Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

Coaching Licenses in US Soccer: Your Path to Excellence

highest level of soccer

Coaching is not just about winning matches, but also about nurturing young talents and fostering a love for the beautiful game. Whether you’re a former player looking to stay involved or a passionate individual seeking to make a difference, coaching offers a rewarding experience that allows you to grow in the sport you love. In the United States, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) provides a clear pathway for coaches to acquire the necessary licenses and achieve their coaching goals.

Grassroots: Where It All Begins

Every coach starts their journey with a free, 20-minute Introduction to Grassroots Coaching video. This serves as the foundation for further development. Coaches then have the option to proceed with in-person or online modules. However, to be eligible for the D license, coaches must complete two in-person or blended modules. These are essential steps to advance your coaching career and qualify for higher-level licenses.

D License: Guiding Beginner to Intermediate Players

The D license prepares coaches to lead teams ranging from U6 to U19 in a participation environment. Coaches with this license typically work with beginner to intermediate level players, including multi-sport athletes. To qualify, coaches are expected to be actively coaching a team with 1-2 training sessions per week. The D license equips coaches with the skills and knowledge needed to nurture young athletes and develop their passion for the game.

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C License: Taking It to the Next Level

After holding the D license for a full year, coaches become eligible to obtain the C license. This license is designed for coaches working with teams from U11 to U19. Coaches at this level must demonstrate a higher level of commitment and work with more self-motivated athletes. With an emphasis on advanced skill development, coaches are expected to conduct 2-3 training sessions per week. The C license empowers coaches to guide players towards their potential in a more competitive environment.


B License: Coaching at the Intermediate to Advanced Level

Once coaches have held the C license for another year and have at least three years of coaching experience, they become eligible to apply for the B license. This license enables coaches to lead U13 and higher-level teams in a competitive environment. Coaches with a B license have a deeper understanding of player development and can optimize the learning environment for their team. The B license has additional requirements, including running three training sessions per week and performing thorough game film analysis. Utilizing video solutions, such as Trace, allows coaches to analyze and break down game footage effortlessly.

A Youth License: Fostering High Performance

After holding the previous license for at least a year, coaches can aim for the A Youth license. This license focuses on developing youth players between the ages of U13 and U19 in a high-performance environment. Coaches applying for this license should have a minimum of four years of coaching experience and be involved with a competitive club or academy team. With at least four training sessions per week, coaches with an A Youth license have the skills to guide young talents towards excellence.

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A Senior License: Coaching at the Elite Level

The A Senior license is a step up from the A Youth license, primarily targeting coaches aiming to lead senior-level teams. Coaches with an A Senior license work with players aged 19 and above, many of whom aspire to reach the professional level. To obtain this license, coaches must conduct at least four training sessions per week and demonstrate their expertise through video and GPS technology. Trace provides coaches with video solutions and GPS sensor technology to maximize player performance and understanding. With Trace, you can get the most out of your players and optimize their development.

Pro License: The Pinnacle of Coaching

The Pro license is the ultimate achievement for coaches pursuing head coaching responsibilities at the highest levels of national and international professional soccer. Coaches aspiring to earn the Pro license must have held their A license for at least one year and be a head or assistant coach at an MLS or NWSL club, a head coach for a USL or similar level club, or a head coach of a U17 or older national team. The requirements for the Pro license are demanding, reflecting the level of expertise and commitment needed to excel in this field.


Coaching youth soccer in the United States is a fulfilling endeavor. The opportunity to shape young athletes’ lives and witness their growth is truly rewarding. As a coach, it’s crucial to stay updated with changes in licensing processes and local regulations. Remember, being a great coach is not just about having all the answers; it’s about being patient, positive, and supportive. Start your coaching journey and make a difference today!

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