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Certification and Licensing for Soccer Coaches

This page provides basic information on certification and licensing programmes for coaches in the following countries:
  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. England
  4. Netherlands
  5. Scotland
  6. Spain
  7. USA

United States

  1. NSCAA
  2. The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) offers two levels of coaching licenses offered by the organization. Information regarding course offerings can be found at: http://www.nscaa.com

    The first level, Non-Residential Programs, has two diplomas - State diploma and Regional diploma. The breakdown:

  3. USYSA affiliates
  4. These courses are offered by the state associations which are affiliated with USYSA. To find the office of your state association, go to: http://soccertimes.com/directory/usysa.htm.

  5. AYSO courses
  6. The AYSO site lists summaries of coaching courses, as well as links/directories to affiliates. Their URL is http://soccer.org/. Course offerings include:

    U-6 Coaching Course
    Target All first-time U-6 coaches
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the U-6 manual
    U-8 CoachingCourse
    Target All first-time U-8 coaches and all U-6 coaches who have moved into the U-8 program
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the U-8 manual
    U-10 Coaching Course
    Target All first-time U-10 coaches and all U-8 coaches who have moved into the U-10 program
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the U-10 manual
    Youth Coaching Course
    Description 8 hours
    Target All first-time U-12 coaches and all U-10 coaches who have moved into the U-12 program
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the Youth Course Manual
    Intermediate Coaching Course
    Description 15 hours
    Target Youth Coaching Course Graduates
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the Intermediate Course Manual
    Advanced Coaching Course
    Description 18 hours
    Target Intermediate Coaching Course Graduates
    Materials A combination of personal orientation and the Advanced Course Manual
    National Coaching Course
    Description Week-long
    When offered Summer
    Target Advanced Coaching Course Graduates
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To become a Certified Youth Leader (Football) you need to complete 3 courses.

  1. Jeugdvoetbalspelleider (JVSL). This is aimed at the parent who has decided to coach. The course gives knowledge and insight into teaching football technique to pupil footballers (6-12 years). The motto (and title of the course book) is "The ball is round .... and that's hard enough." The course gives a good basis for a volunteer to train up to youth team (up to 14 years). This is an evening course consisting of 8 x 3 hour sessions. If there are enough takers, courses can be held at your own club. Minimum age is 16 years and costs are HFl 80 including books.
  2. Jeugdvoetbalbegeleider (JVBL). This is to prepare you to coach a youth team (up to 14 years). The following are included in the course: how to handle young players; age phases of the youth; boys and girls football; injury prevention; rules; organisation of extracurricular activities. The course is 6 x 2.5 hour sessions. Minimum age 16 years. Costs HFl 60 including books.
  3. Club Referee

There are also more advanced courses:

  1. Youth Football Trainer (Jeugd Voetbal Trainer - JVT). In a period of 4 months, 20 lessons (60 hours) plus an attachment to a club (usually own club!) for a minimum of 20 hours. 2 lessons each week on one evening and a Saturday morning. Cost Hfl 475 excluding books (Hfl 75) and entrance test (Hfl 25). Entry Criteria: min 18 years old and ability to pass an ability test. Suitability is checked by interview, examining motivation and background for suitability to coach and lead children. Aim and content: Achieve basic knowledge and ability to train youth players, to lead them during matches and all that involves. Ability to translate game situations into training and vice versa, coaching during games, lead the rest of the youth cadre and (jointly) prepare a youth plan.

  2. Trainer Coach III. Length: approx 4 months, 24 x 3 hour lessons weekly on Monday evening and Saturday morning. Cost: Hfl 800 excl books (Hfl 100) and registration fee (Hfl 50). Entry Cirteria: Min 18 yrs and currently training a team for a min of 1 hr per week. An ability test and examination of suitablity and motivation (by interview). Aim and Content: Achieve basic knowledge and ability to train players (m&f) in the FA 5th class and below and to coach them during games.

  3. Trainer Coach II. Length: approx 9 months, 24 weekly lessons of 2.5 hrs on Monday evenings plus 24 x 3 hour lessons on Saturday morning and a 2 day course in Zeist. If candidate is not currently Head Coach at a club then an attachment to a club is required, for 1 evening per week, (level is the A selection: 1st team FA 2nd/3rd class). Candidates will be required to visit games and prepare essays. Cost: Hfl 2,600 excluding books (Hfl 100 in addition to those required for Trainer Coach III). Entry criteria: candidates must hold Diploma Oefenmeester III or Diploma Trainer D. Aim and Content: Achieve a more complete knowledge and ability to train and coach players in the FA 2nd Class.

  4. Trainer Coach I. Length: Approx 9 months during which 12 x 2 day (Monday and Tuesday residential) meetings in Zeist, plus 3 x 1 day for final exams, above which attendance at several games [assume professional games here] required. An attachment [to what it does not say but assume it will be to a professional or top class amateur club] of 1.5 hrs per week is required. Costs: Hfl 8,000, incl accommodation at Zeist, excluding course material [no price quoted] travel costs and match entry fees.. Entry Criteria: Hold any of: Oefenmeester II Diploma, Trainer C Diploma or Trainer Coach II diploma and pass the entrance test and interview. Aim and content: Achieve knowledge and abilty to function as Oefenmeester in Amateur Football or as Assistant Oefenmeester in Professional Football.

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Scotland offers a number of coaching courses. For more information about course offerings, check the URL of the Scottish Football Association at: http://www.scottishfa.co.uk.

EUFA Pro-Licence
Entry requirements Invitation
Hours 240
Practical specialist training, styles of play, squad training, tactical games, teaching practice.
Theoretical altitude training, performance psychology, rest and regeneration, media relations, tournament planning, the doctor and the coach, the law and the coach, business management, mental training, European youth development, refereeing issues.
Assessment interview, log book, study report, coaching in the game, match analysis.
SFA A(advanced) Licence Diploma
Entry requirements A (introductory) certificate
Hours 60
Practical goalkeeping specialism, creative techniques, shaping a team, teaching practice.
Theoretical planning the season, styles of play, psychological preparation, communication skills, the physiotherapist and the coach.
Assessment coaching in the game(11v11), defence, midfield and attack, team talk.
SFA A (introductory) Intermediate Certificate
Entry requirements B Licence Diploma
Hours 60
Practical developing speed, testing and assessment, rotational exercises, teaching practice.
Theoretical refereeing issues, testing and assessment, match analysis, motivation, senior team management.
Assessment written paper, interview, log book, coaching in the game(11v11).
SFA B Licence Diploma
Entry requirements C,D,E and G Certificates
Hours 120
Practical group skills, zone games, set plays, endurance and strength, small sided games, teaching practice.
Theoretical aerobic and anaerobic training, youth development, prevention of injuries, the referee and the coach, diet and nutrition, match analysis, people with disabilities.
Assessment practical themes, coaching in the game(11v11), laws, log book.
SFA C (club coach) Certificate
Entry requirements NONE
Hours 30
Practical technique and skill development, passing, finishing, dribbling, control, possession, speed and flexibility, small sided games, defending, attacking.
Theoretical the coaching process module, laws of the game module.
Assessment practice assessments, group skills.
SFA D (development) Certificate
Entry requirements NONE
Hours 10
Practical warm ups, calm downs, technique work in pairs and groups, synchronised skills, speed and perception.
Theoretical youth team management module, physical preparation module.
Assessment none.
SFA E (early touches) Certificate
Entry requirements NONE
Hours 10
Practical individual activities, movement and balance, work in pairs and groups, relays, fun games, small sided games.
Theoretical working with children miodule, first aid module.
Assessment none.
SFA G (goalkeeping) Certificate
Entry requirements NONE
Hours 10
Practical warm ups, handling, shape, mobility, positioning, catching, distribution.
Theoretical working with children miodule, first aid module.
Assessment none.
SFA G (goalkeeping) Licence Diploma
Entry requirements invitation
Hours 30
Practical game appreciation, circuit training, speed, stamina, power.
Theoretical laws re. goalkeeping, physical preparation, diet and nutrition.
Assessment practical goalkeeping themes, worksheets.
SVQ Level 2 Coaching (Scottish Vocational Qualification)
Entry requirements N/A
Hours 80
Practical as per C,D,E and G certificates.
Theoretical as per C,D,E and G certificates, diet and nutrition, administration and media studies.
Assessment training session, worksheets, log book, interview.
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Spain has a three-year program for training soccer coaches, which is offered through the Escuela Nacional de Entrenadores (National School of Coaches), in coordination with Federacion Española de Fútbol (Spanish Soccer Federation). After the first year, the coach is certified to coach players under 18. After the second year, the coach is certified to coach at regional category. After the third year, the coach is certified to coach at the professional level. The coaching school can be contacted at:

Federacion EspaŅola de F™tbol
C/Alberto Bosch-13
28014 Madrid
Phone 34 91 4201362
Fax: 34 91 4202094

In Spain, the coaches who tend to obtain coaching licenses mostly are those who work with professional or semi-pro teams/clubs. Many professional clubs run schools for younger children (age 10+) as a part of their programs, and those programs often will send these coaches through this training (although this varies from club to club).

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The Australian soccer community is currently revising its approach to coaching clinics, and is expected to adopt an approach which is similar to that taken by Scotland and the USYSA. As a result, readers are advised to check one or moreof the following sources for further information as these revised course offerings are put into place. The Australian Sports Commission's home page is located at http://www.ausport.gov.au, and contains links to various soccer associations in Australia. The Australian Institute of Sport soccer page is located at: http://www.ausport.gov.au/aissoc.html and the Australian Women's Soccer Association's homepage is located at http://www.ausport.gov.au/soccer/awsahome.html. The NSW Soccer Federation's homepage is at http://www.soccernsw.com.au.
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England offers a variety of training courses for coaches. For more information, see the website of the FA Coaches Association (FACA) is located at: http://www.coach-soccer.livjm.ac.uk.

Membership of the FACA is necessary for licenses to remain valid; with the additional requirement that all members undergo a minimum of 24 hours of continuing professional development over a three year period.

  1. FA Junior Team Managers

    For Managers and Coaches of Club Teams aged 7-16 years of age, as well as prospective candidates for the FA Coaching Certificate, Youth Leaders and prospective Youth Leaders, Colleges of FE students, and CCPR CSLA students (Minimum age - 16 years).

    The course addressed common problems in team management, as well as providing information on developing fitness; understanding normal physical development; adaptation of training to normal development curves; first-aid and risk management; benefits of mini-soccer for new players; games and drills to teach soccer skills to youth players.

  2. FA Coaching Certificate

    Candidates (minimum 17 years of age) who have had some experience of regular football participation - at any level - and wish to become more committed to coaching football particularly to players from 7 to 14 years of age. In the course, candidates are taught to coach the basic skills and techniques, and shown how to teach the principles of attack and defence through the use of practices and small sided games. They also are introduced to the elements involved in the coaching process, as well as taught to plan, conduct and evaluate a series of sessions in a systematic and progressive manner. Finally, they are taught team management skills, including first-aid and risk management. Initial course of training 50 contact hours; Final training and assessment 10 contact hours.

  3. FA Coaching Licence (UEFA B Award)

    This course is offered to those who have the FA Coaching Certificate, or those with the FA Preliminary Coaching Award who, by the end of this course of Training and Assessment, have successfully undertaken an emergency Aid Course (Equivalent); satisfactory completed the worksheets from the FA Coaching Certificate; satisfactorily completed the requirements of the recorded coaching in the Log Book for the FA Coaching Certificate.

    The course teaches coaches how to train players in advanced individual techniques, group skills, principles of players; develop a deeper understanding of the coaching process, and the particular needs of teenagers and young; and learn to plan and prepare coaching sessions in relation to a match programme (including evaluation, correction and adjustments needed). Finally, the course focuses on team management and risk management issues.

    The Initial Course of training is 46 contact hours. Final training Assessment is 14 contact hours.

Special Notes on Mini-Soccer

Small sided football will become mandatory for all children at all levels up to and including Year 5 (under 10's). This will encourage a four year structure of mini soccer from the under 7 age range and provide a more enjoyable and lasting introduction to football for the hundreds and thousands of youngsters involved.

The FACA believes that mini-Soccer provides a number of benefits to younger players, including: More touches of the ball, more participation, more enjoyment; Fewer players on the pitch, simpler decisions, better understanding; Smaller pitches,greater concentration, more interest; More individual success, more children playing, sustained participation levels beyond 10 years old.

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Introduction to Canada's National Coaching Certification Program and the Canadian Soccer Association Program

National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP)

Level One
Level Two

Level Three

Level Four

Level Five

The program is structured on five levels and presents coaches with the Theoretical, Technical and Practical aspects of coaching. Theory courses are sponsored by the Provincial governments across the country and relate detailed information on such topics as leadership, motivation, training and teaching methods, etc., common to coaches in all sports. The Technical courses are offered by the National/Provincial Sport Associations and present the specific skills, drills and tactics of a particular sport in a progressive, logical sequence. The Practical component of the program consists of actual on-the-field coaching where the principles learned in Theory and Technical are practically applied by coaches working with their athletes. When a coach completes all three components of a level, that coach becomes formally certified.

The Canadian Soccer Association Coaching Program

The National Coaching Certification Program forms the basis of the CSA's Coaching Program.

Theory Technical Practical Certified


Level One

Level Two

Level Three

C Licence
Level Four B Licence Program

Level Five A Licence Program

In order to provide coaches with specific and relevant technical/tactical information based on the physiological and psychological growth and development patterns of players, the Technical component has been divided into three streams:

Children's Soccer: for coaches of players 6-10 years old
Youth Soccer: for coaches of players 11-16 years old
Senior Soccer: for coaches of players 17 years and older

The Youth and Senior streams are in effect up to and including Level 3, while the Children's stream is in effect up to and including Level 2. In order to enter the Coaching Program, each coach must choose a stream based on the age of the players with which he/she works. A coach working with 14-year-old players, for instance, would take the Level 1 Youth course and upon completion of the Practical and Theory components would be certified as a level 1 Youth Coach. That same coach would then proceed to Level 2 Youth and so on up to Level 3. A coach may remain in a particular coaching stream for as long as he/she is working with players within that particular age group. If, however, the coach decides to work with children or senior players he/she should work through the appropriate coaching stream beginning at Level 1 in order to gain full certification as a Children's or Senior Coach.

Those with a strong background in soccer, who have performed at the elite level (i.e. National Team, Provincial Team, Professional, semi-professional and Division 1 Senior Amateur Provincial League) may apply for exemption from Level 1 and Level 2 Technical/Practical and may enter the program at Level 3 as part of the elite stream. Coaches accepted into the elite stream must complete the Level 1-3 Theory components before entry into the 'C' Licence course will be permitted. The CSA requires that coaches reach a minimum standard of competence in a practical coaching environment. Each coach is, therefore, formally assessed and graded by Staff Instructors as part of the course. This process begins with the Level 3 Practical course which is designated the 'C' Licence. The 'A' and 'B' Licence programs are designed for high performance coaches and cater to those wishing to make a career of coaching at the highest level.

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Updated 8 April 1999
Overview | Principles | Resources | Guidelines | Practices | Game Day | Very Young | More Reading