This morning on Facebook Joe Velazco, Goakeeper Coach form Impact goalkeeper academy shared with his goalkeeper network the big news by the United States Soccer Federation that the first eight candidate are to start a 7 month A-license Goalkeeper course. Many independent coaches chimed in

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?

Currently there are a couple of ways to get certificates or licenses for goalkeeper-specific coaching, the United Soccer Coaches GK 1, GK 2, GK 3 and National Courses and the USSF and for a guy like me who quit a career to start an independent soccer academy, that although will be worth it down the line, certainly lots of effort and monetary investment keeps me at bay from flying across the country to attend one. Yet,  hosting one is a possibility alongside our network of soccer clubs in our area.

USSF is another story and altogether and really missing the mark. They state in their braggart proposal, with Barry Pauwels describing is as  “… geared towards a coach working in a senior professional environment where winning is paramount, so you must integrate your style of play from the goalkeeper to the field players in order for your team to be successful.” In the near future, a Goalkeeper B License Course will be offered for youth and academy level coaches with a focus on teaching participants to lead goalkeepers and aid them in their individual development.”

So then, asks Adrian Clewlow of Just 4 Keepers in Virginia and Richmond Kickers Goalkeeper coach, “Why are GK coaches only able to earn a USSF GK license after they have obtained the B license? It would be good to see more emphasis on goalkeeping at the lower diploma/license levels. Why must a GK coach earn 5 licenses before earning a GK license, yet an A license coach can achieve that without getting tested on anything goalkeeping?”

Personally I’m constantly testing out new things goalkeeping and I partner with and invite coaches both in and out of the Just 4 Keepers network to my camps and clinics to dialogue and learn from.  I read coaching psychology, physiology, goalkeeping books, and yeah I’d like to put my M.Ed. to use in a challenging classroom environment.

However, 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?” says Keith Witmer of Los Angeles.  “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?”

The International GoalKeeper Coaching Conference offers and 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.

So, then in the spirit of the Goalkeepers Union I recommend that because between the coaches in our network that either have Pro GK coaching, run successful youth academies, Physiology degrees, P.E Certifications, or Masters in Education like I do, it seems to me that holding a GK coaching symposium that deals with solving the problem of GK coach education is worth having.

My network of clubs and coaches here in Seattle would be a good place to have a symposium starting and March of 2019.  The agenda would be creating a coaching education program that works for the grassroots coach on up.   Certainly, we would have to remain brand neutral, although, yeah I am proud to be part of Just 4 Keepers and its international cadre of coaches. But, for the sake of education and pushing back against the status quo is the movement that needs to happen in this country.

Obviously, there is “pat my back and I’ll pat yours” going on between the USSF and Major League Soccer with all of the current candidates being from MLS teams. So, yet again the grassroots development has been left out and the “elites” that we were so up in arms about in October of 2017 when the US failed to make the Men’s World Cup are back in charge.  If there was a grade that I could give the USSF for this USSF A license, it would be an F for not coming to the 100’s of independent goalkeeper coaches in the United States who are truly making the difference in our system.

The USSF fails once again to enact measures to enhance the grassroots game with the new GK A-license.