No rest for the weary…soccer style


After Peachtree I made my way to Rome, GA for a soccer coaching course. Since my playing days in college I have coached off and on at the youth level and really enjoyed it. Once I signed with ZAP, I began working at the High Country Soccer Association in Boone. During the last 4 years I have coached  travel teams in the U11 boys, U12 boys, U14 boys, and U12 girls age groups as well as being the Director of the U6-U8 academy program.

More recently, I began working with the Appalachian State men’s program as a volunteer assistant coach. With each passing season I spend coaching, I am realizing that I want to make a career in the game of soccer once I am finished with my running career. Since my high school days, the club soccer scene in the United States has exploded and I hope to be a part of that growth full-time at some point in the near future.

An important part of becoming a sought after youth or college coach is obtaining various coaching licenses or certifications that exist. The NSCAA (see logo above) and US Soccer both offer a ladder of courses that intend to educate coaches how to best present the game to youth and college players. Below is a flow chart showing the options.

US Soccer offers course from E license to A license w
US Soccer offers courses from “E “license to “A” license while the NSCAA offers courses from Levels 1-6 to a Premier diploma.

These two competing organizations operate independently and each present their coaching methodologies in slightly different ways. I was able to waive out of the US Soccer “E” License because I played 4 years of D1 collegiate soccer and jump directly to the “D.” After completing the “D” I decided I wanted to see how the NSCAA conducted their courses and took the National Diploma in 2012. Last week, I made my way to Rome to complete my Advanced National diploma on the campus of the Darlington School. The course ran from Monday evening to Sunday morning and consisted of on-field and classroom sessions. The field sessions are run by the various staff coaches as they show us technically and tactically based practices presented in different methodologies(Functional, Phase Play, Coaching in the Game).

Beautiful Darlington School campus.
Beautiful Darlington School campus.

Each candidate is graded on written coursework and on-field coaching sessions. The culmination of the week is running a 15-20 minute training session on a given topic. My final topic was “teach forwards to combine in the final third and create scoring opportunities” in a “coaching in the game” session. This means there would be an 8v8 game going on and I was supposed to make stoppages and coaching points within the game on my topic.  I thought that it went well and I covered all the pertinent points needed for that particular topic. I will find out in 3 to 4 weeks if I passed (Distinguished Pass, Good Pass, Pass, or Retake).

The week was long and I was glad that I did not have to run as I was on the field for over 6 hours per day playing soccer! I think the course could have been shortened by a few days as I would have loved to present my final coaching session on Thursday and gotten back to Blowing Rock early! All in all, I was a bit rusty but I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

Next week I will begin running easily every day as I get closer to my marathon build up!

Last week of training: 0.0 miles.


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