Following the December 2017 announcement of the new Grassroots Coaching Pathway initiative, the U.S. Soccer Coaching Education Department began its Grassroots Pathway rollout through the Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module, a cost-free, online experience available now via the U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center.
With in-person and online grassroots coaching courses set to begin throughout spring 2018, here are five things you should know about the Grassroots Coaching Pathway initiative:
The New Grassroots Pathway
In an effort to further improve the grassroots soccer environment for both players and coaches, U.S. Soccer has restructured the foundation of its coaching license pathway. The new Grassroots Licensing Courses, which replace the F and E License Courses, offer an a-la-carte approach meant to empower coaches with education that is relevant to their specific coaching needs. The Grassroots Licenses will help coaches ensure fun, enjoyable, and developmentally appropriate environments for their players. Prospective coaches will have the option to partake in any of these new courses – in any sequence – after completing a cost-free, Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module provided by U.S. Soccer.
The Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module serves as the first step in obtaining any one of the eight new Grassroots Licenses: four in-person courses and four online courses across the 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.
How to Advance in the Coaching Pathway
A unique combination of three of the eight Grassroots Licenses (replacing the E and F Licenses) now formally represent the prerequisite to progress to the U.S. Soccer D License. New coaches will use the U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center to sign up for, and complete, a minimum of three grassroots courses, in the form of two in-person courses and one online course:
Two in-person courses (one of which must be the 11v11)
One online course across any of the four levels (4v4, 7v7, 9v9, 11v11)
Coaching candidates who have already completed or begun to take the E or F License courses will have the following opportunities to use those certifications toward the D License prerequisites:
U.S. Soccer E License + Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module
U.S. Soccer F License + Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module + 11v11 in-person license + one other in-person license
Online and In-Person Grassroots Course Availability
Beginning Jan. 17, the Introduction to Grassroots Coaching Module will be available to anyone interested in starting, or continuing, their coaching license pathway, or anyone looking to learn more about grassroots soccer and coaching.
Of the eight new grassroots licensing courses at the base of the U.S. Soccer Coaching Pathway, the four in-person experiences will be available for sign-up as early as February. These in-person courses will be hosted by recognized member organizations of U.S. Soccer.
The four online courses will follow the rollout of the in-person opportunities in the coming months.
The Foundation of Grassroots Coaching
While typically affiliated with younger age groups, grassroots soccer exists at every level. Whether that is a youth environment where players are experiencing organized soccer for the first time, or adults who are looking to learn more and get into the sport, grassroots soccer continues to be the bedrock of the sport.
At its core, the philosophy of U.S. Soccer’s grassroots pathway initiative is Play-Practice-Play, a philosophy coaches learn about in the Introduction to Grassroots Coaching module. This approach will focus on the player experiencing and learning through play while also empowering the coach to support his or her player's learning and developmental needs.
Easy Access, Low Barrier
After completing the free Introduction to Grassroots Coaching module, candidates can progress to any of the eight Grassroots License course opportunities through the U.S. Soccer Digital Coaching Center (DCC). This varied approach to the foundation of the coaching education pathway allows coaches to seek out education related to the environment in which they coach.
U.S. Soccer member organizations will organize and run in-person course opportunities for their coaches. These courses take place over four hours with two hours dedicated to classroom learning and two hours dedicated to field work. Coaches can contact their local member organization to inquire about scheduling and pricing.
Set to be released by U.S. Soccer in the coming months, the online Grassroots courses will be available for $25 in both English and Spanish on the DCC. This includes access to educational content, session plans and U.S. Soccer's Planning Tool.