Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer
CHICAGO – Two current USL Championship Head Coaches were among the fourth class to complete the U.S. Soccer Pro License on Friday, Nov. 15, with Indy Eleven’s Martin Rennie and the Portland Timebrs 2’s Cameron Knowles among a group of seven coaches overall to complete a year-long journey that began in January.
Designed for coaches to further develop the skills and competencies necessary to work as a professional coach in a professional environment, each candidate went through a tailored program designed to bolster their efforts to create a winning culture and team, develop a style of play, implement sport science initiatives at their clubs, reflect on their growth as a coach and serve as leaders in their organizations.
“The U.S. Soccer Pro License course provides a unique learning space for professional coaches at the highest level in our country,” said Director of Coach Education Barry Pauwels. “It is the ultimate environment for the coaches to develop new ideas, share and discuss those ideas with peers, experts and top coaches from within the country and elsewhere in the world.”
Rennie led Indy Eleven to the Eastern Conference Final of the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs, while Knowles has previously guided T2 to the 2018 USL Championship Playoffs, the club’s lone postseason berth. The duo was joined by former Sacramento Republic FC Head Coach Simon Elliott and former FC Tulsa Head Coach David Vaudreuil among the seven graduates of the 2019 course.
Austin Bold FC Head Coach Marcelo Serrano, who led his club to the USL Championship Playoffs in its inaugural season in 2019, was also present at November’s ceremony and will earn his Pro License in 2020.
Over the course of the year, candidates gathered for three course meetings in January, June and November, with development periods in between. During those development periods, U.S. Soccer coach educators visited the home club environments of the course candidates to observe how they applied the program’s theoretical components while they coached games, led training sessions and analyzed player and team performances.
“The 2019 Pro License course has been an amazing experience for candidates and instructors,” said Wim Van Zwam, lead instructor for the course. “Overall the feedback from the candidates was very positive. Highlights were the individual visits, the experts that were invited and visiting the [U.S. Men’s National Team] when they had a camp in Minnesota. All of this led to a life lasting experience for all candidates, especially also because of the time they could spend together. Lifelong friendships have been established between some of them.”
The course combines theoretical and practical components to help coaches reach their full potential. The year-long journey featured in-person instruction, visits by coach educators to candidates’ home club environments, expert guest speakers, webinars and a final assessment.
Guest presenters included: Guatam Mukunda (Professor, Harvard University), Doug Lemov (Managing Director, Uncommon Schools), Wade Gilbert (Professor of Kinesiology, Fresno State University), Steve Georgas (Deputy Chief, Special Functions Division, Chicago PD), Yannick Ferrera (Head Coach, Al-Fateh), James O’Connor (Head Coach, Orlando City SC), Ken Fields (SVP and Partner, Fleishman-Hillard), Raphael Wicky (Head Coach, U-17 USMNT), Steve Tashijan (USMNT Head Performance Expert), Darcy Norman (USMNT Movement and Conditioning Coach) and USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, who in 2016 was part of the inaugural class to complete the program.