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C License

C License

The National "C" License course is designed to introduce concepts that are targeted toward coaching players ages 11 – 16. The course focus is on getting coaches to think about, discuss, and recognize the recurring concepts or themes that exist in soccer. Candidates will be challenged to find ways to offer constructive guidance to players while also allowing players to experience the game for themselves.

A primary emphasis in the National "C" License course is the close relationship between technique and tactics. In this course, technique and tactics will be addressed together. In practice field sessions and the final field exam, the candidate is required to address the impact that technique has on tactics.

Three (3) General Goals of the National "C" License Course:

  1. To prepare coaches to better recognize problems and solutions as they occur in the run of play and to communicate this information to their players,
  2. To create rich soccer environments that allow players to grow, and
  3. To provide a foundation for any coach wishing to pursue higher levels within U.S. Soccer’s Coaching Education Program.

The National "C" License course will also provide a foundation in the following areas: tactics, technique, methods of coaching and issues in youth player development, some of which have been introduced in the "D" License course, and will be expanded upon in the National "B" and National "A" License courses. These include but are not limited to the following objectives:

  • Observe and identify the technical and tactical demands of the game.
  • Focus on the application of technique and small group tactics in games up to 7v7 to big goals.
  • Organize, develop and implement appropriate training sessions to correct and reinforce the demands of the game.
  • Recognize soccer problems and offer appropriate technical and tactical guidance to the players.
  • Develop a better understanding of the responsibilities of coaching.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have held the National "D" License for a minimum of 12 months (attach a copy to application).

National "D" License certification may be waived ONLY under one of the following conditions:
Applicant received the NSCAA National Diploma and has held it for a minimum of 12 months.
Applicant has three (3) years of coaching experience (any level) AND three (3) years playing experience with a Senior National Team or three (3) years of FIFA recognized professional playing experience.
A foreign license of equivalence; to be reviewed by the U.S. Soccer Coaching Department.


  • The National "C" License course is a nine-day program and the physical and mental demands of the course are great. Candidates are encouraged to participate in the sessions in order to maximize learning. Therefore, attention should be given by each candidate to arrive at the course in good physical condition.
  • Each National "C" License candidate is responsible for completing a pre-course assignment. The purpose of this exercise is to better prepare the candidate for what is expected of them at the course. The assignment will not be used to determine the final grade, but is part of the course requirements.
  • Pre-course reading material is expected to be completed prior to arrival to the course. U.S. Soccer’s Best Practices for Coaching in the United States manual is available online and candidates should become comfortable with the information.

Pre-Course Assignments: (will be mailed out before the course)

  • Pre-Course Assignment
  • Methods of Coaching
  • The 4v4 to 11v11 Progression
  • Candidate Guidelines for Evaluating Soccer
  • Training Session Form
  • Lesson Plan Form

During the Course:

  • The National "C" License course consists of approximately 25 classroom hours and 45 field sessions hours.
  • Classroom sessions involve active candidate participation and use game and training videos as a learning tool.
  • U.S. National Instructional Staff conduct realistic training sessions throughout the course using methodology recognized and used by U.S. Soccer.
  • Candidates are given opportunities to run two training sessions which progress from a warm-up to a 7v7 model. Feedback is provided from U.S. National Instructional Staff.
  • Candidates will learn how to properly step in at the right time to make coaching points during training sessions and in 7v7 game situations.
  • Candidates are expected to be able to teach technique and how it is applied in a game environment. They should also have small group tactical ideas learned in the U.S. Soccer "D" License course.
  • Candidates are responsible for reading the FIFA Laws of the Game Booklet and completing the corresponding written examination.
  • Oral exam questions will be given at the beginning of the course. Each coach will give a 3 – 5 minute oral presentation to the group at the end of the week.

Candidates are encouraged to be an ambassador for the game, to treat the game, and those involved with the game with respect and dignity.
Recommendations Prior to Attending:

  • Candidate has experience coaching 11 – 16 year old players.
  • Candidates run training sessions prior to the course. It is highly recommended that candidates have their training session(s) evaluated by the club technical director with feedback provided.
  • Become familiar with U.S. Soccer’s Best Practices for Coaching in the United States.
  • Candidates become comfortable with U.S. Soccer’s The Progression from 4v4 to 11v11 document.


The curriculum for the National "C" course is based upon modern methods of coaching soccer and provides candidates with an understanding of the methodology used in all national coaching courses offered by U.S. Soccer. The curriculum is divided into Theory and Practical areas of coaching.

  • Reading the Game
  • Methods of Coaching
  • Model Training Session
  • Tactics
  • Player Development
  • Applied Psychology
  • Team Management
  • Care & Prevention
  • Laws of the Game


  • Warm Up & Cool Down
  • Possession & Penetration
  • Defending
  • Combination Play
  • Finishing
  • Goalkeeper
  • Defending vs. Wide Play
  • Creating Width in the Attack
  • Instructor Session
  • 9v9 Attacking and Defending

Candidates undergo a challenging series of written, oral and practical examinations on a variety of subjects in the National "C" License course.

  • Field Examination
  • Team Management Examination
  • Care & Prevention Examination
  • Oral Examination
  • FIFA Laws of the Game Examination

The National "C" License is a non-expiring license. As of January 2006, "C" License candidates are graded either "Pass" or "Not Ready" for all components of the course. In order to be awarded the National "C" License, the candidate must receive a grade of "Pass" in all theoretical and field testing areas. Candidates are not graded upon playing ability, but are required to fully participate.

If a candidate receives a "Not Ready" in only one theoretical subject (written or oral) they qualify for an immediate, on-site retest on that subject. However, if a candidate scores "Not Ready" in any of the following three areas, the candidate must then wait a minimum of six months before they are eligible to re-take the field examination at a regional re-test site.
1. Both oral examinations,
2. One or more practical field examination(s),
3. Two or more written subjects.

*Retest guidelines apply only to "C" License candidates starting January 2006. Candidates prior to January 2006 must retake the National "C" License course and are not eligible to retest.

If an applicant misses any of the course sessions, they must return to a future school to participate in that session/lecture, even if the candidate has passed all of the testing areas. License will be withheld until this requirement is fulfilled.

Waiting Period: Upon successful completion of the National "C" License course; there is a mandatory waiting period of one (1) year before a coach is eligible to enroll in the National "B" License course.