deVos: Are national coaching licences necessary?

Jason deVos
4/19/2013 4:56:51 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

In the wake of a recent announcement by the Ontario Soccer Association – in 2014, it is launching a standards-based high performance youth soccer league in the province called the Ontario Player Development League – there has been a great deal of discussion and debate regarding the value of national coaching licences. The league requires all head coaches to have a national coaching licence; either a CSA 'B' licence, a USSF 'B' licence or a UEFA 'B' licence.

Critics argue that there are many fine coaches involved in competitive youth soccer in Ontario who will be unable to continue coaching the province's best young players because they do not have a national coaching licence.

That argument seems peculiar, though. How can it be a bad thing if we replace untrained, unqualified coaches with trained, qualified ones? If, as parent, you are paying for your child to play soccer, don't you want them to be taught by a trained, qualified coach?

I know I do.

Critics also argue that just because a coach has acquired a national coaching licence, it doesn't mean that they are a good coach. They suggest that getting the licence is more about following the rules and ticking the boxes of what the assessors are looking for, rather than demonstrating a genuine ability to teach players.

I'll concede that point, to a certain extent. 

I'm sure coaches exist whom, after acquiring a national licence, go out on the pitch and behave like the character played by Will Ferrell in the movie 'Kicking & Screaming'. But my experience tells me that those examples are the exceptions, rather than the norm.

Most coaches who sign up to take a national coaching licence do so with an open mind and a thirst for knowledge – they genuinely want to learn how to become a better coach. They want to become better so that they can make the game more enjoyable for their players, and can do a better job of teaching them the skills they need to succeed.

The mantra that gets repeated on virtually every coaching course goes like this: "Acquiring this licence does not mean that you are a great coach. It means that your education has begun." I'm sure that similar mantras exists in other professional careers.

Lawyers do not become adept at practicing law the instant they pass the bar exam, nor do doctors become world-renowned surgeons the moment they complete their residency. It takes years of dedication and practice in order to hone those abilities; acquiring the necessary licence to practice those professions is simply the first step on the long road to success.

Coaching is no different. Acquiring a national coaching licence is not the end of a coach's education and skill training; it is the beginning. If critics think that mandating that the coaches working with our most talented young soccer players have a national coaching licence is a bad thing, then they are probably in favour of maintaining the status quo – which requires little more than the coach has a heartbeat.

Participation-based coaching certifications – where all a coach has to do is attend a course and they will receive their certificate – is the current requirement to coach the best young soccer players in Ontario.

And that simply isn't good enough. Not by a long shot.

Soccer Balls (Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)


(Photo: Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story

Blue Jays on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 baseball insider Scott MacArthur provides daily coverage of the Blue Jays.

Jays Watch | Latest on the Jays

 | Thursday at 4:07pm | Young vs. Stroman
 | W 1-0 | W: Buehrle | L: Walker | S: Sanchez

Maple Leafs on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Leafs with Jonas Siegel providing daily coverage in his Leaf Report.

Latest on the Leafs | Leafs on 1050 Schedule

 | Free Agency Tracker
 | DraftCentre

Raptors on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the home of the Raptors with Josh Lewenberg providing coverage in his Raptors Report.

Latest on the Raptors

 | Free Agency Tracker
 | NBA Draft

Argos on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050 is the official broadcaster of the Argos with Mike Hogan providing coverage in his Argos Report.

Argos Hashmarks | Argos on TSN 1050 Schedule

 | Saturday, Oct. 4 at 4pm | (TSN 1050)
 | W 40-23 | Glenn: 291y | Steele: 73y

Toronto FC on TSN Radio 1050

TSN 1050's Gareth Wheeler provides coverage of TFC matches including pre-game shows live from BMO Field

Latest on TFC | TFC on TSN 1050 Schedule

| Saturday at 1pm | (TSN 1050)
| W 3-0 | Jackson, Moore, Gilberto
TSN TweetBox

Connect with TSN Radio 1050

Email us at

Text your comments to 105050 (standard message rates apply) Details


Text inquiries to 105050 (standard message rates apply) Details

Follow on Twitter: @TSN1050Radio

Call us at 416-870-1050 or Toll Free Across Canada: 855-591-6876

Advertising: Call: 416-384-2900. Or email:

© 2015
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television