Get Newsletter

NorCal Coaching Education – Bringing World Class Coaches to Northern California


One simply needs to glance at the results of current international soccer to understand the importance of coaching education in the beautiful game.

Take for instance Iceland, whose population of roughly 325,000 is comparable to that of the city of Stockton.

And yet Iceland, the smallest country to ever qualify for the UEFA European Championship, knocked off the mighty England, inventors of the beautiful game, with a 2-1 knockout round victory in which the Nordic side objectively looked like the better team.

That victory, sure to go down in history as one of the world’s biggest upsets, has been partially attributed to the vast number of qualified coaches in Europe’s tiny island of volcanoes.

According to a recent VICE Sports documentary short, Iceland contains over 600 coaches with UEFA “A” or “Pro” licenses; one for about every 550 people in the country.

Comparatively, recent estimates show England having just over 1,200 coaches with top level UEFA licenses; roughly one for every 44,000 inhabitants in the country.

Educated guesses of the number of licenses in the recent dominators of world football further support this trend — defending World Cup champions Germany have roughly 7,000 high-level coaches, while Spain contains nearly 16,000 well-trained managers.

For NorCal Premier, it’s clear that offering a plethora of coaching courses will directly impact the quality of players that develop in its system.

“It comes down to the vision that NorCal has had since day one — to make the game better,” said NorCal Vice President Paolo Bonomo. “To have a better game, you need better players, and to have better players, you need better coaches. As a country… we need to really start from the foundation. Coaching education is one part [of the foundation] that is lagging behind the rest of the world.”

“We’ve looked for people from outside the country [to help our coaching education], people who have been coaching for a long time, that have big experience, and are in line with our philosophy and the way we want to see the game played,” Bonomo said. “We’ve tried to bring in those experts to educate our coaches.”

The organization continues to be on the cutting edge of development, offering free courses to eager coaches in order to improve their craft.

NorCal has chosen to invest its money in coaches by bringing over prestigious coaching courses and lecturers to instruct the arbiters of Northern California’s youth players.

In 2016 alone, NorCal has featured positional play courses from former FC Barcelona’s Youth Technical Director, basic and advanced coaching courses from ACF Fiorentina’s head of youth development, director of coaching courses from UEFA pro license instructor Gordon Young, and goalkeeper coaching courses from former Manchester United Goalkeepers’ Coach, Frans Hoek.

To further add to the innovation at NorCal, in May the organization hosted the first ever non-State associated USSF E License Course, during which 19 coaches took advantage of the opportunity to further their education.

“At NorCal, we are lucky enough to have leadership who see the value in coaching education,” said Adam Lewin, a coach at Davis Legacy. “Bringing in world-class tacticians challenges all our staff to examine the way we approach the sport, which ultimately benefits the players within NorCal.”

“We want to produce just as good of people as we do soccer players,” Lewin added. “As coaches, we know how important we are in teaching life lessons through the game. Being part of an organization that puts a lot of resources toward this cause is truly special to be a part of. I cannot name one youth soccer organization that does it to the same degree as NorCal.”

NorCal Coach Education Coordinator David Robertson said he is “excited that our coach education program has grown so much in the past year and looks forward to starting to plan more courses in the future.” Specifically, the organization is working on putting together an International Coaching Course to be held in late June or early July next year (click here for more information about the 2017 International Course). That clinic would feature roughly four days of instruction from the best coaches from around the world, all in one location.

“We are on the cutting edge because we bring in top-quality coaches from around the world,” Bonomo said. “We believe that in order to reach all areas of development of the players, which is technical, tactical, physical, and mental, that we need to have education from those top coaches or directors [in those areas of the game].”

It’s only a start, but maybe one day in the future, NorCal will have helped usher in the era in which the United States is mentioned along with the likes of countries such as Iceland for being on the forefront of coaching innovation and therefore among the world’s elite in the international game.

For an overview of all courses offered in 2016 by NorCal click here


By Evan Ream.  Follow @EvanReam