US Soccer has revealed the second batch of participants in its new “Pro Course” coaching license, the federation's highest level of coaching education, and 11 of the 17 candidates work in Major League Soccer.
A new project which debuted last year with 13 graduates, 11 of them from MLS, the Pro Course is a year-long coaching education and development program that includes three collective meetings, two individual club visits from US Soccer coach educators and a final presentation. According to the federation, the new license will eventually become mandatory for coaches in each of the four current professional soccer leagues recognized by USSF: MLS, NASL, USL and NWSL.
This year's list of Pro Course candidates include MLS head coaches Jay Heaps (New England Revolution), Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes), Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls), Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers), Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders) and Greg Vanney (Toronto FC), as well as assistants Steven Cooke (Colorado Rapids), Daryl Shore (Real Salt Lake), Mike Sorber (Philadelphia Union), Josh Wolff (Columbus Crew SC) and Kerry Zavagnin (Sporting KC).
Only coaches within the domestic professional environment may apply for the Pro Course, and participants must already hold the US Soccer A License, which was previously the highest coaching license available from the federation.
"You are always learning as a coach. I've been coaching for 10 years, but I learned a lot from this course," former MLS and US Soccer coach Richie Williams, a participant in the first class of the Pro Course, told ussoccer.com. "Every day you are continuing to learn so you can't take learning opportunities for granted. Don't think you don't need the license, because there are many things we talked about that you pick up on, that you can apply to your coaching and make yourself better as a coach and as a person."
This year's programming opened on Saturday in Los Angeles with four days of meetings marked by a course introduction and several guest speakers, including US men's national team head coach Bruce Arena, veteran Bundesliga manager Thomas Schaaf, author Daniel Coyle, Harvard Business School professor Gautum Mukunda and Frank Ludolph, UEFA's head of Football Education Services. Later in the year, US Soccer coach educators will visit Pro Course participants in their particular coaching environments to observe their work before tailoring customized programs for each.
The 2017 Pro Course is being led by Vanni Sartini (formerly of the Italian soccer federation and several Serie A and Serie B clubs), Nico Romeijn and Wim van Zwam (ex-UEFA and Dutch federation).
Full roster of 2017 Pro Course participants:
1. Paul Buckle (Sacramento Republic, USL)
2. Colin Clarke (North Carolina FC, NASL)
3. Steven Cooke (Colorado Rapids, MLS)
4. Jill Ellis (U.S. WNT)
5. Jim Gabarra (Washington Spirit, NWSL)
6. Jay Heaps (New England Revolution, MLS)
7. Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes, MLS)
8. Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls, MLS)
9. Pat Noonan (U.S. MNT)
10. Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers, MLS)
11. Darren Powell (San Antonio FC, USL)
12. Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders, MLS)
13. Daryl Shore (Real Salt Lake, MLS)
14. Mike Sorber (Philadelphia Union, MLS)
15. Greg Vanney (Toronto FC, MLS)
16. Josh Wolff (Columbus Crew, MLS)
17. Kerry Zavagnin (Sporting KC, MLS)