In December 2017, U.S. Soccer announced the introduction of the Grassroots coaching pathway initiative that will form the foundation for coaching education throughout the United States. After the cost-free Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module was made available in January 2018, In-Person courses began to roll out through U.S. Soccer member organizations in February. Now, the next step in the Grassroots coaching initiative has arrived with the launch of the first of four online grassroots course opportunities.
Here are five things you should know about the launch of the 4v4 Online Grassroots Course:
4V4 SOCCER – MAKE IT FUN
Per the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives, players aged 6, 7, and 8 get the most out of the game when playing 4v4 soccer: four players on one team versus four players on the opposing team. 4v4 soccer introduces players to structured play on a field with age appropriate physical dimensions and does not feature goalkeepers or the offside rule. Coaches and parents of 4v4 players are encouraged to create a fun, safe, developmentally appropriate environment for players. At this age, players should be provided with the opportunity to play and have as much fun as much as possible; winning and losing should not be an important factor.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE 4V4 ONLINE GRASSROOTS COURSE
Offered through the U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center, coaches who take the 4v4 Online Grassroots Course can expect to be provided with tools and strategies to create a fun environment for their players. Coaches will study how grassroots players learn and develop to their full potential through a player-centered coaching approach. Additionally, the course teaches coaches about the characteristics of 6-, 7-, and 8-year-old players and how to foster a supportive and safe playing environment. Coaches will also be exposed to U.S. Soccer’s Grassroots Coaching Philosophy, the Grassroots Roadmap, and the training session concept known as Play-Practice-Play.
ONLINE VS. IN-PERSON 4V4 COURSE
The 4v4 Online course, which takes approximately two hours to complete, can be taken on any computer connected to the internet at the coach’s own pace. Featuring frequent interaction with the course module, the 4v4 Online course requires coaches to answer practical questions, set-up a virtual training session and reflect on their learning throughout the course.
The 4v4 In-Person course, which takes roughly four hours to complete, offers Grassroots coaches the opportunity to practically apply the concepts they are learning and try their hand at running a Play-Practice-Play training session on the field.
THE U.S. SOCCER GRASSROOTS PATHWAY INITIATIVE
Eight Grassroots Licenses make up the foundation of U.S. Soccer’s Coaching License Pathway. The eight licenses are comprised of In-Person and Online courses across four grassroots levels: 4v4, 7v7, 9v9, 11v11. The eight course options relate directly to small-sided games and the respective age-groups outlined in the U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives.
OPTIONS AFTER COMPLETING THE 4V4 ONLINE GRASSROOTS COURSE
Aspiring coaches who want to continue the requirements needed before progressing to the U.S. Soccer D License Course can do so by signing up for any of the In-Person Grassroots courses, including the 4v4 In-Person course, through the Digital Coaching Center. Because all grassroots In-Person courses are organized and run by U.S. Soccer member organizations, coaches with specific questions about scheduling and pricing of 4v4 In-Person opportunities should contact their local member organization.
Currently, only the 4v4 course is offered online. The 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 Online courses are expected to be available by mid-2018. Following the launch of each of these learning opportunities, the course content will be translated so that future coaches have the option to select the language (English or Spanish) for their Grassroots course experience.