Storm Soccer Academy Director Miguel Lopez took his USSF “C” License in December 2015. Over the last few years, numerous structural changes have been made to the courses offered by the Federation in order to enhance and improve the licensing experience. With observations made by Mike Woitalla in the following article: License-mania–Aggrandizing the coach in a player’s game; the coaching schools in the United States have undergone quite a transition. The following paragraphs are the experience that Coach Miguel had at the course…Enjoy the Read!!!
The biggest take away from this course was being able to network with all of the coaches that were taking the C License with me. At times, you almost felt like you were learning more from the candidates taking the course with you, rather than from the instructors. Being involved with all these coaches who have the same passion as me to become better was a fantastic experience. Being able to share our soccer knowledge and help each other on our lesson plans and other tests was fantastic. I learned so many different activities from other coaches, as well as a different way to see the game.
Pre-Course work in this class is so important. If you don’t do it, or you get a very low score, then it becomes extremely tough to pass the class. It’s crucial that you take your time during your pre-course work. It is very important to ask your course instructor questions if there is something you don’t understand, or even one of your fellow coaches. In total to do the 2 videos, plus both session’s plans and video analysis, on top of the technical summary, was about 30 – 40 hours of work. You have to watch a USA national team game (they assign you a game) and you observe it many times to answer different questions about how the US attacked, defended, and knowing the specific roles of each player backwards and forwards. It is time consuming but it definitely improves your soccer knowledge, and prepares you for the course. The whole course is based on points so stay focused on it and make it neat!
Some of the positives from the course are that we were taken care of really well. The hotel staff was extremely friendly and the food was delicious. Also, just when you think you know a lot of soccer – Boom! You are given tons of new information and it opens up your horizon on how you see the game. I learned how to watch the game differently and how to spot problems in an 11v11 game. Something that could improve is the number of sessions the instructors did. I feel like we didn’t get taught many session, we were simply testing the entire time.
I became good friends with one of the candidates who is from California. He was on the U17 national team and now is one of the academy coaches for Strikers FC – one of the strongest clubs in Cal South. He showed me the activities he usually does with his U9 – U12 boys. He was able to teach me a couple activities that were real technical – that can be applied at Storm Soccer Academy. One of my instructors, Tom, taught us a great session on how to improve the defending of the central midfielders. The way he would ask questions and get the candidates involved really helped us see the problems and correct the issues.
This course focuses on the elite U15 player and it goes in depth on specific lines – like your defense, midfield, and forwards. This is such an important course if you are coaching any elite teams in the U13 – U16 age group. It helps spot where you are having problems and where you are losing possession. This course teaches you to see the bigger picture – if you are losing the ball in the midfield a lot, is it because your back line doesn’t drop off to give support, or are the forwards running away every time? You learn to spot these types of problems.
The course was smooth – tons of soccer to be played but the instructors would let us rest up before hitting the field. If you did your practice test on Monday, the next day you would have to meet your instructor in the classroom and watch the video of yourself running the session. He would tell you what to improve for your final and what went great. We then have a classroom session until about 12pm when we break for lunch. After lunch, we would drive over to the Lakewood Ranch Soccer Complex. The instructors would run a couple of sessions and then 4 candidates would do their practice run. We would head back to the hotel around 8:30pm for dinner.
I recommend other coaches to take this course even if you don’t coach a top-level team in the U13-U15 age group. You will watch the game differently – things will jump out at you that you never thought you could see. The way to analyze and observe the game changes tremendously.
These 9 days can be described as mind-blowing, stressful and exciting. When you are about to be tested, whether it is your final, practice, oral summary, or Q & A it is all very stressful even if you have great knowledge. When you watch one of the instructors do a session and then answer your questions – it is mind blowing the amount of information they know and how they can break down an 11v11 game for you. It is exciting to know that each and every day you are becoming a better coach just by being surrounded by all those passionate coaches. I would really like to take my B License but with the new US Soccer rules it will be tough. I will have to coach an ECNL or DA team in order to get accepted into taking the course. I hope I reach this point soon and get the opportunity to take the course.
Miguel, Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences within the USSF “C” license course. This information is extremely important for other coaches preparing for the challenge of the course and to educate parents and other sport coaches about the way soccer coaches in America are educated. Feel free to ask Miguel specific questions about the course at his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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