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U.S. Soccer's National Goalkeeping Course Turns Five


CHICAGO (April 1, 2010) – This year marked the fifth anniversary of U.S. Soccer’s National Goalkeeping License course. Forty coaches arrived to U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif. at The Home Depot Center on Jan. 24.

Led by National Instructional Staff Coaches Peter Mellor, Bo Oshoniyi and Phil Wheddon, candidates were instructed in the value of integrating the goalkeeping position into the team and training session, communication and technical and tactical concepts.

“We heard from various guest lecturers during the week and from the coaching staff on just how important communication is,” said lead instructor Phil Wheddon. “Too many times you see goalkeepers training away from the team. Our course focuses on integration and communication, which are essential for developing better goalkeepers and coaches.”

The course was developed for head coaches as well as goalkeeper coaches in order to develop and expand their goalkeeping knowledge at the youth, collegiate, senior and professional levels. The license covers the principles and components that go into developing goalkeepers and encourages the head coach to prepare and plan for the goalkeepers’ development needs over an entire season.

From a candidate’s perspective, the staff offered experience and a perspective from both the women’s and men’s games. The three instructors included Bo Oshoniyi, a former two-time college All-American, professional player for 12 years and current Wake Forest assistant coach; Peter Mellor who played in over 800 league games in England and was an assistant coach on many U.S. National Teams and for Real Salt Lake in MLS and just recently named National Technical Director for The United Soccer Leagues (USL); and Phil Wheddon, current women’s head coach at Syracuse University, who is in unique company for coaching in both Men’s and Women’s World Cups.

The course also included current New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis. Reis spoke to the candidates on what he looks for from a goalkeeper coach and his journey from UCLA to MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team. Brent Walker, a sports psychologist, led the group through two separate lectures and tailored his group discussions from a goalkeeper’s perspective.

Paul Rogers, current Women’s National Team and St. Louis Athletica goalkeeper coach trained WNT players Jillian Loyden (St. Louis Athletica) and Alyssa Naeher (Penn State). The session allowed coaches to see what national team goalkeeper’s work and focus on and the interaction between coach and player. Rogers wrapped up the afternoon with a video session of recent Women’s National Team games and a discussion about how valuable video work is for training and improving.

Former Men’s National Team head coach and current L.A. Galaxy manager Bruce Arena highlighted the week for many candidates. Arena took time from pre-season training to discuss his career as a goalkeeper, the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and his current role with the Galaxy. He emphasized on many occasions just how important communication is between head coach and the goalkeeper coach and between the players.

“Hosting the course at The HDC lends to numerous educational opportunities for candidates,” said Peter Mellor, who was instrumental in the development of the course. “There are few training facilities in the country that offer coaches what the HDC has to offer. During our week the Women’s National Team was in training camp preparing for the Algarve Cup, the Men’s National Team played Honduras the day before we began and The L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA began their pre-season training for the upcoming MLS season. We were able to add in coaches and players that you may not have access to anywhere else.”

For more information on U.S. Soccer Coaching Schools, contact the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department at coaches@ussoccer.org

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