Gender gap in U.S. Soccer Pro License coaching graduates grows in 2019

Seven more coaches completed U.S. Soccer's Pro Course for coaches in 2019, bringing to 49 the number of graduates since the program started in 2016.

Both national team coaches (Gregg Berhalter and Vlatko Andonovski) are graduates. Ten graduates are current or future (Austin FC's Josh Wolff) MLS head coaches, seven are head coaches in the USL Championship or USL League One, and only one is a head coach in the NWSL (the champion North Carolina Courage's Paul Riley).

Of the 49 graduates, 48 are men. The only woman is former U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis.

The NWSL started and finished the 2019 season with only two female head coaches. Two former NWSL coaches -- Jim Gabarra and Andonovski -- have completed the program.

U.S. Soccer is working on expanding the pool of elite female coaches.

For the second year in a row, U.S. Soccer ran a coaching education course for current NWSL players to attend the new National Development Center in Kansas City. NWSL players who’ve played for at least two seasons were eligible to enroll and earned their C-licenses cost-free during the week-long course. Players who play five or more years with a senior U.S. national team or at the pro level automatically qualify for a B-license course. Current or retired women's national team players have been recruited to work at youth training camps, earning credit toward required coaching hours.

This year's 11 guest presenters, all men, included Berhalter and U.S. U-17 national team coach Raphael Wicky. The only pro club head coaches were James O’Connor, who was relieved of his duties as the head coach at Orlando City the day after the 2019 MLS season ended, and Belgian Yannick Ferrera, who is currently in charge of Saudi Arabia's Al-Fateh.

Many of the other presenters came from leadership backgrounds outside of soccer such as Steve Georgas, the Chicago Police Department's deputy chief with 28 years of experience on the force.

Note: In parentheses are the teams for those coaches who are currently head coaches.

2016 Pro Course Graduates (13):
Gregg Berhalter (USMNT)
Jeff Cassar
Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union, MLS)
John Hackworth (Louisville City, USL Championship)
Jason Kreis (USMNT U-23)
Pablo Mastroeni
Omid Namazi
Ben Olsen (D.C. United, MLS)
Oscar Pareja (Orlando City, MLS)
Tab Ramos (Houston Dynamo, MLS)
Sigi Schmid
Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City, MLS)
Richie Williams

2017 Pro Course Graduates (17):
Paul Buckle
Colin Clarke
Steven Cooke
Jill Ellis
Jim Gabarra
Jay Heaps
Dominic Kinnear
Jesse Marsch (RB Salzburg, Austria)
Pat Noonan
Caleb Porter (Columbus Crew, MLS)
Darren Powell
Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders, MLS)
Daryl Shore (Forward Madison, USL League One)
Mike Sorber
Greg Vanney (Toronto FC, MLS)
Josh Wolff (Austin FC, MLS 2021)
Kerry Zavagnin

2018 Pro Course Graduates (12):
Vlatko Andonovski (USWNT)
Kenny Arena
B.J. Callaghan
Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids, MLS)
Junior Gonzalez (LA Galaxy II, USL Championship)
Ezra Hendrickson
Sean McAuley
Mike Munoz
Anthony Pulis (St. Louis FC, USL Championship)
Paul Riley (NC Courage, NWSL)
Ian Russell (Reno 1868, USL Championship)
Steve Trittschuh

2019 Pro Course Graduates (7):
Nolan Sheldon
Cameron Knowles (Timbers II, USL Championship)
Martin Rennie (Indy Eleven, USL Championship)
Simon Elliott
Dave Van Den Bergh
Mark Watson
*David Vaudreuil
*part of 2018 course but completed license in 2019.

2019 Pro Course Candidates (4):
*Giovanni Savarese (Portland Timbers, MLS)
*Ante Razov
*Marcelo Serrano (Austin Bold, USL Championship)
*Mike Petke
*part of 2019 course but will complete license in 2020.

9 comments about "Gender gap in U.S. Soccer Pro License coaching graduates grows in 2019".
  1. Mike Lynch, December 24, 2019 at 1:11 p.m.

    Impressive group of coaches, male or female. Unfortunate the article title implies a gender selection issue. If so, why not investigate who or number applied, not accepted into course of similar experience level. 

  2. Mario Cesarone replied, December 24, 2019 at 2:14 p.m.

    I thought the same, gender discrimination.  Was the title just click bait?

  3. Bob Ashpole, December 24, 2019 at 4:12 p.m.

    There is gender discrimination in the selection of female head coaches. Period. Yes there has been progress since the days that women could not vote and generally were treated by most men as children. But I would rather see real equality. This is not news to me. You would think that women would not be discriminated against in college sports, but they are--especially in soccer.

  4. Bob Ashpole, December 24, 2019 at 11:58 p.m.

    USSF support along with Mexico and Canada for WNT players in the NWSL is critical to success, because of the rise of professional women's soccer in Europe.

    What I would like to see next is more involvement with U23 and lower pools, perhaps having those pool players play together. Perhaps the ODP program could be expanded.

  5. frank schoon, December 26, 2019 at 11:08 a.m.

    So before, 2016 the coaches who proceeded to have gone through the years to get a top level A-license are now second to those who have a Pro-Coaches license, which means in fact, they are more superior in knowledge of the game and other externalities. And in order to get that Super-duper Pro-Coaching license is to be able to afford a second mortgage on one's home....I'm surprised the USSF didn't have someone in Congress sneak this in our latest Boondogle Federal Budget....Everything else in there.

    Yeah, I'm real impressed with this Pro-Coaching license...this should do it!!!~ on improving a great player development. I hope those with all these licenses have room left on their wall or in their bathrooms to hang another license there....

    Cruyff once stated that in the world of coaching he considered about only 4 people in the world who actually knew the game or actually knew what they were doing. Those 4 people like himself had  the ability of actually 'SEEING' the game. Cruyff stated that this ability came a lot later in his playing years ,  all of a sudden he 'SAW' the game, sort of a metaphysical experience.  What it implies  that no matter how many coaching license one acquires, the knowledge gained from an instructor at the Coaching School,has no connection to "SEEING" the game. It is not a function of a hierarchy, a linear step by step process of piling knowledge in a mathematical progression of the game. 

    Cesar Menotti, the Argentinian coach that won '78WC and Valdano the former Argentinian star and player of and later became technical director for Real Madrid ,both stated that "Cruyff was the 'king' of soccer". What they meant was Cruyff's coaching ability to "SEE" the game. For example at Barcelona called the 'Dream Team', Cruyff made them play within a concept and then accented certain aspects that is related to whom they play against, and also how Cruyff has the ability to sub in a player that makes his team play totally different or rather move the accents which effects  different players all of sudden play and thereby test the weaknesses of the opponents further... NEXT POST...  

  6. Bob Ashpole, December 26, 2019 at 12:08 p.m.

    I understood how many players' personality influenced how they played. Then there are those amazing few who excell whatever postion you assign them.

    What confounded me was that subbing in one senior player or even just switching the positions of two players could have a team playing like an entirely different time. I never could figure out why it  happened, just that it did. 

    Perhaps a lack of understanding is why many coaches cling to a fixed lineup. Most players don't think like or see the game like a coach. Too bad. 

  7. frank schoon replied, December 26, 2019 at 12:17 p.m.

    Bob,so true , I fully agree...

  8. frank schoon, December 26, 2019 at 12:12 p.m.

    In a book called "2x45 minutes" unfortunately in Dutch, contained interviews of all the players that played for the WC'74 that gave the world 'Total Soccer". There is so much insight to gotten about the game from these players, especially for those who know what to look for. One player talked about an incident referring to 'SEEING' the game as related to Cruyff. It was in the locker room at halftime at WC'74. Rinus Michels, decided to make a substitution at left fullback. He announced it to the players and nobody thought anything of it,except Cruyff. Cruyff went on to explain how EACH player will be effected through this substitution ,by showing how it effected the right wing , Johnny Rep.  No one saw realized the consequences of these changes except Cruyff, not even Rinus Michels. After this incident,the player interviewed stated, "now we knew who the real brains was behind this team" 'implying not Rinus Michels.  It is unfortunate especially for you Guys, for I wish these books in Dutch to be translated in English for I believe there is so much soccer knowledge just sitting there not able to better applied to others. For example there are quite a few books by Van Hanegem, known as the second oracle to Johan Cruyff, who many considered the best player of the WC'74 not Cruyff, to be translated to English. For those who want watch Van Hanegem in action see and appreciate his PASSING abilities. He's #3.

    Forgotten Footballers - Willem van Hanegem in the 1974 WC - YouTube


  9. frank schoon, December 26, 2019 at 12:13 p.m.

    Arie Haan, one of those players of the great Ajax and Dutch WC'74 team later became coach and coached Jurgen Klinsman at Stutgart, stated the secret to coaching in a nutshell is the ability to "SEE" the game. Cruyff once stated, as coach, that he often doesn not know who just scored for his team because he is busy watching how all 11 players function at the moment. Coaches basically watch or are aware of two at a time, duos. Cruyff stated , to begin with, is to see the game in "trios'. Van Hanegem stated that to 'see' the game the minimum would 5 players at a time. That is why soccer as Cruyff states, is game of the mind carried out by the feet. We are still here at a level which at the feet and that also reflects the coaching level we have here....

    In sum I find it such a waste of time and money acquiring these coaching license when the real 'meat' of the game is the ability to 'see' the game which can take a totally different process than acquiring a coaching license. You can tell when a coach who 'sees' the game by how he/she converses. I was not impressed with Jill Ellis when she talks soccer, it's filled with generalities,nothing that I would say "hmmm, interesting insights", instead it is more at level of what you hear from soccer commentators. Looking at this coaching roster of all who have taken the Pro-coaching course does not impress me as far as putting up a mirror to their "SEEING" insights of the game....

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications