The US Soccer Federation have been creating trips (Coaching Development Workshops) to foreign countries for groups of coaches interested in learning about how they teach soccer. According to their website “since its inception in March 2009, more than 250 coaches have traveled internationally with the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department to Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.” The trips take just over a week and give coaches access to experiences it is unlikely they would be able to arrange on their own – through reciprocal links with federations and deals from Nike. For example, the Spain trip included access to five La Liga training grounds to watch sessions (including Barcelona, Villa Real and Espanyol) as well as tours of facilities (Real Madrid, Federation and Barcelona). The trips are generally well run, with all transfers and meals arranged, guides and translators to help throughout and clothing provided.
“The Coaching Education Department has placed an emphasis on developing stronger connections with leading countries around the world,” said U.S. Soccer Director of Coaching Education, Dave Chesler. “Spending time with the The FA will offer yet another perspective on how to develop players and coaches.”
Costs can be prohibitive as they tend to be about $3000 excluding flights (which you arrange on your own), but for serious coaches it would be difficult to put a price on the access you get from the trips. Most of the coaches on the courses are A license holders (they get their continuing education credits for being there and priority at registration) so the level of discussion is quite high and the networking can be useful for club directors. Dave Chesler told us that the plan is to have at least one trip each year, and if demand allows it, two.
If you have an A license and are looking for the next level of coach development (or to stay fresh) the courses are an excellent opportunity and we highly recommend them.
Check out more coaching courses here.