How do you become a youth football coach? It’s obviously not quite as simple as just waking up one day, deciding you fancy becoming the next Jurgen Klopp, signing up for your nearest grassroots side and being put in charge of the Under 12s.
To ensure that the coaches working with children and down the country are providing the very best education to young players, the Football Association has put in place a youth soccer coaching license, which all good clubs and academies will require individuals to have achieved before they are allowed to enter the coaching system.
This youth soccer coaching license comes in the form of FA Coaching Badges, considered to be one of the best coach training programs in the world. We’re going to explain what it’s all about and how you can get certified to coach football for kids.
There are five different grades of youth soccer coaching licence available through the FA, ranging from the FA Level 1 qualification which allows you to work with players from Under 7s right through to the UEFA Pro Licence which is what a manager must hold in order to work in the Premier League.
The FA’s coach training programme begins with a gentle introduction to the game at Level 1, helping coaches to deliver appropriate training sessions for children. Level 2 builds on the basics and is where a coach can begin to shape their own philosophy.
Level 3 moves away from a national qualification to a continental one with the UEFA B Licence. This coach training programme is still delivered by the FA, but it is a Europe-wide standard for those wanting to work in the professional game.
Because it’s a qualification that is recognised across the UEFA confederation, it ensures that coaches in England, France, Germany, Spain and the rest are all licensed to the same standard. This allows for freedom of movement between countries, allowing a coach like Pep Guardiola or Carlo Ancelotti to work in several countries without ever needing to take further qualifications in order to satisfy a specific national governing body.
UEFA B focusses on advanced technical, tactical, physical, psychological and social needs of players as well as helping a coach to understand how to transfer their ideas and the decision-making process onto their players.
UEFA A builds on this by teaching a coach how they can best impact an 11v11 environment. Finally, the UEFA Pro Licence adds leadership and management strategies to a coach’s repertoire.
What does a coach need to teach football to children?
FA Level 1 will teach a coach the very basics, allowing them to work with players aged from Under 7s upwards. Alongside this qualification, a coach will also have to be CRB checked to ensure that they are suitable to work with children.
Once these two qualifications are in place, then you’ll be ready to take the first steps on your coaching journey.
How does a coach get their Level 1?
FA Level 1 Coaching Badge courses are run by county FA’s up and down the country.
To find out where they are in your area, simply contact your local FA.
If you are unsure about undertaking a soccer coaching license as an individual, then you might be able to find a grassroots club or coaching academy who can help you through the process.
Because these organisations are often desperate for more volunteer coaches to help them stay afloat, they will be more than willing to support coaches gain their FA Coaching Badges, both with practical support and sometimes even financial.
It can therefore be worth seeing what coaching opportunities exist where you live and exploring whether there are any clubs which will support you on the football coach training programme.
We Make Footballers support their coaches through the various levels as it’s mutually beneficial to both parties.Helping a coach gain their qualifications makes WMF an attractive academy to work for at the same time as ensuring that the coaches they employ are capable of delivering the best possible sessions.
Yes and no. There are many other soccer coaching qualifications which you can pick up, but virtually all of them work alongside the FA’s Coaching Badges.
We Make Footballers offer their own specialist qualifications such as 1v1 training, which coaches can gain to broaden their knowledge base and skillset. These however are only applicable with the FA’s industry-standard badges.
The FA themselves have a range of other badges which a coach can gain. These include specialisms in goalkeeper coaching, disability football and futsal, the small sided version of the game using a heavy ball which is hugely popular in South America.
All of these additional modules require at least the most basic understanding of football however, which can only come from the FA Level 1 Badge.
Essentially, if you want to get certified to coach football for children, then it’s the FA soccer coaching license scheme which will get you there.