National C License Provides Coaches the Tools to Lead Initial 11v11 Development
The U.S. Soccer National C License is a coaching education opportunity designed for coaches who work with players 13-years-old and above in the 11 versus 11 (11v11) full-sized field environment. The course provides the right tools to help develop both the player and the team, as well as the coach.
Any coach who has held the preceding U.S. Soccer D License for at least 12 months may sign up and take the FIFA-sanctioned C License course, which is administered by U.S. Soccer National Instructors with support from experts in specialty fields, such as sports science.
The U.S. Soccer Coaching Education Department has established standards at each license level that serve as a benchmark for coaches. During the C course, candidates are guided through – and then assessed – in carrying out six key tasks: overall leadership, coaching games and training sessions, leading the players and team, and managing the performance environment.
“Whether you are a parent coaching your kid’s team, or an aspiring coach who wants to eventually manage older or more elite players and teams, the C course teaches coaches the core competencies that enable them to lead players and teams participating in 11v11 games,” said Jay Hoffman, a tenured U.S. Soccer National Coaching Instructor. “Through the process, we look to provide coaches with opportunities to acquire or further develop what we consider to be the primary tasks of coaching so that they can better serve the players they are coaching.”
Course participants are led through a two-to-three-month educational journey to guide them in executing these six tasks per their individual needs and course objectives.
The three-phase process begins with a seven-day course meeting that consists of daily small and large-group classroom sessions, as well as on-field sessions, which are arranged with age-appropriate players.
The next phase is a six-to-eight-week development period where the coach implements course concepts in their home environment. During this time away from instructors, coaches consistently communicate with U.S. Soccer Coaching Education Department staff members and fellow coaches enrolled in the course through the U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center.
The course culminates with the final assessment meeting, which consists of three days onsite with the full group. At this point, coaches judged to have satisfactorily met the course standards and completed all assignments are granted their C License.
Shayon Jalayer, Director of Coaching for BYSC Corona United Soccer Club in Corona, Calif. recently completed his C License certification.
“There is no doubt I am a better coach from taking the course,” Jalayer said on his education experience. “I have learned to watch and evaluate my teams training sessions and matches through a different lens. My sessions take on a much more game realistic format and as such my players develop quicker understanding and enjoy it more.”
Under U.S. Soccer’s new player development initiatives instituted in 2015, players from Under-6 to Under-12 are gradually progressing, utilizing standardized small-sided games, with the goal to improve balls skills and soccer intelligence in an age appropriate environment.
The field dimensions and number of players on the pitch increase in size from 4v4 to 7v7 to 9v9 as players age, up until they reach the U-13 age group and begin to play full 11v11 matches.
From then on, players will lean on their coaches to steer them as they look to maximize their potential. It’s a big responsibility for their first 11v11 coach, and U.S. Soccer has created a program to guide these coaches along the way.
“Our licensed coaches not only improve themselves as coaches, but will also create better soccer players and an in turn raise the level of the game,” said Hoffman. “At the end of the day it boils down to this equation: better coaches plus better environments equals better players. That is our ultimate objective. We want to produce better players and we realize that coaching plays a very, very important role in the development of the player. So, we need to continually try to raise the level of coaching.”
With a C License in hand for at least 12 months, coaches can then consider furthering their education by applying for higher level courses that begin with the B License and are followed by the A-Youth, A-Senior and eventually Pro for those in the professional ranks.