Lots of ‘ego driven’ coaches will probably lay claim to having an impact on a player that has made it to college or the professional game. Some people might also judge you based on that number. I’m certainly not about to judge or rate your influence on a player based on the amount of time you have worked with them and give you a % of value in that player's life that’ll ultimately decide if you can put their name on your resume! Especially given that most players have more than one coach...! Credit where credit is due for without your commitment they may have taken a different path, or not ended up where they are. Everything has an unintended consequence so maybe you pushing hard on them encouraged them to avoid the ‘bad guys’ at school. Or perhaps you built a relationship in which they were held accountable and that was the fire they needed at just the right time. There are lots of ways we will all impact players, without becoming a pro.
I just spent an hour (4 days into ‘social distancing’ !) going through an old folder which had all sorts in it from my travels as a Challenger Sports summer camp coach - MLB Tickets, ATP tour tickets, Alcatraz ticket, but an overwhelming amount of notes, thank you cards, and gifts that came with so much gratitude from campers and teams I worked with.
I also found my Center of Excellence player card from Northampton Town:
Which tied together all of those notes I received and my player card. I didn’t make it pro, in case you didn’t know, but I was so close… Not really, but I look at the influence of my coaches (my dad included!) and how much they shaped my future and the path I find myself on now - I don't think they are less 'coaches' because of that. Which takes me back to the endless notes I received. I’m not aware of any of those kids that have made it to the pro levels, yet - though stats show that not many do - but to have left such an impression on them to have hand written notes (see @leedunnesoccer ‘Why’ story to see) after just a week or a season goes to show our impact and how important our role is for the masses that play to PLAY, and not to 'make it'.
Reality - I could see a kid I coached on a summer camp 8 years ago and not know who they are, until they say so. Even then it might be a case of ‘ohhhh yehhhhhh I remember you…’ but they sure as shit remember you. They remember everything, as I remember everything about my coaches - that means the good and the bad. The coach I had at Northampton during the 98-99 season was the worst coach I have ever played for. I hated everything about him and it showed in my game. Although I am not blaming him for me not making it pro, I am treasuring his impact because it drives me to what I do everyday in a way that leaves a positive impact. I build relationships with the players and families I work with to know that a lasting impression can go on to change so many more lives as I have done. The majority won't make it beyond college or even perhaps high school soccer, and thats ok because the majority are still contributing to society with a positive memory of Soccer and, hopefully, an engaging, challenging, and caring coach that taught them more than breaking pressure. So, I think its only fair that if we are going to measure we do so by asking - How many great people have you made?