The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has just announced a Goalkeeper Coach A License pilot program. The press release says The seven-month course runs from September 2018-March 2019 as the highest-level course offered to goalkeeper coaches who are working in a professional environment or will be working in a professional environment. Among the initial students will be Seattle Sounders USL goalkeeper Preston Burpo.
There are independent goalkeeper trainers working around the world and in the US. Stephen Swanger trains and holds youth academy camps in the Northwest under the brand Just 4 Keepers Washington. His take on the USSF announcement provides a different look at how that governing body operates and whether intentionally or otherwise tends to exclude a large number of soccer people and their experience and expertise.
In a blog post here, Swanger reacts to the new USSF goalkeeper license. “Are you excited about the news that the United States Soccer Federation has announced the first eight candidates to start a 7 month A-license goalkeeper course? “Not I,” Say many of the independent goalkeeper coaches around the United States Goalkeeper Coaching community. And the reasons have to do with much more than money… although everything has to do with money, right?”
Swanger later adds:
The International Goalkeeper Coaching Conference offers an excellent alternative for goalkeeper coaches to network and learn from each other. However, they are not an accredited agency for providing licenses and not recognized by US Soccer.
The optics of the USSF installing a top-tier goalkeeper coaching license of their own rather than incorporating the work and working with current trainers in other associations does denote a kind of elitist thinking. Something along the lines of “Now that the USSF is doing this, it can be better done than before.” But who says it will be BETTER? Maybe just ‘sanctioned.’
Swanger and other top-level independent goalkeeper coaches are left on the outside of this process. Rightly, they have questions. “Do the teachers at this USSF course, or at the USC even understand proven teaching methods? Or do they stand and lecture where they felt they were actually taught?” There is doubt in part because independent goalkeeper coaches feel they are already doing more than the USSF. One who experienced previous USSF sessions says: “Most of the courses were simple regurgitation of pedestrian sessions put out by a national staff who had little interest in sharing ideas and then go outside do a demo then critique your session. I mean, Is the quality of the instruction worth the price? Or, Is the certificate worth the outcome?”