These Football Times published a must-read article a couple of weeks ago on the big gap in coaching quality here compared to countries like Spain.
It describes one US coach’s experience with three Spanish guest coaches during a summer camp on the East Coast and then his three years of learning about soccer in Spain.
Here are key sections from that article (edited slightly for brevity and clarity):
The three Spanish coaches each taught me more about football than I had previously learned in my 15 year playing career through a variety of different settings including travel teams, premier clubs, summer camps, high school soccer, college soccer and ultimately men’s league.
My coaching career, which included US Soccer national courses, club and collegiate experience, and working summer camps, had been as educationally disappointing as my time as a player.
Between playing and coaching, I had been a part of the US Soccer Federation for 16 years, yet what had I really learned?
In the two weeks I had been working with the three football wise men, I discovered football had a game cycle, it had four phases, each technical ability had a specific tactical intention, it could be simplified in 2v1s and 3v2s, training finishing didn’t mean you’d score goals, defending was more than your stance.
They were showing me through their actions that coaches facilitate learning not with their instructions, but their well-crafted sessions.
Coaches don’t teach creativity but nurture it.
I witnessed how they played chess with their players whilst empowering them to be more than pawns. They demonstrated that coaches are in the spotlight for the losses and in the shadows for the wins. This was merely the tip of the iceberg and I wanted more.
These three Spanish coaches did something US Soccer never had: they inspired me.
At that point, I came to the conclusion that I knew nothing about football. US Soccer had failed me. I had dedicated the majority of my life to it and it had let me down.
Throughout the years, on countless teams with a myriad of experiences and numerous coaches, I was betrayed with a lack information, inspiration and motivation.
Footballistic unfulfillment fed my yearning to learn everything there was to know about my childhood passion, and the only place to achieve this was 6,000 kilometres away.
So I went to Spain three years ago to study football and I finally understand it.
There is an exorbitant amount of mental and physical elements that concern a player’s development over the course of a year, and more so, their integral career. To assign an unqualified and untrained individual to be responsible for a team of young football players would be detrimental to the sport and the integrity of the children.
In order to train any team at any age, the Spanish Football Federation requires coaches to have completed at least the UEFA B license (465 hours over at least nine months of theoretical and practical learning and evaluation). A coach in possession of a US Soccer National ‘D’ license (36-40 hours) is allowed to train any team at any level younger than 15.
How do we expect an individual who’s been prepared for a mere 40 hours to be capable of growing young players into exceptional footballers?
To read the full article click here. It’s worth it!
Thank you, David, for sharing your experiences. It helps push us along here!