Raising the bar on Coach Education: US Club Soccer Host LaLiga Methodology Course In San Diego
US Club Soccer, in partnership with LaLiga, has a dynamic Formation Methodology coaching course. Created to enlighten youth soccer coaches, the three-day course provided attendees with a greater knowledge and a deeper understanding of successful player development — to help youth soccer coaches take their talents to the next level and raise the level of play in the USA.
Youth Soccer News: Raising the bar in coaching education is an important step in creating a new breed of American world-class players — and this is an initiative which US Club Soccer is willing to take.
Since partnering with LaLiga, US Club has just completed offering their sixth LaLiga Formation Methodology Level 3 Course. Held in Southern California and hosted by Elite Clubs National League (ECNL), approximately 150 youth soccer coaches from 78 clubs came to San Diego to increase their knowledge.
The new popularity — professional coaches appreciating continuing their education to enhance their skills and learn how to better develop players — is remarkable. Youth soccer coaches traveled from all across the country — in fact 27 states — to attend the LaLiga training.
LaLiga is Spain’s top professional football league — where teams Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and 17 others teams play. LaLiga is considered one of the best player development systems in the world.
It is simple — US Club Soccer wants to improve the level of American soccer players by educating the coaches.
Part of the US Club Soccer’s Players First initiative, the LaLiga Formation Methodology course was developed to help improve the quality of soccer in America.
According to Kevin Payne, US Club Soccer CEO, a coaching license has been treated similar to a driver’s license.
A coaching license should not be like a drivers’ license. You get a driver’s license and never look back, never think of continuing your education.
US Club is determined to change this attitude and give coaches the tools to develop better youth soccer players in the USA.
With 25 years of high-profile, executive leadership roles at U.S. Soccer and the MLS, Payne knows the role of education and wants to see American soccer coaches on a lifelong path of learning.
With 500,000 members, US Club’s emphasis on the development of each individual youth soccer player to his or her full potential could make a significant difference in America’s fight to win recognition on the world stage of soccer — and, maybe even make winning the World Cup a more distinct possibility.
The real question is: How do coaches develop better players?
Youth soccer coach Benoit David sat down with Payne while in La Jolla and discussed his commitment to providing coaches with a path to learning. David holds an “A” license and coaches the U.S. Soccer DA teams at San Diego Surf SC.
From Payne’s perspective, US Club Soccer is aiming to improve the level of youth soccer players through a methodology that encourages a specific plan.
“I think this program is intended to help coaches create their own methodology,” said Payne. “It’s very much focused on helping them understand the way people learn.”
“Payne explained the course is focused on instructing and promoting alternatives on how to approach the question we all ask ourselves, ‘how do I develop better players?’ Upon the completion of the three levels, coaches will have gained the insight and tools to promote their self-growth,” said David.
“Better coaches = Better players,” says Payne.
“There’s a lot of conversation about periodization in terms of physical development in training, but the point of LaLiga is that you also have to periodize what you’re teaching,” said Payne. “It’s very much like teaching an academic course. You wouldn’t try to teach somebody advanced trigonometry if they haven’t taken an algebra course.”
“It is important that attendees understand what makes the LaLiga method distinct and successful — in contrast to what many American youth soccer coaches do,” said Payne. “There is a high focus on teaching how to better develop players in contrast to a traditional focus on how to win games or on how to prepare your team to win a game on the weekend — and, then the following week working on the aspects that the team struggled at. LaLiga is more focused on how to prepare a specific plan that can develop better soccer players.”
According to David, Payne believes that the main difference is not necessarily the information being provided but the manner in which it is explained.
The goal is for the players to truly understand what is being asked of them.
For this to happen, according to Payne, the coaches must have a strong understanding or thorough knowledge of the principles they’re trying to teach.
“It will take time but there will be a huge change in the quality of the players who are coming out of our organization,” said Christian Lavers, Executive Vice President. “And, hopefully, who are ultimately representing out country.”
The course was led by Gari Fullaondo, Technical and Methodological Advisor for LaLiga; Hugo Blanco, LaLiga’s Sports Projects Coordinator; and Zunbeltz Fullaondo, Methodological Director at Kimet Sport.
According to US Club, two clubs dominated the attendance of the LaLiga courses, with World Class FC bringing 19 coaches to the event in New Jersey, and Sockers FC bringing 28 to the course in Chicago. This recent course in Southern California was more diverse, with four clubs bringing at least five coaches: PDA (8), West Coast FC (7), Michigan Hawks (5) and FC Boston (5).
Rancho Sante Fe Attack, Real So Cal, GSA, West Coast FC, Strikers FC, San Diego Surf, San Diego SC and San Diego State University also sent coaches to attend the LaLiga course.
“It is always important to learn — I want to inspire youth players to be their best. I enjoyed learning how LaLiga organizes their training through out the soccer seasons,” said Monica Dolinsky, Surf SC coach. “It is very formulated and it is a way to monitor a player’s work load and game schedules. There is a lot American coaches can learn from LaLiga — they have a very successful league and we can definitely take some of what they are doing and apply it to our game in the USA.”
Photo Credit: US Club Soccer
Editor’s Note: Article updated on 2.14.17 at 7:15 PST