Four MLS coaches earned their U.S. Soccer Pro Licenses as part of the course’s fourth edition last month, while another two began the same year-long process towards the highest coaching certification in the federation’s system, U.S. Soccer announced this week.
This year’s MLS-based graduates are assistants: D.C. United’s Nolan Sheldon, Portland Timbers/T2’s Cameron Knowles, Dave van den Bergh of the New England Revolution and Minnesota United’s Mark Watson. They are accompanied by USL coaches Martin Rennie, Simon Elliott and David Vaudreuil.
Custom-tailored for pro coaches, the Pro License offers a rigorous, individualized curriculum that covers a gamut of topics like style of play, sport science, leadership and nurturing of successful team culture. It’s the highest soccer license recognized in North American and the peak of the U.S. Soccer coaching education pathway.
“The U.S. Soccer Pro License course provides a unique learning space for professional coaches at the highest level in our country,” said USSF Director of Coach Education Barry Pauwels in a statement. “It is the ultimate environment for the coaches to develop new ideas, share and discuss those ideas with peers, experts and top coaches from within the country and elsewhere in the world.”
Candidates gathered for course meetings featuring expert guest speakers in January, June and November – including a visit to a US men’s national team camp in Minnesota – with webinars and development periods in between. Coaching educators visited their home club environments to observe how they applied the program’s components on the job, and a final assessment capped the process.
“The Pro Course was a terrific experience; the instructors, Barry and Wim, along with U.S. Soccer, have succeeded in creating a course that promotes learning and growth that will undoubtably extend well beyond the finality of the course,” said Sheldon. “The chance to work closely alongside the other coaches and to gain perspective from the guest speakers was a wonderful learning experience. The visit from the instructor into your own club environment was a memorable moment, as it allowed the material to be purposeful and personalized.
“Upon reflection at the conclusion of the course, you realize how much it has covered. It really is an experience that stretches your own thinking and hits on every aspect of coaching and leadership.”