The eight courses will cost $25 each, plus, in the case of in-person courses, the fee charged by the member organizations that host the courses. With the completion of each course comes a U.S. Soccer Grassroots Coaching License.
Completing a minimum of two in-person courses (one of which must be the 11v11 course) and one of the online courses earns eligibility for taking the D license course.
• If you currently hold an E license: you advance to the D license by completing the cost-free Introduction to Grassroots Coaching module.
• If you currently hold an F license: you advance to the D license by completing the Introduction to Grassroots Coaching module, the 11v11 in-person course, and one additional in-person grassroots course, the 4v4, 7v7 or 9v9.
• If you do not already have a U.S. Soccer license: you advance to the D license course by completing the Introduction to Grassroots Coaching module, the 11v11 in-person course, one other in-person course, and one online Grassroots course.
"Children learn through play," U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Nico Romeijn said in a press release. "As coaches, we must allow our players to experience the game, and our role as coaches at the grassroots level is to facilitate that experience."
MY VIEW -- THE BEST PART: I have long believed that the biggest mistake coaches make is greeting rambunctious youngsters at practice by starting them off with drills -- and saving the actual playing of soccer for the very end of practice, like rewarding children with dessert for eating broccoli. "Do all these drills and you'll get to do what you thought you signed up for: play soccer."
So I was delighted with what I saw when taking the new Grassroots Coaching Module and I got to the Play-Practice-Play training sessions. (There are four sessions for download after completing the module.)
The first phase of the U-8 session is: "Intentional Free Play." It's 20 minutes of 2v2 soccer with goals. The U-9/U10 session starts off with 3v3 "Intentional Free Play," and the U-13 with 4v4 or 5v5. All three sessions also end with a soccer game.
I'm sure we'll continue to get new versions of how we should coach for years to come, but starting a practice with play should be here to stay.
U.S. Soccer's Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module can be accessed at: Digital Coaching Center
FURTHER READING: A great start to practice: Free play!