketing ideas for soccer academies:

Email Marketing for Soccer Academies

  • Build an Email List: Capture email addresses during registration or through your website.
  • Engage Your Audience: Send regular newsletters with updates, success stories, and information about upcoming events.
  • Segmented Campaigns: Use segmented email campaigns to target specific audiences with personalized offers and content pertaining to youth soccer développent.

Offer Early Bird Discounts

  • Offer Discounts: Provide special discounts for those who pre-register for your soccer programs.
  • Promote Widely: Advertise the early bird discount across all marketing channels to maximize exposure.
  • Tiered Pricing: Implement tiered pricing with discounts that decrease as the start date approaches to create a sense of urgency.

Social Media Marketing

  • Use Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok: Connect with families and potential students on these platforms.
  • Post Engaging Content: Attract and retain followers by sharing class photos and videos, soccer tips, motivational quotes, and highlights from past and present athletes.
  • Run Social Media Contests: Create contests where participants can win free lessons or other prizes by sharing your content with others or by tagging their friends.

Free Soccer Training Session

  • Attract New Students: Provide a free introductory lesson to entice those who may be hesitant to commit to a full session.
  • Promotional Tool: Use these free lessons as a promotional strategy during community events.
  • Follow-Up Offers: Send special follow-up offers to participants to convert them into paying clients.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content Marketing

  • Get found on google with the right Keywords: Integrate keywords such as “soccer academy in [your city]” and “soccer training” to boost search engine rankings.
  • Publish Valuable Content: Write blog posts about soccer techniques, health tips to improve soccer performance, and tips for preparing for a game.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads

  • Target Specific Audiences: Use Google and social media PPC campaigns to reach specific soccer players based on location, interests, and other demographics.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly track the performance of your bids and ads, making adjustments as needed to optimize results.


Step 6: Use Technology to Enhance Your Operations

Incorporate technology into your soccer academy can greatly improve business efficiency and the overall customer experience. An online registration platform like Activity Messenger can help you with:

Simple Registration Forms

Start by setting up registration forms for your soccer lessons using a modern registration platform like Activity Messenger. This will help you create an intuitive interface that makes it easy for parents to sign up their kids for soccer programs. The streamlined process speeds up registration and reduces administrative tasks, allowing you to focus more on providing quality soccer instruction and less on paperwork.

Online Soccer Evaluation Forms:

Evaluation forms allows soccer academies to keep parents informed of their child’s progress in real time. Digital progress reports and online soccer report cards are more accessible and environmentally friendly than traditional paper reports.

Automated and Personalized Communications

Activity Messenger automates and personalizes soccer academy communications with built-in email/SMS tools. This tool can efficiently manage all your email marketing needs, from sending promotional offers and class reminders to sharing educational content. The ability to personalize your outreach increases their relevance and effectiveness, as communications are targeted based on the recipient’s interactions with your soccer academy.

Liability Waivers:

Another area where Activity Messenger can assist is in digitizing liability waivers for soccer lessons. You can even include these waivers in your registration forms instead of requiring an extra tool like SmartWaiver. By moving these important documents online, soccer academies can significantly reduce paperwork, minimize errors, and ensure the secure storage of sensitive information.

Digital Waiver for Swim lessons

Soccer Academy Management Software

As your soccer academy grows, the need for robust management software becomes critical. Activity Messenger offers a comprehensive solution that includes scheduling, billing, and customer management. This integration makes it easier to track, analyze and make informed decisions by helping soccer academies keep all of their operational data in one place. Activity Messenger is simple to use when you first open your football academy, but offers all the sophisticated features of top registration software as your business grows and develops.

Step 7: Monitor and Adapt

Responding effectively to both customer needs and market dynamics is critical to the success and growth of your academy. Here’s how to manage these aspects effectively:

Collect Player Feedback

Actively collect and analyze feedback from players and their parents. Use this data to refine your coaching methods and overall customer experience by making it easy to provide feedback with end-of-session reminders. You can also gain deeper insights by engaging directly with customers through feedback sessions or parent meetings.

Financial Monitoring

You should pay close attention to your financial metrics from the very beginning. To understand your financial health, regularly review your income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Use this information to identify where costs can be reduced or where investments need to be made. To improve your bottom line, adjust your pricing structure, explore new revenue streams (such as advanced training programs or seasonal camps), and eliminate unnecessary expenses.

Soccer Market Trends

Stay informed about the latest developments in coaching, safety protocols and improving customer service. To stay on the cutting edge, attend industry conferences, participate in professional forums and read relevant publications. Watch your competitors, too, for new services and ways of doing things differently.

By focusing on these key areas, you will be able to ensure that your soccer academy remains competitive and continues to meet the needs of your clients.

Other tools that can help you open a soccer academy

Activity Messenger can help you get started. But it can do much more. It provides all the tools you need to succeed and grow your business and help you build a profitable soccer academy.

Jotform, SurveyMonkey, SmartWaiver & Mailchimp alternative in one tool

End of session reminders
Waitlist Management 
Soccer quotes to inspire your players

If you would like to learn more about Activity Messenger, book a demo with one our experts.

Written by Olivier Rousseau Olivier is a kids sports programs owner who has been operating for over a decade with locations in Montreal, Quebec city & Ottawa. He also helps Gymnastics Club, Swim Schools and Dance Studios streamline their operations. He is the co-founder of Activity Messenger an online registration platform for the sports & leisure industry.

How to Open a Soccer Academy with Activity Messenger

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