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U.S. Soccer announces coaching course changes, license upgrades

CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – This past February, U.S. Soccer launched the Digital Coaching Center (DCC) and an online only F License. The first six months have been highly successful with over 40,000 registered users and over 20,000 F license holders. These latest upgrades provide a platform that allows the coaching department to reach, educate and communicate with coaches of all levels on a more consistent basis.

The DCC main areas of focus are to improve the quality and accessibility of educational content, increase the interaction between candidates and instructors, and create consistent messaging and collaboration with technical leaders. Beginning in 2016, all courses will be administered through the DCC.

The F license, the first online-only course offered by U.S. Soccer, provides general principles of how to coach and work with players U-6 to U-8 and is the foundation for the recently announced Small-Sided Games standards.

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“As the growth and popularity of the game continue to accelerate, it is our mission to provide high-level educational opportunities for coaches at every level of play,” said U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Development Dave Chesler. “It has been and will continue to be our focus to improve the practice and game environment for players at every developmental stage through high quality coaching”

These latest upgrades follow the curriculum updates to the E and D courses and the launch of the Academy Director course, an 18-month course for academy and technical directors which focuses on club and technical leadership, management and strategic planning.

“In the past four years we have progressively evolved the structure of our learning environment by integrating a series of instructional and practice cycles. Our singular goal with these modifications is to improve the quality and increase the frequency of practical learning experiences. These stepping stones have led us to a point where we can fully implement a course structure that incorporates a series of small group meetings and individual interactions with instructors and coach mentors,” said Chesler.

These step-by-step upgrades provide an opportunity to make significant changes to how the A, B and C courses are taught. Beginning in summer 2016, these courses will consist of multiple face-to-face meetings along with development periods in-between. The course curriculum, while varying per license level, will address coaching matches, conducting training sessions, managing the team and individual player, as well as club environment and leadership.

“Highly effective learning environments always include significant practice time. This deliberate and focused practice provides the learner with an opportunity to: experiment with new ideas, digest and process new concepts, self-reflect and ultimately gain confidence with new coaching competencies,” said Chesler.

The evaluation for the A and B courses will be conducted in the candidate’s environment, while the C course evaluation will be conducted at Regional Evaluation Centers.

“To be a top coach at every level with any age group, a coach must have the attitude to become better every day. Therefore every coach must be open to reflect on their experiences and be willing to change behavior in order to become even more effective. The exchange of thoughts and experiences with peers, instructors and mentors in realistic learning environments is key in this journey of self-development,” said Director of Coaching Education Nico Romeijn.

Additional details will be provided early next 2016 on the official roll-out of the A, B and C changes.