A License

Posted: January 8, 2013 in US Soccer
Tags: , ,

Just wanted to do a running journal of my experience at the US Soccer Federation “A” License course.  If you’ve followed my posts in the past (and I’m sorry it’s been awhile) then you know how much I love coaching education.  I think it’s a valuable process to continue growing a professional and evaluating yourself to improve your teaching methodology.

I enjoy taking the courses in different parts of the country to get a variety of instructors, styles, and to meet new coaches and keep developing my professional network.  I took my “D” and “C” license courses in the Great Plains, my “B” license in California, National Diploma in South Carolina, Advanced National in the Midwest, and my Premier on the West Coast.  So I decided to register for my “A” License in Florida, and it has been a great experience so far.

The Federation is in a period of major transition when it comes to coaching education.  Every course I’ve taken has been a proving ground for new material or a new methodology.  Now, in the Klinsmann era, there are sweeping changes coming in the Federation’s methodology that are very similar to European models of coaching education.  I was in Kansas City this past fall for a Region 2 instructor’s meeting where we discussed and evaluated the changes being proposed for the “D” license that was initiated this month.  Very positive, and much more conducive to the learning and application process (hopefully I can get into some of that later).

One of the more recent changes to the “A” license curriculum is to have a consistent theme throughout the course related to tactical analysis, and I think it’s a very positive change.  In our pre-course assignments we were asked to watch the USA v. Guatemala CONCACAF qualifying game and do an indepth match analysis of the game.  It was one of the first things we handed in, and it was something that most of our candidates struggled with in part.  But throughout the course the instructors are relating back to that match analysis, and it has even replaced the oral examination topics.  Very practical and extremely applicable to advanced coaching.

Following in the next few days I’m just going to try and give a brief overview of the things I’ve taken away from each day and how I’ve benefited from it.


It’s always a really exciting thing for me to walk into a room of coaches I’ve never met and to start developing relationships and learning from one another.  My roommates are from Michigan and Georgia, one is a club director, and the other is a coach in the US Development Academy.  So two men who are working in different realms that I’ve had little experience in, great opportunity to learn.

The night kicks off with the course introduction and one thing I’m growing more and more positive about is the quality of the instructors we have at this course.  Jeff Pill is a director of soccer at Maranatha Baptist Bible College, and is a former US Women’s U19 National Team coach, as well as 40+ years of experience at the college and high school levels.  Tom Durkin was the director of soccer at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for 13 years after two years as an assistant coach with the MLS side Tampa Bay Mutiny.  Currently he’s an assistant coach at Northeastern University and coaches club level teams.  Mark Berson has been the head men’s coach at the University of South Carolina for 35 years and is currently leads NCAA Division 1 as the active coach with the most victories and also spent some time as the head coach for the USA U18 Men’s National team.

We kicked the evening off with a lecture on coaching methodology as it relates directly to this course (coaching 11v11).  The concepts of building up and progressing your practice are the same as they have been in other courses, but now the final product is a full 11v11 match where team tactics are applied on the big field.

After that we watched the USA v. Guatemala game again and tried to get feedback from our fellow candidates about our match analysis and the things we saw.

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