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How to Become a Soccer Coach

Becoming a soccer coach can be the start of a new career or it can be something you do to coach your own children. This article is an A to Z of everything you need to know about becoming a coach and the levels you could attain.

What Does a Soccer Coach do?

A coach is in charge of training sessions and match day management and is there to help players develop their game by giving them the skills and the mental strength to play in matches. They also plan the way the team plays and the tactics they will use on match days.

As a coach you will follow Cupello's session style with a Warm up, a Phase of Play drill (or drills depending on the age of the players) and a Game to follow.

What do I need to do to Become a Soccer Coach?

You can stay as a dad coach without becoming qualified if all you want to do is help your son or daughter to experience playing the game. But if you want to become a qualified coach and make a career out of it you have to have qualifications. The information below is through the English FA or Uefa and in America highlighting the qualifications you need.


English FA and Uefa Qualifications

  1. A good start to becoming a coach in England is the BT Playmaker course by England Football which is the FA's free online entry-level football course perfect for anyone interested in taking a more active role in grassroots football. There are five modules in total and you don’t need any previous football experience or qualifications before signing up.  In fact, all you need is an FA Number (FAN) and a laptop, tablet or mobile device. Then you’re good to go. 
  2. You can continue your coaching journey with the FA's Introduction to Coaching Football online course.To pass it, you will need to work through e-learning modules, unlocking new ones each week, as well as completing a short online assessment. The e-learning can be completed in stages in your own time. It is a 4-week online course costing £160.
  3. The next level is now called the UEFA C Licence. This is a 60-hour course that provides an in-depth introduction to coaching at grassroots level. This is the first course it is necessary to obtain if you want to move further up the pyramid.
  4. The next step in your journey takes you to the FA Level 3 or UEFA B Licence: a season-long course that teaches age and ability-specific coaching techniques to develop coaching of players through to senior amateur level. On this course you will learn how to create practice plans to coach your players – you have to be coaching a team to take this course.
  5. To advance into adult coaching the FA Level 4 or UEFA A Licence: It is aimed at coaches who want to work in the professional game. To do this course, you must be actively coaching. 
  6. The FA Level 5 or UEFA Pro Licence: this is the highest level of coaching qualification available. 

There are also youth, futsal and goalkeeper courses available.

US Soccer Qualifications

Grassroots courses start online with an introduction to grassroots coaching. It leads into youth formations at different age groups, 4v4, 7v7, 9v9, and 11v11. To advance to the next stage of licensing, the 11v11 and one other of the grassroots courses must be taken in person. For coaches already holding the old F license, it’s now a requirement to take the online introduction to grassroots coaching along with one of the small sided courses and the 11v11 taken in-person to advance to the next step in licenses. For holders of the old F and E licenses, only the online introduction to grassroots coaching is necessary.

D License

Candidates take two in-person courses over two months along with what US Soccer calls “assignments and mentoring.” The first class is three days and the second class is two days. These classes may or may not require travel depending on your location. The focus is on training sessions for small-sided and full-sized drills and what US Soccer calls the Six Tasks of a Coach:

  • Coaching games; Coaching training sessions; Leading the team; Leading the players; Managing the performance environment; Communicating with players and families

The D License costs between $200 – $500. 

C License Course

This two-to-three month course requires the holder to have had a D License for a minimum of 12 months and be currently coaching. Two five-day classes are separated by six-to-eight weeks of assignments and mentoring. The C License costs between $1,000 – $2,000.

B License Course

This four-to-five month course stresses player and team development. There are three five-day courses separated by six-to-eight weeks of assignments and mentoring conducted with 11v11 teams. Candidates need to have had the D License for a year, have three or more years coaching experience, currently coaching with access to 11v11 training. The waiver procedure for the B License requires the equivalent of a UEFA B License or five years playing topflight soccer. The B License costs $3,000.

A – Youth License Course

The A-Youth license focuses on developing the future professional soccer player. Candidates need to have had the B License for six-months, four years of coaching experience, currently coaching, and access to an elite youth club. The A-Youth License costs $3,000.

A – Senior License Course

The A-Senior License focuses on coaching a team at a high level. It’s a five-to-six month course with the same three five-day classes separated by six-to-eight weeks of assignments and mentoring and a final assessment meeting as the youth license. It costs $4,000.

Pro License Course

It is a requirement for MLS head coaches. The course takes 12 months with a five-day class, a six-day onsite visit to the coach’s club by a USSF instructor, a six-day international class, a four-day class, a second developmental period, and a final presentation as part of a four-day class. The Pro License costs $10,000.


Soccer Coach Skills

You need to be able to work with children of all ages, be a good communicator to help your players understand what you want them to do. Planning sessions needs good organisation and you need to be able to reflect and evaluate yourself and your players.

To be a good football coach, you need to have good people, communication and leadership skills. You need to be personable, approachable and be able to build relationships with your players. Good organisational skills and attention to detail are also important.

What Hours do Soccer Coaches Work?

Grassroots coaches work evenings and weekends because the players will be in full time education. There are opportunities to work in schools and colleges during the day.

Working at a professional level will increase opportunities to work during the day, but evenings and weekends will be needed for matches. 

How Much Could I Earn?

Coaches are often paid by the hour at the lower levels of the game, but a full-time coach would start on around £18,000. With experience this would increase to nearer the £30k mark.

Where can I find Online Resources?

Use our Cupello website for all your activities and advice to use, make sure to visit the coaching section.

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