Matthew Robinson (left) with members of the NSCAA Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate Program class.

Soccer certificate

Soccer administrators from US, Canada complete certificate program

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4:40 p.m., Jan. 23, 2014--Fourteen directors of coaching from soccer clubs in the United States and Canada successfully completed the first National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate Program, offered in partnership by the organization and the University of Delaware, at the NSCAA National Convention in Philadelphia on Jan. 17.

Through the advanced director of coaching (DOC) course, participants learned to analyze their soccer clubs’ operations to become more professionally managed organizations, embraced evidence-based management principles to better manage staff and communicate with constituents, and discovered the latest trends in player development theory and sport sciences that will enable players to achieve their full potential.

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Discussing the program, Jerome Vivona of the New York Red Bull Academy said, “The project and course have pushed me to be more accountable and more reliant upon my own personal skill set. I enjoyed all aspects of the course, especially the online sessions that kept us linked together and engaged on a bi-weekly basis. This was a key component of our individual growth. I further enjoyed spending time with the professionals in the course and learning from them both directly and indirectly.”

Bryn Lloyd, technical director of the West Florida Flames Soccer Club, added, “This course has been a huge influence on who I am and more importantly where I want to lead my club to be in five years’ time. It has reinforced what I always have believed my role in soccer to be -- to leave the game in a better place than when I started coaching. I am a better person for the experience.”

In Philadelphia, the candidates presented a required project to a jury panel for review. The project presentations were the culmination of six months’ worth of work and the projects included a long-term athlete development plan for the New York Red Bull Youth Academy and its training partners; the design of an interactive virtual learning environment for competitive travel players for the Rockville Centre Soccer club in Long Island, N.Y.; the Los Angeles Premier Soccer Club’s transition from a single-sport club to a multi-sport club now branded the LA Premier Sport Club; the merger of two clubs that led to the creation of the Delaware Union Soccer Club; the rebranding of West Florida Flames Soccer Club and the Gulf Coast Soccer Club in Mississippi; educational programs to make youth soccer players aware of careers in soccer for the Jackson Hole Soccer Club in Wyoming; and a program to engage at-risk youth through soccer in Rockville, Md.

“I was truly humbled by the efforts of the participants on their projects and the impact that the projects have had on their clubs, the players and the sport of soccer as a whole. It was satisfying to see the participants utilize the concepts and theories presented in the course in those projects,” said Matthew Robinson director of the sport management program at UD and also director of the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program (ICECP) and the International Coaching Apprenticeship in Basketball (ICAB), which are funded by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity fund.

About the program

The NSCAA advanced DOC course program began with the first module in June 2013 at the prestigious St. George’s Park National Football Centre in England. The first module featured such presenters as Anson Dorrance, head coach of the 1991 U.S. Women's World Cup championship team and head coach of the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team that has won 20 NCAA national championships. 

Also presenting were Steve Rutter, who serves as director of coach education for the Football Association (FA); Clive Reeves, performance coach at Fulham Football Club; Robin Russell, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) football development consultant; and Dave Carolan, sports scientist and fitness coach at Colchester United Football Club.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit the historic Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, home of the English Premier League's Liverpool Football Club, and the training facility of Everton Football Club, also a member of the English Premier League. At Everton the participants met with Youth Academy director Alan Irvine who shared with the group insights and the philosophy of the player development program for Everton.

The program's second module began in September and consisted of bi-weekly online lectures and practical assignments. Along with lectures by Robinson on sport management related topics, associate program director Jeff Schneider presented on sport science and associate director Andrew Donnery presented on player development and talent identification. 

Guest lecturers included former U.S. Soccer Federation Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher, who spoke on the art of negotiating, and Roberta Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair in Human Services, Education and Public Policy in the School of Education at UD, who presented on promoting creativity in youths. 

During that time the participants were also implementing the projects they developed as part of the U.K. module.

“It was an honor and pleasure to work with my friends and colleagues in the NSCAA and it was a true team effort between UD and the NSCAA in every aspect of the course. We look forward to launching the second edition of the program in June and making it even better the second time around," Robinson said.

About the NSCAA

Founded in 1941 and based in Kansas City, Kan., the NSCAA is a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate coaches, encourage excellence and serve the soccer community.

The NSCAA is the world’s largest soccer coaches organization with members at every level of the game. The membership is primarily made up of coaches, but also includes administrators, referees and others in the soccer industry. The NSCAA provides its members ways to enhance the game of soccer by providing a national education program, interaction and networking opportunities, and membership benefits.

This is the first professional development certificate to be co-offered by the NSCAA and UD, through a partnership between UD's Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Applications for the second cohort of students in the NSCAA Advanced Director of Coaching Certificate Program will open in September. For more information, visit this website.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Schneider

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