There are a number of different football coaching qualifications in England. Choosing your level of qualification depends on your ambitions, your level of experience and who you want to coach.
Is it your local under-9 girls team or the Premier League Champions? Football coaching courses are the ideal route to learn, develop and get qualified. This article will explore the different options, costs and benefits.
How many levels are there in football coaching?
The Football Association (FA) offers 5 levels of qualification that association football coaches can complete in England. They teach all aspects of the game and allow coaches to gradually hone in on specialist areas and advance their career.
Each level requires completion of the previous stage as you work your way through the coaching pathway.
Before accessing the first level, coaches must complete the EE Playmaker by England Football course.
This is a free, online course that takes around 4.5 hours, and you don’t need any qualifications or football experience to sign up, just a laptop or smartphone. After completion, you are eligible for the first level in the FA coaching qualification pyramid.
This is the first level of qualification for a football coach. It is an online course for those looking to take a more active role in coaching football.
Minimum age: 16
Time needed: 4-week online course
- Introduction to disability football
- Safeguarding children
- Introduction to first aid in football
This more in-depth course for football coaching is for those who are more serious about their coach education and want to progress in the football industry.
This is a qualification that is accredited nationally and you must have certain certificates including first aid and safeguarding.
Football coaches wanting to obtain the UEFA C licence must be coaching a group of players who regularly train and play organised or competitive fixtures.
You must also be coaching within the county where the course is taking place, as coach developers are required to visit during the course.
Minimum age: 16
Course duration: 16-20 weeks
Cost: £500 (£360 for grassroots affiliated coaches)
- Understanding players and their game
- Helping players love and learn football through practice
- Helping players love and learn football through matchday
The third level of the pyramid builds on your knowledge of the demands of the game. It will help football coaches put together game-like practice to encourage lots of decision-making.
Coaches must be actively coaching a team in a season-long competition in England.
Minimum age: 18
Time needed: 1 season (9-12 months)
- Developing medium-term curriculum planning
- Understanding the 4-corner model and relationship with player development
- Performance analysis of individual players and units of players
- Identifying and developing coaching strengths and areas for development
This is the highest practical coaching course offered by the Football Association (FA). The course is for coaches working or aspiring to work in the professional game at senior (21+) or youth development phase (5-21) levels.
It is organised into six residential modules at The FA's national football centre, St. George's Park.
Taking place over 12 days within a one-year period, this will expand your technical and tactical skills and build on 11v11 player development.
Duration: 12 months
- Tactics and strategies
- Trends in the game
- Position-specific coaching
- In possession, out of possession and transitional phases
- England DNA principles
The UEFA Pro Licence is the highest professional game coaching course offered by the FA. The course is delivered through 9 modules over an 18-month period, combining face-to-face teaching with independent study and a minimum of six one-to-one coach development visits to support learning.
It is specifically designed to cater for those aspiring to work at the very top of the game, in leadership and management positions in the Premier League, Football League, FA Women’s Super League and on the international stage.
Duration: 18 months
- Self-reflection, decision making and problem solving
- Leadership to provide clear strategy to all football club departments
- World-leading tactical insight and long-term player development
How long does the FA Level 1 coaching course take?
The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football course has now been replaced by the Introduction to Coaching football qualification mentioned above.
The course takes 4 weeks and combines e-learning with weekly webinars and community sport. The FA Level 2 in Coaching Football course has now been replaced by the UEFA C Licence qualification.
What qualifications do I need to coach youth football?
Coaching an amateur youth team may well require no qualifications. Many youth coaches rely on a passion for the game and many years of coaching practice to guide their method.
Nevertheless, completing a basic, online course would be a useful introduction to coaching and a good starting point for those who might want to continue their coach education.
Not everyone will want to follow the standard route for their football coaching. You can check out The Boot Room, the FA’s online coaching hub, for more options.
Another option is to pursue an academic qualification through a university course, college course or apprenticeship. Possible fields include performance analysis and sports science.
Visit the National Careers Service website - 'How to Become a Football Coach' for more ideas. You might choose to combine football coaching with an element like business management.
For football coaches based in Wales, here are courses from the FAW Trust.
For those in Scotland, you can find a course here.
There are also opportunities from the Irish FA.
Whatever your experience and ambitions, there will be a course for football coaching out there to help you succeed.
What next? Jobs & Advice
Read our blog post on The ultimate guide to football coaching to give you more insight, tips and resources.
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