The US Soccer Federation offers coaching education classes at every level for soccer coaches in the United States. A 2018 revamp changed the scope of coaching licenses, dividing between grassroots and professional. This replaces the old National Youth and E license courses, with several of the grassroots courses offered online. It also requires signing up online for US Soccer’s Learning Center.
US Soccer coaching courses include:
- Background screening.
- SafeSport training.
- An “introduction to safe and healthy playing environments.”
- Reading and acceptance of US Soccer’s Code of Conduct.
- Supplemental education is also offered, including Academy Director, Goalkeeping, Educator, Director of Coaching,
- Coach For Community, and Talent Scout courses.
The grassroots courses now start online with a free, 20-minute online introduction to grassroots coaching. That leads into small-sided courses: 4v4, 7v7, 9v9, and 11v11. Those two-hour courses are offered online and in-person, and two of the grassroots courses must be taken in person. For coaches already holding the old F license, it’s now a requirement to take the online introduction to grassroots coaching along with two of the small sided courses taken in-person to advance to the next step in licenses. For holders of the old E license, only the online introduction to grassroots coaching is necessary. Each small-sided course costs $25.
To take the D course, you need at least two grassroots in-person courses and an online license. Candidates take four in-person courses over nine weeks along with what US Soccer calls “assignments and mentoring,” virtual meetings, individual meetings with a Coach Educator, and investigation/research. These classes may or may not require travel, depending on your location. The focus is on training sessions for small-sided and full-sized drills, specifically the Under-6 to Under-12 age groups, and what US Soccer calls the Six Tasks of a Coach:
- Coaching games
- Coaching training sessions
- Leading the team
- Leading the players
- Managing the performance environment
- Communicating with players and families
The D License costs between $300 – $550.
C License Course
After the D, you’ll need six months of experience to take the C course. This four-month course with four in-person days requires the holder to have had a D License for a minimum of 6months, be at least 18 years of age, and be currently coaching. It consists of weekly learning opportunities with a mixture of independent learning using online modules, live virtual meetings, and in-person meetings led by a licensed US Soccer Educator. The C License teaches what US Soccer calls the core concepts of coaching, with a focus on the U-13 to U-17 age groups. US Soccer has a waiver process for qualified coaches holding foreign licenses and former top-flight professional players handled through the organization hosting the C License course. If you don’t already have the D License and meet the other criteria, contact the host of the C License course you’re interested in to see if you qualify for a waiver. The C License costs between $1,500 – $2,000.
B License Course
Beyond C, entry to the pro pathway requires an application to each course and more robust prerequisites. This six-month course stresses player and team development with youth (U-13+) or senior teams in a “performance environment.” It consists of two in-person meetings, virtual meetings, independent learning and development periods, one-on-one meetings with instructors, and individual and group assignments. Candidates are expected to commit to two to three hours of virtual learning per week. Candidates need to have had the C License for a year, have three or more years coaching experience, be currently coaching with access to 11v11 training, and a signed letter from club leadership to confirm position, roles, and responsibilities. The waiver procedure for the B License requires the equivalent of a UEFA B License, five or more years of playing experience with a senior US National Team or at the pro level. Current or retired players who participate in youth training camps can earn credit towards required coaching hours. The B License costs between $1,300 – $3,000.
A – Youth License Course
US Soccer divides the A License between youth and senior soccer. The A-Youth license focuses on developing the future professional soccer player. It’s a 10-month commitment with three in-person meetings, virtual meetings, independent learning, one-on-one meetings with instructors, guest speakers, an exit interview, a collaborative project, and a final assessment meeting. Candidates need to have had the B License for one year, have four years of coaching experience, be currently coaching, and have access to a team in a U-13 to U19 youth environment. The A-Youth License costs $2,000 – $3,500.
A – Senior License Course
The A-Senior License focuses on coaching a team at a high level, “in a high-performance senior team environment in a US based competition or coaching in a college environment.” It’s a 10-month course with three in-person meetings (4 days/3 nights), an average of two virtual meetings per week, one virtual meeting week (4 days @ 4-5 hours), independent learning and research, individual/small group workshops with coach educators, expert seminars on domain-specific topics, and a final assessment meeting. The differences are access to a college soccer or minor league club and an application submitted through US Soccer’s coaching portal. The A-Senior License costs $3,500.
Pro License Course
Following the lead of UEFA, US Soccer adopted a pro license for the top-level coaches. It’s now a requirement for MLS head coaches that don’t qualify for a waiver. US Soccer requires holders of the UEFA Pro License to take the USSF Pro License as well. To qualify to take the course, a coach must hold a US Soccer A License for at least one year and be actively coaching in MLS, NWSL, USL, MLS Next Pro, NISA, or on a US National Team staff for at least one year. The course takes 12 months with three in-person meetings of 5 days each, two virtual meetings per month, two six-day onsite visits to the coach’s club by a USSF instructor, an international visit where possible, two developmental periods, and a final presentation and interview. The Pro License costs $10,000.
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