Photo courtesy U.S. Soccer Federation
CHICAGO – When the 2018 USL season kicks off next spring, three of the league’s current coaches will do so having earned the highest level of coaching license available through the U.S. Soccer Federation.
North Carolina FC’s Colin Clarke, Sacramento Republic FC’s Paul Buckle and San Antonio FC’s Darren Powell all graduated from the second U.S. Soccer Pro License Coaching Course, which was completed on Friday, Dec. 15 in Chicago.
The 2017 graduates went through the 12-month course curriculum with the same two primary objectives: to accomplish a custom, individualized plan and for the collective unit to set new standards for the next generation of coaches. Each candidate took on a tailored program based on an assessment of their needs, undergoing multiple group meetings and individual visits, while topics such as leadership and team tactical periodization were highlighted throughout the course.
The experience of the course was one that brought new ideas and insights for each of the coaches, particularly during the individual visits to the clubs by U.S. Soccer National Coach Educator Wim van Zwam.
“Professionally, they showed so much respect to me as a head coach in terms of when Wim came in to analyze me in my working environment twice,” Buckle said. “He would always ask, ‘Can I do this? Do you mind me being here?’ And I opened every door, from the training field, to individual meetings with players, group meetings, pregame, postgame and halftime. Wim was there. So he was brought in as part of the staff. I received invaluable feedback, incredible feedback. The details that U.S. Soccer have put into this license have been phenomenal.”
Among others to graduate in the class were U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis, Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer – whose head coaching career with the Sounders originally began in the USL in 2002 – and Toronto FC’s Greg Vanney, whose side recently claimed MLS Cup.
2017 Pro Course Graduates
Paul Buckle (Sacramento Republic, USL)
Colin Clarke (North Carolina FC, USL)
Steven Cooke (Colorado Rapids, MLS)
Jill Ellis (U.S. WNT)
Jim Gabarra (Washington Spirit, NWSL)
Dominic Kinnear (Los Angeles Galaxy, MLS)
Jesse Marsch (New York Red Bulls, MLS)
Pat Noonan (U.S. MNT)
Darren Powell (San Antonio FC, USL)
Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders, MLS)
Greg Vanney (Toronto FC, MLS)
Josh Wolff (Columbus Crew, MLS)
Kerry Zavagnin (Sporting KC, MLS)