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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The New USSF National C license Course Experience

By Tom Paparounis

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

I just returned from the first phase of the new USSF C licensing course in Baltimore, MD.  My previous experience with coaching courses was disappointing since the courses used to be focused mainly on running training sessions and seemed to be all about how much the instructor knew - very coach focused. 

The new USSF C license course was the exact opposite. The instructors (Willie Ibarra, Director of Coaching Education for Maryland Youth Soccer and George Mihalopoulos, Director of Coaching at Heat United Soccer Club in Illinois) were very instrumental in creating a learning environment. Focus was on the players and not the coaches. The holistic approach to the game was refreshing to be a part of. The other candidates were all great people, making the 8 days that much more beneficial.   

A large percentage of the material was something I am already applying to our coaching programs at Drive Goalkeeping but the presentation of the topics was thoughtful and when taken in a larger context of player development, hugely helpful in understanding where US soccer is and where it is going. I not only recommend the course but feel strongly that anyone working in Soccer as a profession in this country needs to be held to the standards put forth in this license. 

As a goalkeeping coach who strives to evolve with the position of the goalkeeper as well as the game of soccer it is very important to me to thoroughly understand the ever-changing role/ tasks of the team coach.  Gone are the days of training goalkeepers in isolation. The need for goalkeeping coaches to have an understanding of the bigger picture is vital to developing successful goalkeeping programs. The USSF C license lays a great foundation for team coaches.  Similar methodologies must be reflected in our goalkeeping programs if we aim to be truly effective at developing goalkeepers.  

More information on the U.S. Soccer Federation coaching education courses can be found on their website: