Ten Coaches from MLS, USL and U.S. National Teams Set to Begin Fourth U.S. Soccer Pro License Course

Year-Long Journey to North America’s Highest Soccer License Starts This Week

CHICAGO (Jan. 14, 2019) – Ten coaches working across Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League Championship and U.S. Soccer kick off the fourth U.S. Soccer Pro License Course this week at the National Development Center in Kansas City, Kansas. The first meeting begins a year-long journey for the 10 candidates towards earning the highest soccer license recognized in North America. The Pro License completes the U.S. Soccer coaching education pathway that begins at the grassroots level.

2019 Pro Course Participants

  • Dave van den Bergh – (U.S. Under-19 Men’s National Team head coach)
  • Simon Elliott – (Head coach, Sacramento Republic FC, USL Championship)
  • Cameron Knowles – (Head coach, Portland Timbers 2, USL Championship)
  • Mike Petke (Head coach, Real Salt Lake, MLS)
  • Ante Razov – (Assistant coach, Los Angeles Football Club, MLS)
  • Martin Rennie – (Head coach, Indy Eleven, USL Championship)
  • Giovanni Savarese – (Head coach, Portland Timbers, MLS)
  • Marcelo Serrano (Head coach, Austin Bold FC, USL Championship)
  • Nolan Sheldon – (Assistant coach, D.C. United, MLS)
  • Mark Watson – (Assistant coach, Minnesota United, MLS)

This year marks the fourth edition of the Pro License course, designed for coaches to further develop the skills and competencies necessary to work as a professional coach in a professional environment. Based on their individual needs, each candidate will go through a tailored program designed to bolster their efforts to create a winning culture/team, develop a style of play, implement sport science initiatives at their clubs, reflect on their growth as a coach and serve as leaders in their organizations.

The course combines theoretical and practical components to help coaches reach their full potential. A year-long journey, it features in-person instruction, visits by coach educators to candidates’ home club environments, expert guest speakers, webinars and a final assessment. U.S. Soccer coach educator Wim Van Zwam and U.S. Soccer Director of Coach Education Barry Pauwels will serve as instructors for the course.

All applicants for the Pro License course must hold a U.S. Soccer A License and currently coach with an MLS, NWSL, USL or U.S. National Team. Five of this year’s candidates come from MLS, four from the USL Championship and one from the U.S. National Teams: U-19 MNT head coach Dave van den Bergh.

The current class of 10 candidates will seek to join the 42 coaches who have earned the Pro License over the first three editions of the course. Last month, 12 coaches completed the 2018 Pro License course in Chicago.

The 2019 Pro License course begins with a week-long meeting at the National Development Center from Jan. 14-18. In the following months, U.S. Soccer coach educators will visit each candidate in his home club environment to observe how they begin to apply the course’s theoretical components as they coach games, lead training sessions and analyze performance. All 10 candidates will gather again in Kansas City in June for the second meeting, followed by another visit to each candidates’ home environment before the final course meeting in November in Chicago.

Meetings will also include visits from guest speakers that are experts in coaching, leadership, teaching and more. At the course’s first meeting this week, the candidates will hear from Arne Barez (former Budnesliga player, UEFA Pro License), James Bunce (U.S. Soccer Director of High Performance), Yannick Ferrara (former manager, Belgian First Division A), Wade Gilbert (Professor of Kinesiology, Fresno State University), Doug Lemov (managing director, Uncommon Schools), Gautam Mukunda (Professor, Harvard University Kennedy School) and James O’Connor (head coach, Orlando City SC) as well as presenters from U.S. Soccer’s analytics department.

The formal meetings and individual visits will be complemented by individual assignments and research, self-reflection as well as a series of webinars. The curriculum is customized to each candidate to best fit the course to their specific needs.

U.S. Soccer stands as the only organization able to license coaches domestically under FIFA standards. The Pro License seeks to raise the minimum standard for an individual seeking to become a professional coach in MLS, the NWSL or USL. U.S. Soccer strives to develop world class players, coaches and referees.