By Tim Bradbury, Director of Coaching Instruction, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
It is an exciting time in US Soccer with an election for a new President, the forthcoming hire of a new head coach for the men’s national team, announcements of new additions to the Development Academy program and, perhaps more important than any of these, real and substantial changes to the US Soccer education pathway that will impact thousands of youth players and parent/coaches.
The education pathway has had major philosophical changes at the entry level. These changes along with a great introduction to the new philosophy can be found in the digital coaching center at https://dcc.ussoccer.com/classroom/1546/candidate/details
For those not aware, the digital coaching center is US Soccer’s online educational platform that houses all coaching course information and content. It is a good tool for any coach to familiarize themselves with, and contains session plans, session designer tools, US Soccer Player Development Initiatives and lots of other great information.
The new grass roots courses (4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11 V11) are now all designed with the following key points in mind:
1. There is a strong desire to make soccer the most popular sport in the US and to achieve this we need hundreds of thousands parent coaches to get an introduction to teaching the game.
2. This introduction to the game via the new 4-hour licenses should be as low cost and low barrier (in terms of testing and pressure) as possible.
3. These introductory licenses should be fun, engaging, holistic and age specific
4. These courses should be taught by an experienced and more educated group of instructors than ever. In this area, I can testify that over the last 16 months, US Soccer has invested a huge amount of time, money and resources in educating the 540 grass roots instructors throughout the country that will be tasked with delivering the new courses.
5. Philosophically, the new courses are built on a Play-Practice-Play methodology. This methodology steeped in small-sided games combined with realty-based training is anti-drills, laps, lines and lectures and is one that most reflects the street soccer environments found around the world.
6. Unlike all past courses that have been purely focused on helping coaches provide better training sessions, the new courses are designed to help parent/coaches with all aspects of coaching. The new courses have tasks and assignments that help a parent/coach with all the work they must do-- coaching games, coaching training sessions, leading the player, leading the team, managing the performance environment and leadership are all covered.
7. The new holistic approach is also steeped in player development and having parent/coaches who attend understand that their players are people first and athletes second. All need individual attention and time to fulfil their potential.
The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and its 14 educational instructors will be offering the new courses from Jan 31 onwards and I would encourage all clubs and leagues to consider offering one or more of these key courses sometime this spring. To offer the new courses please note the following logistical information
A) All courses are 4 hours – 2 on the field and 2 in the classroom
B) All courses are designed to have a teaching ratio of between 1:12 and 1:14
C) The courses are designed to be taught in the following segments 1-hour classroom, 2 hours field,1-hour classroom. They can also be taught in a 2 hour -2 hour format.
D) All courses--4v4,7v7,9v9 and 11v11--follow the Player Development Initiatives and all need age appropriate players 4v4 (U8), 7v7 (U10), 9v9 (U12) and 11v11 (U13 and up).
E) In Eastern New York, the Grass Roots licenses are currently set to be priced at $75 per coach.
Any coach, club or league looking for more information on the new grass roots courses can email me directly at TBradbury@enysoccer.com