Find out what it’s all about and how you can get certified to coach football for kids.
How do you become a children’s 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 football 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 licence, which all good clubs and academies require individuals to have achieved before they are allowed to enter the football coaching system.
This youth soccer coaching license comes in the form of FA Coaching Badges, considered to be one of the best football coach training programs in the world. The various levels give aspiring football coaches the practical skills they need to deliver coaching sessions and develop players. They can also benefit from support from others in the FA coaching community.
There are five different grades of youth soccer coaching licence available through the FA, ranging from the BT Playmaker and Introduction to Coaching Football qualifications which allow 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 football coach training programme begins gently, with the BT Playmaker and the Introduction to Coaching Football qualification (formerly the FA Level 1). These online courses are designed to give football coaches a grounding in delivering appropriate training sessions for children. The UEFA C Licence (replacing the FA Level 2 course) builds on the basics and is where a coach can begin to shape their own coaching philosophy and help players develop their love of the game.
FA Level 3 moves away from a national qualification to a continental one with the UEFA B Licence. This football 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 focuses 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.
To become a children’s football coach, you will need to gain two of the FA qualifications. The BT Playmaker and the Introduction to Coaching Football course.
BT Playmaker is a short and completely free online course, covering connecting with players and creating a positive football environment. It’s the first step for anyone interested in taking a more active role in coaching.
The Introduction to Coaching Football course teaches a coach the very basics, allowing them to work with players aged from Under 7s upwards. You do need to have completed the BT Playmaker course first. Alongside these two qualifications, a coach will also have to be CRB checked to ensure that they are suitable to work with children.
If you become a coach with We Make Footballers, you’ll also undergo our own, in-house football coaching training. This has been developed using techniques from the FA and some of the world’s top clubs. It not only involves coaching skills, but will also give you the knowledge you need to manage your own franchise business, from using the booking software to marketing and promotion.
Once you have completed all of these steps, you’ll be ready to start your youth football coaching journey.
The BT Playmaker and Introduction to Coaching Football courses are run online at various dates. You can find out when these are and book online on the FA’s coaching website.
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 (such as We Make Footballers!) 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.
For example, 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 We Make Footballers 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 BT Playmaker and Introduction to Coaching Football.
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.
If you’ve read this far, you’re clearly interested in taking the next steps to become a kids’ football coach! Why not start your coaching journey with We Make Footballers? As a coaching franchise owner, you’ll get the chance to turn your passion into a career, with all the benefits of a trusted brand, plus full training, support and advice on marketing your coaching business. Download our information pack or book in a call with one of our team and get the ball rolling on your coaching career!
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