Participants in the NSCAA Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate visit historic Anfield Stadium in Liverpool.

Coaching certificate

Advanced soccer coaching students complete weeklong institute in UK


3:02 p.m., July 10, 2013--Fourteen U.S. directors of coaching traveled to the United Kingdom in June to complete the initial segment of the new National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate program, offered in partnership by the organization and the University of Delaware.

Held at the prestigious St. George’s Park National Football Centre in England, the program's first module featured such presenters as Anson Dorrance, head coach of the 1991 U.S. Women's World Cup championship team and head coach of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team that has won 20 NCAA national championships.

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Also presenting were Steve Rutter, who serves as director of coach education for the Football Association (FA); Clive Reeves, performance coach at Fulham Football Club; Robin Russell, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) football development consultant; and Dave Carolan, sports scientist and fitness coach at Colchester United Football Club.

“It was an incredible week of learning and sharing. All the presenters were outstanding and were very effective in engaging the participants in discussion and practical application exercises,” said Matthew J. Robinson, academic director of the program and professor of business administration in UD's Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.

Along with these presenters, Joe Cummings, CEO of the NSCAA, and Ian Barker, director of coach education for the NSCAA, were also on hand and made presentations. 

“My take-aways from a week at St. George’s Park were exclusively positive,” said Barker. “The quality of the learning environment coupled with the quality of both the U.S. and U.K. based presenters was of the very highest order. Along with solid content and equally solid educators the program came together through the open-mindedness, intellect and overall contributions of the first cohort of students. I am delighted to be associated with this program and proud to have the NSCAA working in collaboration with the University of Delaware. I am confident the first class of students will inspire and lead in subsequent classes.”

Participants also had the opportunity to visit the historic Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, home of the English Premier League's Liverpool Football Club, and the training facility of Everton Football Club, also a member of the English Premier League. At Everton the participants met with Youth Academy director Alan Irvine who shared with the group insights and the philosophy of the player development program for Everton. 

Participant Brian McAughey said, “The strength and quality of any coach education course is in the people. The faculty and presenters were industry leaders in their respective fields while the candidates had an amazing range of club soccer experiences and real-life scenarios of the challenges faced by the modern-day director of coaching. Put it all together in a purpose-built soccer environment like St. George's Park, and you end up with a course which challenges, educates and, hopefully, inspires you."

The program's second module begins in September and consists of online lectures and practical assignments. During that time the participants will be implementing a project they developed as part of the U.K. module, that will enhance their current clubs.

The final module will be held in Philadelphia at the NSCAA Annual Convention in January 2014. At that time participants will present the outcomes of their projects.

“The goal of the project is to have the participants use the theories and concepts presented so that they can make an immediate and substantial impact in their current environment," said Robinson, director of the sport management program at UD as well as the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP), which is funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity fund.

This professional development certificate provides soccer club leaders with a practical program oriented toward increasing proficiency in the technical, theoretical, conceptual, managerial and ethical aspects of soccer club management and soccer player development. The credential awarded is a noncredit certificate issued jointly by UD and the NSCAA.

Through the certificate, participants learn to analyze their soccer club's operations to become a more professionally managed club, embrace evidence-based management principles to better manage staff and communicate with constituents, and discover the latest trends in player development theory and sport sciences that will enable players to achieve their full potential.

Founded in 1941 and based in Kansas City, Kan., the NSCAA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate coaches, encourage excellence and serve the soccer community.

The NSCAA is the world’s largest soccer coaches organization with members at every level of the game. The membership is primarily made up of coaches, but also includes administrators, referees and others in the soccer industry. The NSCAA provides its members ways to enhance the game of soccer by providing a national education program, interaction and networking opportunities, and membership benefits.

This is the first professional development certificate to be co-offered by the NSCAA and UD, through a partnership between UD's Lerner College and the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Application for the second cohort of students in the NSCAA Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate will open in September. For more information, visit the program website.

Photos courtesy of Matthew Robinson

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