What is the UEFA C Licence?

Grassroots football coaches up and down the country saw their pathway put on hold due to the pandemic, which not only paused games and training but FA coaching badges as well.

To be able to coach a team, you must hold the FA Level One coaching certificate alongside valid first aid and safeguarding certifications as a minimum. For many, this is as far as they ever intend to go – likely as they are parents that have stepped up to coach their child’s team. For many, the coaching bug grabs hold of them and they have the passion and desire to further their coaching knowledge and experience by achieving higher certificates.

Before the pandemic, the next accreditation after Level One was the FA Level 2 coaching course, which was a more in-depth course made up of three modules – How We Coach, The Future Player/How We Support and How We Play. Whereas Level One consisted of seven workshops (not including safeguarding and first aid, required to make the certificate valid), the FA Level 2 was made up of 20 workshops.

Additionally, unlike Level 1, it was a pre-requisite to be actively involved in coaching a team or group of players. This is because, as part of the course, FA assessors would come out to watch you deliver a session.

How the Pandemic Changed FA Coaching Badges

As the early stages paused football completely, eventually leading to the curtailment of the season, the FA were unable to carry out Level 1 and Level 2 coaching courses, vital to bringing in new coaches and ensuring that volunteers have the tools they need. To combat this, a new – completely virtual – course was introduced for new coaches, entitled the Introduction to Coaching Football.

First aid and safeguarding courses were also made available online, meaning that new coaches could earn their qualifications without attending a face-to-face workshop. The Introduction to Coaching Football qualification is to remain, allowing new coaches to learn at their own pace.

The Level 2 has been discontinued and replaced with the new UEFA C Licence, which encompasses a blend of virtual and face-to-face workshops. The UEFA C Licence in England is beginning to be rolled out in early 2022, while other nations (such as Scotland) began offering the course in 2021.

UEFA C Licence

The UEFA C Licence course is expected to take between 16 and 20 weeks to complete, as per the FA’s website, and includes six face-to-face delivery days split into three modules (each of which lasts for two days). These modules are:

  • Understanding Players and Their Game
  • Helping Players Love and Learn Football Through Practise
  • Helping Players Love and Learn Football Through Matchday

Like the Level 2 course, a coach developer will come out to you and assess a session delivered by you with your own players (meaning that you must be involved with either a team or group before signing up for the course). The assessor will offer individual support and feedback based on your session.

In between course days, your coach developer will support you with virtual one-to-one progress review sessions. Whereas Level 1 and Level 2 was based predominantly in a group environment, as much of the UEFA C Licence is, this allows for learners to reflect on their learning with the coach developer and identify key areas of development to work on not only during the course but beyond it.

Beyond the UEFA C Licence

At the time of writing, there has been no chance to the coaching pathway beyond the UEFA C Licence from what it was before the pandemic. The coaching ladder is made up of five levels, which are:

  • Level 1 – Introduction to Coaching Football
  • Level 2 – UEFA C Licence
  • Level 3 – UEFA B Licence (sometimes referred to as the FA Level 3)
  • Level 4 – UEFA A Licence
  • Level 5 – UEFA Pro Licence

The next stage of the pathway beyond the UEFA C Licence, the UEFA B Licence, is a far more in-depth course that coaches must apply to enrol on. Spaces are limited because the course is designed for coaches with an interest and aspirations further than simply volunteering to take their son or daughter’s grassroots team.

The UEFA B Licence is delivered over the length of a season and is made up of 18 face-to-face workshops. Coaches enrolled on the course are likely to require the backing of their clubs, who may ask for written confirmation of commitment to the course and club (i.e. so as you do not leave before or as soon as you gain the qualification without the club benefitting and/or being left out of pocket).

Why Should Grassroots Coaches Enrol on the UEFA C Licence?

The vast majority of grassroots coaches have no desire or aspirations to advance any further than taking their junior sides, and that is fine. Many coaches raise their hand so that their son or daughter can play, even if they have limited knowledge and/or passion for the game itself – after all, it’s what parents do.

FA coaching badges offer far more than simply being able to state that you hold a certain level of certification. They provide coaches with knowledge and the tools to deliver better sessions making for an all-around better experience for their players – both on and off the pitch. Much of the courses focus on seeing the player as a human being, ensuring that coaches are able to offer the support that players need to aid their football, physical, mental and social development.

As the new Introduction to Coaching Football is an exclusively online course, the UEFA C Licence may well present the first opportunity for many new coaches to sit in a room with other like-minded people. This allows for coaches to exchange experiences and ideas, learning from one another – in many cases, this is where the real learning happens. As good and convenient as an online course may be, face-to-face practical workshops allow coaches to truly reflect on how they can improve their understanding of what it means to be a coach, their delivery and players’ experience.

Coaching is about more than just picking a team and winning trophies, it’s about the overall experience. The greatest success for any coach is not the number of games you win, it is if an ex-player stops and chats to you in the shops in 20 years time.

Visit our online shop