NSCAA launches new youth coaching courses

The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) is offering new coaching education programs that focus on small-sided games, from 4v4 through 11v11.

“Experts have long pointed to small-sided games as the right way for young players to develop their soccer skills,” said Lynn Berling-Manuel, NSCAA Chief Executive Officer. “Recent changes in the youth soccer landscape has given the NSCAA the opportunity to take a fresh approach to how we design and deliver coaching education for newer coaches.”

The NSCAA Coaching Development Courses replace the NSCAA Levels 1-6 Diploma curriculum.

“We hear it again and again that coaching education at the grassroots novice and intermediate level needs to be accessible and honor a coach's time,” said NSCAA Director of Coaching Education Ian Barker, who along with NSCAA Education Content Coordinator Vince Ganzberg, previously an education consultant to U.S. Soccer, developed the new curriculum. “We wanted these to be information-packed and enjoyable, but also prepare a coach for any higher level diploma or licensing courses they may choose to take in the future.”

The new courses come in the wake of the U.S. Soccer Federation's new small-sided guidelines* and rule changes.

NSCAA Foundations of Coaching Diploma
Online course: Introduction to coaching for the first-time coach or refresher for coaches coming back to youth coaching.

4v4 Diploma
Three-hour, in-person: For coaches with players ages 8 and under. Includes age-appropriate training activities around a 4v4 game structure.

7v7/9v9 Diploma
Nine-hour in-person: Focuses on 9- to 12-year-olds. Highlights player development, principles of play, technique, and tactics with small-sided games.

11v11 Diploma
Twelve-hour, in person: Designed for intermediate coaches of players age 13 and older. Focuses on the 11v11 game with topics including the modern numbering system, formations and systems of play, player competencies and defensive and offensive tactics.

The courses can be taken in any order. Organizers may schedule multiple courses on a single weekend.

NSCAA Coaching Course Menu
NSCAA course hosting


6 comments about "NSCAA launches new youth coaching courses ".
  1. don Lamb, September 11, 2016 at 11:48 p.m.

    Why aren't we starting with 2v2 and 3v3 at the youngest ages? Why aren't we having players attack two smalls goals instead of one? Bravo to Ian Barker for many of the changes and considerations, but this is not good enough in terms of our approach to the youngest ages.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, September 12, 2016 at 1:08 a.m.

    Why? Because NSCAA is not USSF. USSF defines the competitions; NSCAA provides coaching education. They merely repackaged their 6 courses into 4 courses that are less repetitive, and correspond to the USSF defined side sizes. USYSA didn't even have anything to say about the USSF imposed changes. Respectfully, I suggest that the U-Little competition rules don't matter much in the long run. The competitions are less important to development than the training. All coaches should be teaching 1v1 and building from there. How far the training progresses depends on the level of the players.

  3. don Lamb replied, September 12, 2016 at 12:54 p.m.

    The games should be viewed as training as well, not competitions. Not many 4, 5, 6 year olds can comprehend the complexity of a 4v4 game. Everything they do is going to go straight to the ball and straight to the goal. You can create a better environment for them to learn how to play the game. Lower numbers allows them to process the options on the field even if they are not straight in front of them. And attacking two goals opens their vision to the entire field (with some coaching).

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, September 12, 2016 at 1:38 p.m.

    In my view it is better to not have league/team competitions at all or to label the training sessions as competitions. Having competitions encourages youth coaches to focus on team tactics at the expense of fundamentals. I like the old days when we used to talk about individual tactics. Now I have to refer to the first attacker/first defender roles instead. I see your point about two goals getting the kids to look up. I used two goals with adults to get rid of the "funnel" effect as you neared the goal.

  5. don Lamb replied, September 12, 2016 at 4:39 p.m.

    Agree. It's the adults that insist on the kids "competing." In my opinion, attacking two goals should be a fundamental aspect of coaching youth soccer. Honestly, I think that the NSCAA is out of their element when they talk about coaching kids under 10 or 12 years old. How many of those guys have any real experience with these ages? NSCAA is full of college coaches...

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, September 12, 2016 at 11:42 p.m.

    I expect you are correct about the membership, but NSCAA tries to pick up a broader range of coaches. They offer discounted memberships to coaches taking their classes and it is not college coaches who were taking the 1 to 6 diploma courses. The instructor I had in Arlington, VA was excellent, better than I expected and I had high expectations. He was also a USSF instructor. Like just about everything in life, the mileage will vary.

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