Alabama Soccer Association, US Soccer, US Youth Soccer and NSCAA - Partners in Education
We have multiple soccer organizations in America; U.S. Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer and the NSCAA tend to be the main groups working with our youth players in Alabama.
As coaches, we all play in the same sandbox and as the modern youth game has evolved over the past decade, coaches are more likely to belong to more than one organization
Alabama Soccer Association has approximately 15,000 members. Coaching Education is a huge part of what we are involved in. "We are the office for Education and Information and Guidance"
The process of education can sometimes be confusing to coaches.....which organization?.....which course?.....
As such – it just makes sense to coordinate the educational programs of our three major coaches groups; U.S. Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer and NSCAA to the benefit of our membership and those outside our membership. We are all coaches after all
Coaching Education is a journey.....
We believe three to be three categories of coaching that are seeking coaching education:
Category 1: Some coaches will stay on one educational path and seek to get to their end point as quickly as possible
Category 2: Some coaches will stay on one educational path, but will have more time between courses and get to their end point in a more leisurely fashion
Category 3: Some coaches have no intention of reaching the final stages of the U.S. Soccer and NSCAA pathways. They are quite happy taking one or two courses and 'calling it a day'. This group is by far the largest contingent of coaches and as such, has a tremendous impact on grass roots soccer.
By offering a 'larger menu' on the local level, we can now reach all of the coaches above, irrespective of which category they fall into – and provide more options of further education. This will clearly benefit Alabama Soccer Association members and non-members, U.S. Soccer, U.S. Youth Soccer, NSCAA and grass root players
How will it benefit Alabama Soccer Association members?
Quite simply – it just makes sense..............
One stop shopping...... The ability to go to one site and research a master statewide calendar of all soccer educational courses, licenses and special events in Alabama (and for upper level coursework - Nationally)
The ability to learn about the three organizations and focus on how we all interact with each other to the coaches benefit – coaches license pathways of advancement
For those coaches in category 1 and 2, the ability to clearly educate themselves on the pathway. In addition, for those coaches who may need some further education and experience before moving to the next level, the ability to take another course at a similar stage to gain further experience and education can be invaluable in preparation for success at the next license/certificate level
For those coaches in category 3, (statistically the largest group by far), this partnership can potentially have the biggest impact
- I did the course to satisfy club, league or state association requirements
By offering more options, can we encourage more clubs and leagues to set minimum requirements?
- I am uncomfortable with testing.....don't want to fail.....adult learner
With additional 'menu options' at a similar level, we can now encourage these coaches to take another course that may be less threatening to them. The additional knowledge and content may assist them becoming more comfortable as a coach and keep them updated with current educational philosophies and methodologies
- I don't have the time/desire to take course work that is more than a few hours or one day or one weekend
With additional 'menu options' at a similar level, we can now encourage these coaches to take another course that meets their time frame requirements and motivational level
- I am interested in further education, but can't get that much time off work for upper level courses
The ability to offer 'local courses' at the C License, National Youth License, National Diploma, and Special Topics courses should greatly assist coaches seeking upper level coursework
- I am interested in further education, but struggle with the cost of upper level courses
The ability to offer 'local courses', both at the beginning level and advanced level, should greatly assist coaches with cost containment
Focal point right now is improving grass roots soccer and developing a greater base of 'higher' level players and coaches. A complicated goal, however one important cog in that wheel should be; the better the coaches.... the better the players. The increased exposure to local coursework – in essence saying the same thing philosophically, should assist in this desired outcome, especially those in category 3 outlined earlier
Those coaches seeking to advance to upper level coursework at the National, C, B and A level now have more opportunities to 'cross train' and gain additional levels and confidence and training before moving on. This should lead to an increased pass rate at the National level courses
- Drives the 'Coaches Education' message.....and hopefully has some impact on the enjoyment and training of players at the grass roots level, and thereby keeps players involved in the game longer (less player attrition)
How will it benefit grassroots, recreational and competitive youth soccer players?
Overall, if your educational and coaching components are more integrated at the grass roots, recreational and competitive youth levels – coaching philosophies, methodologies and educational opportunities have a greater chance to thrive
The 'better' the coach – the 'better' the potential experience of our youth players. Hopefully, this should lead to more longevity in the sport
More longevity in the sport increases our chances of producing elite level players
- More longevity in the sport increases our chances of imprinting lifetime health choices for the general masses
Special Thanks to Ohio Youth Soccer regarding this piece!