The New FA Football Coaching Qualifications

The New FA Football Coaching Qualifications

 

The biggest shakeup in FA football coaching qualifications in over a decade is here with FA Level 1 and FA Level 2 replaced by the new Introduction to Football Coaching and UEFA C Licence.

First announced ahead of the 2020-21 season, the changes were decided upon in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact on grassroots football. 

The new qualifications have been gradually introduced since FA Education took over responsibility for coaching courses in March 2021. 

Introduction to Football Coaching replaced FA Level 1 in 2021 and FA Level 2 is now no longer running; the UEFA C Licence will be introduced in 2022 in its place.

Here is everything we know so far about the new qualifications, the differences compared to the old ones and what it means for football coaching and development in England.

Why have the FA made changes to their coaching qualifications?

There are several reasons as to why the FA have replaced Level 1 and Level 2 with new qualifications but they all stem from the same desire, as laid out in a letter from Head of Education Lucy Pearson – to simplify and modernise the process of becoming a football coach.

Lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic have played a major role in the FA’s thinking. Even before lockdown, research was showing that the appetite for self-service learning was growing. 

People want to access courses at a time that suits them, be that at 8 pm, during their lunch break at work or on a Sunday afternoon. 

When the country then had to adapt to remote working, it became clear that technology could allow digital learning to take place in industries that had previously been reluctant to embrace such change.

Time has also become more precious because of lockdowns. People no longer want to spend an hour travelling to a venue, another an hour in a lesson, followed by an hour driving home. Not when self-learning can allow all of that to take place in 30 minutes over the internet from the comfort of their own home.

If the FA can get more coaches into football by making qualifications more accessible through digital means, then it is understandable for them to seek that opportunity by moving online. Especially at a time when the pandemic has made people more susceptible to career changes. 

Anyone considering a move into football coaching as a full-time profession has to start with their FA Qualifications. The easier qualifications are to gain for prospective coaches, the greater the number who sign up and the better position grassroots football finds itself.

One of the other major considerations was – sadly – money. Grassroots football was hit hard by the pandemic with the FA’s workforce slimming down significantly. 

New ways, therefore, had to be found to support coaches and teachers – and one of the most obvious was to place greater emphasis on online learning to make better use of time.

Introduction to Football Coaching replaces FA Level 1

The major difference between the new Introduction to Football Coaching and the old FA Level 1 Coaching Badge is the way the course is taught.

At its most basic level, FA Level 1 used to entail learning coaching drills and putting them into practice in sessions. It was time-consuming and, depending on where the nearest course was run, could involve significant travelling. That was enough to put a lot of prospective coaches off.

Introduction to Coaching instead blends weekly webinars, e-learning, community support and a range of resources to provide individuals with the skills to coach players of all ages. The course takes only four weeks to complete.

By offering such a range of resources, coaches can pick and choose which learning methods work best for them. This creates a qualification more tailored to the individual than was ever possible with FA Level 1.

Likewise, the community support available through Introduction to Football Coaching outstrips anything on offer under the old qualifications. 

Coaches can now interact and connect with numerous like-minded people going through the same process via the online community, rather than a handful on a physical FA Level 1 course.

The most important elements of the Introduction to Football though are the six online learning modules and the three webinars. The webinars involve coach developers sharing their knowledge and experiences on a weekly basis.

The learning modules total six hours work and can be done in a coach’s own time. Completing one module will unlock the next. In the end, there is a short online assessment. 

Pass and that and the Introduction to Coaching is complete. It is a much more straightforward way to take the first step towards a football coaching career.

UEFA C Licence replaces FA Level 2

UEFA launched their new C Diploma in 2021, offering grassroots coaches the opportunity to gain a Europe-wide recognised qualification below the renowned UEFA B, UEFA A and UEFA Pro.

It will replace FA Level 2 in England in 2022 and although the FA are yet to release too many details about the new qualification, we do know it is set to blend the e-learning concept of Introduction to Football with mentoring and on-the-pitch development.

Coaches will be encouraged to build and shape their own philosophy on a course which, according to UEFA when the diploma was announced, takes place over a minimum of 60 hours.

We Make Footballers supporting coaches through their qualifications

We Make Footballers have an along-standing commitment to helping new football coaches gain their FA Level 1 and FA Level 2 coaching badges. 

That has continued since the FA brought in the Introduction to Coaching and will be the case when UEFA C launches in 2022.

In addition, We Make Footballers also provide their own in-house qualifications which are widely respected in the coaching community.

Coaches who combine We Make Footballers with the new FA football coaching qualifications are therefore in the best possible position to develop their coaching career.

If you are interested in finding out how We Make Footballers can help start your coaching qualifications journey and career in football, then head on over to our website where you can apply to join us as a coach.

Let Girls Play – the FA campaign for equal football by 2024

The FA Launches ‘Let Girls Play’ Campaign

The FA has launched a new campaign – Let Girls Play – as it looks to continue to build on the astonishing growth of women’s and girls’ football across England in recent years.

From the success and popularity of the Lionesses to record crowds watching the Women’s Super League, the game has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Over 3.4 million women and girls played football regularly in 2020, according to data from the Football Association.

That figure is striking for two reasons. The first is because it has doubled in only three years from the 1.7 million playing in 2017. The second is because only 63 per cent of schools in the United Kingdom currently offer football in PE lessons for girls.

The Let Girls Play campaign aims to increase that number to 75 per cent by 2024. It wants to empower communities and inspire schools to do more when it comes to equal opportunities, backed by research showing that 91 per cent of girls without access to football in PE want their school to start offering it. 

Thanks to the Let Girls Play campaign, those girls will now have a louder voice led by the ‘Change Squad’, a group of young women aged 14-18 who are all passionate about making a difference for girls who want to play football.

Also on board is former England international and Barclays brand ambassador Kelly Smith MBE. Smith ended her career having won 117 caps for the Lionesses. She began by playing in her local boys’ team and was never offered access to football in PE at school.

Smith said upon the launch of Let Girls Play: “When Barclays asked me to be a part of the Let Girls Play campaign, I couldn’t have been quicker to say yes.”

“The campaign is very close to my heart and something I am extremely passionate about when it comes to providing equal access to football for young girls. I wasn’t offered the opportunity to play football in school during PE lessons.” 

“This has progressed hugely over the last few years, and I’m proud to be part of The FA’s Let Girls Play campaign which will really make a difference to the young girls like me who just want to play football.”

To launch the campaign, a short one-minute film was released on YouTube and through the England Football Website. Smith and two members of the Change Squad – Abi and Olivia –talk in separate videos about the power football has to support girls, encourage them and give them confidence.

Also on the website are supporting materials for those wanting to help with the campaign. Posters and graphics are designed to spread the message on social media. There are templates for letters that can be sent to the 27 per cent of schools not yet offering girls football in PE.

The FA believes that the louder the conversation and the noise surrounding Let Girls Play, the harder it will become for schools not offering equal access to football to ignore. The website even contains a wealth of information and resources for teachers about how they can play their part in bringing girls’ football to their school.

The campaign comes a little under a year before England is set to host the UEFA Women’s European Championship in the summer of 2022. 

A tournament on home soil will have the exploits of England players making front and back page headlines, leading to a further surge in interest in women’s and girls’ football – especially if Sarina Wiegman and her players end up reaching the final at Wembley.

“Momentum is building as next summer’s Euros gets ever closer, but we do not want to wait until then to inspire and empower others to help create equal access to playing football at school,” said FA Director of Women’s Football Baroness Sue Campbell.

“Currently, only a third of girls aged 5-18 participate in football every week, and we want to change that. Now is the time to drive a far-reaching ambition to open up the game in every way to girls and the Let Girls Play campaign allows parents and teachers to play a huge role in joining us in this commitment.”

To have your voice heard and support the Let Girls Play campaign, head on over to the England Football Website.

At We Make Footballers, we already have a long-standing commitment to increasing girls’ participation in the sport. Whilst every one of our academies is open to girls and boys aged 4 to 12 of all abilities, we also offer opportunities to participate exclusively to girls.

We Make Footballers Girls was launched in 2017 at our Twickenham academy with its roots established from the FA Wildcats programme, which has done so much already to improve access to football.

A dedicated all-female coaching team experienced across all levels of football and in a variety of on-pitch positions lead weekly sessions during school time and holiday camps during half terms. 

The aim is to provide football in a fun, safe environment for girls to enjoy the game at the same time as improving players and developing talent.

You can find out more at the WMF Girls website.