MLS announces continued partnership with FFF for academy coaches education

MLS & FFF logos

Youth coaches across MLS will be able to continue to further their education in the sport thanks to the league's latest initiative.

MLS announced on Thursday the third iteration of its groundbreaking partnership with the French Football Federation (FFF) that provides MLS youth academy coaches with world-class training through a 14-month youth development course. The course results in participants earning their Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL).

Created in 2013, the partnership has already seen more than 40 coaches graduate through the program to earn an EFCL license. The initiative places participants through an MLS customized program incorporating features unique to their regions. It allows coaches to better serve their respective club needs, while providing the same course and training demands the FFF mandates of its domestic coaches.

The partnership with the FFF promotes an exchange of best practices and experiences in youth development. Program methods include on-field training sessions, classroom instruction, and development of strategic academy growth through seminars with academy directors and coaches from the various international clubs and federations participating.

“Major League Soccer is committed to becoming a leader in the area of player development, and the continued partnership with the French Football Federation provides an important learning opportunity for MLS youth academies,” said MLS executive vice president of competition & player relations Todd Durbin in a league statement. “Since announcing the partnership four years ago, we have already seen its tremendous impact on our youth academy system and we are incredibly excited to continue that process.”

The EFCL program consists of three parts:

  1. FFF course with two weeks of intensive field and classroom instruction at the Clairefontaine national training facility in France and an additional four weeks of domestic training in the United States and Canada
  2. European club observations: One week of immersion at an international youth academy at one of the following clubs: Olympique Lyonnais, Toulouse, Guingamp, Atletico Madrid, Malaga, RCD Espanyol, RB Leipzig
  3. Integration of the program with MLS academy: Creation and/or modification of the club’s youth curriculum and evaluation system for the development of players

The EFCL program begins on April 29 in Clairefontaine for six days of training followed by a week of European club immersion where coaches will receive rigorous hands-on instruction from club management on training styles from top to bottom of the academy. Following several installments of coaching sessions in the United States and Canada during the following months, participants will return to Clairefontaine in June 2018 for a final week of instruction and the conclusion of the program.

In addition, a landmark partnership with Spain’s La Liga will give EFCL-certified coaches and current MLS academy directors an opportunity to receive continued education in conjunction with some of the leading academies in global soccer. In total, 18 MLS academy directors and EFCL-certified coaches will participate in the 10-day educational program learning from top academy coaches and sporting directors from internationally acclaimed clubs on topics including strategic youth development, scouting, and athletic development.

“This tremendous partnership is the first step in developing a special relationship with La Liga and Spanish clubs based on mutual respect and giving both Spanish and American and Canadian coaches the opportunity to share their best youth development practices,” said MLS Technical Director of Youth Player and Development Fred Lipka. “We look forward to seeing our youth academy directors and coaches take these invaluable experiences and adapt them to Major League Soccer.”  

The La Liga continuing education partnership includes observations and seminars with French Ligue 1 clubs OGC Nice and AS Monaco along with Spanish La Liga clubs Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Malaga. In addition to the hands on immersive courses with each club, participants will also receive coaching seminars at the FFF Excellence Preformation Center in Marseille.

Here is a complete list of MLS coaches that will be participating in the EFCL course:

Matt Lawrey
Atlanta United
Francisco Murguia
Chicago Fire
Chris Cartlidge
Colorado Rapids
Ben Cross
Columbus Crew SC
Nathan Kish
D.C. United
Dave Sanford
D.C. United
Chris Hayden
FC Dallas
Scott James
Houston Dynamo
Mauricio Cienfuegos
LA Galaxy
Tim Carter
Minnesota United FC
Serge Dinkota
Montreal Impact
Patrick Ouckama
New England Revolution
Simon Nee
New York Red Bulls
Ryan Miller
Portland Timbers
Eder Quintanilla
San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Little
Seattle Sounders FC
Declan Jogi
Sporting Kansas City
Kelly Findley
Sporting Kansas City
Michael Steano
Toronto FC
Adam Day
Vancouver Whitecaps FC