Commentary

Here's the best part of U.S. Soccer revamping its grassroots coaching courses

Three years after introducing a new $25 online F license course, U.S. Soccer has again revamped its coaching license pathway. It has eliminated both the F and E license, and is now offering a free 20-minute online "Introduction to Grassroots" module as the first step into its coaching schools.

After completing the online "Introduction to Grassroots Coaching" module, coaches will be eligible for four online and four in-person "Grassroots Pathway" courses: 4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11. Those are the courses that are replacing the F and E licenses.

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!

3 comments about "Here's the best part of U.S. Soccer revamping its grassroots coaching courses".
  1. frank schoon, January 23, 2018 at 10:17 a.m.

    "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." FACILITATE, and not coach, for coaching is the wrong term applied when developing youth. Instead of a coaching license it should be called a "Facilitator" license. The Coaching element comes much, much later in the youth's development.
    The Dutchman has it least opened his eyes by employing 'street soccer" methods to coaching kids for street soccer kids didn't do drills but play. But at least do some drills near the end of practice and see coaches as "facilitators".
    4v4 should be tossed out for the numbers creates square formations ,leading to too many square passes, as Cruyff states. Unless you have no other choice then play 4v4, for at least they are playing. It is always better to play with odd numbers for this allow better movement off the ball for there always the open space to run into. Cruyff, thinks that 6v6 with goalies is the best for there are 5 field players although the goalie can be a field player as well.

  2. humble 1, January 23, 2018 at 2:32 p.m.

    This is good. Keep it simple and cheap, have a good basic ground game to getting coaches started, allow parents to participate.

  3. frank schoon replied, January 23, 2018 at 3:15 p.m.

    Humble, You might really want to think about parent participation....BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THAT!!
    If you might have some that have playing experience, but be really careful with camel the sticking his/her nose underneath the tent...

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