US Soccer Development – Part 3

Growing soccer in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and across the United States has been an ongoing discussion on “how to.” There are no blueprints or manuals that make soccer succeed. We can only see what has worked across the world then mold it to our own areas. Parts 1 and 2 were more focused on outward acts of growing the game.

Part 1 – playing youth players to gain more experience at highest levels capable of playing.

Part 2 – supporting local soccer as an investment to see it grow

The next aspect is extremely important that impacts the “play the kids” aspect we approached in Part 1. To grow the game, it is essential to value coaching education and fan education. Part 3 is an individual focus on one’s own knowledge and growth within the game.

Kids can learn and grow as a player when their coaches do the same. As important as that is, it can be even more impactful if fans (moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins, etc.) became more educated to aid in the development of soccer, on and off the field. Non-traditional soccer education has never been more attainable than they are now with podcasts, YouTube videos, local clinics, state clinics, and various other outlets. Every soccer coach and soccer fan can help grow the sport by getting involved in their own education.

Recently the United States Soccer Federation has come under fire with its changes to its traditional coaching courses. If you are unfamiliar with the structure, FIFA sanctions a federation in each country that performs coaching education courses that are recognizable worldwide. The courses start at the F License, move alphabetically to the A License, and can conclude with a Pro License. It is up to the various leagues and state associations on how they enforce the licensing (example: must have E License to coach U12 club).

If a coach wanted to do full licensing in the US, here is the cost:

  • F License (online) – $25
  • E License (Ohio) – $130
  • D License (Ohio) – $400
  • C License (national) – $2,000
  • B License (national) – $3,000
  • A License (national) – $4,000
  • TOTAL: $9,555

Additionally, travel and lodging costs would dramatically raise the costs. The D License is taught over 2 weekends, C License in 2-3 months, B License in 4-5 months, and A License in 5-6 months.

Unlike many other countries, it is hard to find numbers on the licensed coaches in the United States. But, when Germany charges $600 for its A License, one could expect there to be more! Spain is priced around $4,000. England, on the other hand, charges $6,200 for their A License and you can add $2,000 more if you are not a member of the English FA.

A License coaches by country:

  • Spain – 15,423
  • Germany – 6,934
  • France – 3,308
  • Italy – 2,281
  • England – 1,395

As we have referenced previously, Iceland is known for its coaching emphasis, has 8 Pro License coaches, 165 A License coaches and 402 B License coaches. The Icelandic federation (KSI) is aiming for one professional coach per 50 players. Currently their ratio is 1:2500, so they have a long road ahead but have good data and a path to get there.

You may not have the desire to coach a youth team, high school team, or beyond. A license is not required even if you did want to. The education is because you never know who you will impact with the sport. You may end up becoming a parent, or are one already. With education, formal or informal, you can help your child develop as a soccer player.

American Tom Byer has spent decades aiding the development of Japanese soccer players. His recent book, Soccer Starts at Home, is a direct belief of how a family member, neighbor, teacher, or friend can impact the young players immediately. Coach Byer was recently hired by Washington Youth Soccer to bring his methods to the state. His philosophy is to impact the 23.7 million children under age 6 in the US. Those children can have an immediate impact on those around them earlier than a coach can.

The game constantly changes. Coaching and fan education within the sport allows the sport to continue growing and remain relevant. Not everyone is a coach of a team, but we all can develop a better understanding and knowledge of the sport. To get the US into global competitiveness it takes everyone working together to enhance the sport. We cannot sit back and wait for USSF to make it better. We cannot sit back and wait for the Development Academies to make it better. We cannot sit back and wait for the local clubs or youth leagues to make it better. Investment in our own knowledge makes an immediate impact in the game on a micro-level, and if we all do that, then it impacts the game on a macro-level.

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