• This course runs from January 2024 to May 2024. 

  • This program is delivered part in-person, part virtual (zoom calls), and part self-paced work. 

  • This course is intended for coaches of any collegiate sport. It is not soccer-specific.

  • The 3 Core Competencies we will be teaching from are: Team Culture, Relational Skills and Self-Leadership. 

  • Payment plans are available!

    Program Description

    The Coach Credentialing Program, will support and prepare coaches to effectively:

    • Understand the components and language necessary to create and maintain healthy team culture. 
    • Understand and build relational and emotional skills to better serve and lead those around them.
    • Understand and lead themselves with curiosity and a growth mindset resulting in improved well-being and competence so that they may excel in creating a great student-athlete experience while leading their teams to high level performance on and off the field of play.

    Through their completion of this credentialing program, the participants will have a unique depth of training to be successful leaders, managers and coaches at the collegiate level. 

    At a Glance

    Number of Participants: 100 coaches
    Who Can Participate: Collegiate head coaches, associate head coaches, or assistant coaches from ALL FALL SPORTS.
    Program Time Frame: Begins November 2023 and ends in May of 2024.
    Approximate Hours/Weeks Required for Participants: 2 hours per week
    Program Content Delivery: Part in-person, part virtual (zoom calls) and part self-paced work.
    Program Research: Participants will be surveyed before the program begins, after the program and again in December of 2024.
    Program Registration Fee: The registration fee for the 2.0 of the Coach Credentialing Program is $1,500 
    Coaches/schools/organizations will be responsible for all travel costs to and from the in-person portion of the program, including hotel. While most materials will be provided online, there may be some low-cost materials coaches will need to purchase as part of the curriculum (e-books, apps).

    2022 Women’s College Cup championship coach Margueritte Aozasa shares her experience from the first cohort of the Coach Credentialing Program:

    Application, Selection, and Program Timeline

    September 21, 2023: Registration opens

    11:59 PM EST December 15, 2023: Registration closes

    November/December: Coaches contacted and provided program details

    Early January 2024: Online calls leading up to 2024 Convention

    January 8-10, 2024: Cohort in-person programming at 2024 Soccer Convention in Anaheim, CA

    January 2024 – May 2024: Self-paced and live virtual coursework

    May 2024: Cohort in-person programming at What Drives Winning Conference in Dallas, TX

    The 3 Core Competencies

    The purpose of the Coach Credentialing program is to prepare coaches to excel in their profession. In pursuit of that purpose, we focus on these three core competencies: Team Culture, Relational Skills, and Self Leadership.

    1) Team Culture

    The Team Culture core competency is designed to help coaches create a team culture that reflects their unique and authentic vision. Developing Your Team Culture is the HOW organizations will operate day to day to bring your WHY to life.

    Sample Content

    • Understanding Team Culture as a Concept
    • Introduction to the Plug Team Culture Model
    • Connecting the People in Your Program
    • Building Team Connection Through Language and Environment
    • Connecting Everyone – Developing a Safe and Inclusive Environment
    • Connecting the Team to The Purpose, Mission, and Vision
    • Establishing and Executing High Level Team Standards on and off the field of play
    • Completing the Feedback Loop
    • Understanding and Building Identity Based Habits throughout all parts of your Team’s Culture
    2) Relational Skills

    The Relational Skills core competency is designed to help coaches cultivate effective relationships with their athletes, program staff, department leadership and support staff, and finally within their university, profession, and sport at large.

    Sample Content

    • Connecting with and coaching the “Modern Athlete” 
    • Communication skills to effectively challenge and support student-athletes and staff
    • Approaching difficult conversations and working through conflict 
    • Emotional awareness and agility 
    • Recognizing and responding to mental health issues
    • Developing Leaders on your team
    • Working effectively with your staff, support staff, and administrator
    3) Self Leadership

    The Self Leadership core competency is our foundational curriculum for coaches to understand the skills needed to be a professional coach. It is based on the concept that before you can manage and lead others, you first must learn to manage and lead yourself.

    Sample Content

    • Know Thyself – Internal and external self-awareness
    • Identifying Your Values and Strengths 
    • Ethical Decision Making
    • Developing or clarifying a Coaching Mission Statement
    • Professionalism
    • Mindfulness and Emotional Control
    • Time Management & Organizational Skills
    • The Well-Integrated Life – Self Care
    • Coaching Philosophy Development
    • Legal Issues for Coaches

    Candidate Requirements

    Coaches must be:

    • Coaching in any collegiate fall sport. 
    • Willing to pay course tuition as well as travel and hotel at both in-person events.
    • Listed on their team roster as head coach, associate head coach, or assistant coach.
    • Willing to commit to and be fully engaged in the curriculum and in interacting with their classmates.
    • Willing to participate in the survey and research process.
    • Willing to attend the in-person and virtual classes and complete all self-paced coursework assignments.
    • Committed to completing all coursework assigned by speakers. 
    • Committed to developing their mastery in the art of coaching.
    • Interested in being a member of a coaching community to share ideas as well as give and receive support.
    • Willing to dedicate, on average, 2 hours a week to complete credentialing coursework and assignments.

    Longtime Texas A&M Head Women’s Soccer Coach G Guerrieri shares his experience from the first cohort of the Coach Credentialing Program:

    Program Benefits

    Expectations and outcomes candidates can expect:

    • Credential of Coaching Excellence
    • Tools, skills, practices and ideas you can implement into your program immediately.
    • Access to quality add on services for coach on-boarding, legal help and 1 on 1 coaching.
    • Letter of commendation to Athletic Directors, Presidents, and Conference Commissioners
    • Curriculum designed to provide participants with people, management, leadership, and professionalism skills necessary to be successful at the collegiate level.
    • Resume and career growth – part of a database of credentialed coaches.
    • Access to Continuing Education Courses after graduation.
    • Access to industry leaders and speaker engagements.
    • Credentialed coaches retain membership in an elite coaching community.

    Meet the Curriculum Team

    Dr. Lauren McHenry, CMPC, NCC

    Dr. Lauren McHenry, CMPC, NCC

    Sport Psychology Consultant, Coach Developer, Researcher

    Dr. Lauren McHenry is a certified mental performance consultant through the Association of Applied Sport Psychology and national certified counselor. As a former Division I and professional athlete, Lauren started her career with a passion for athlete well-being. Lauren’s doctoral research included in-depth literature reviews on the effectiveness of coach education pathways and programs as well as the development and evaluation of practical tools to help coaches improve their relationships and communication with athletes. Her research has been funded by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. 

    Lauren is the founder of McHenry Mental Performance LLC through which she consults with individual athletes, teams, coaches, and sport organizations at the college and elite levels across the country. Lauren serves on the curriculum team for the coach credentialing program and also leads ongoing research and evaluation efforts to understand program outcomes and support continued improvements.

    Celia Slater

    Celia Slater

    Athletics Strategist, Creative Coaching Visionary, and Impassioned Leader

    Pioneering, forward-thinking and solution-focused, Celia Slater is the owner and founder of True North Sports and the Coach Development Academy. She is a nationally recognized leader committed to providing personal and professional development opportunities for coaches of all sports. Celia brings nearly 35 years of unmatched experience in college athletics as both an organizational head and a collegiate basketball coach. 

    Prior to starting True North Sports she was co-founder and executive director of both the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (NCAA WCA) and The Alliance of Women Coaches (Now WeCoach).

    Celia’s core beliefs rest in the power of emotional investment in reaching one’s own “true north” to achieve the height of victory as a coach, not just in accolades, but by successfully understanding oneself, being authentic, and communicating with one’s players to have a mutually-beneficial relationship.

    Theresa Beeckman

    Theresa Beeckman

    Tree Roots Culture Consulting LLC

    Theresa “Tree” Beeckman considers herself first and foremost a student of coaching, team culture, leadership, and generational understanding. She possesses three decades of coaching and leadership experience at a variety of levels and has built a championship pedigree with success at numerous stops including Ferris State, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan Universities.  

    Since leaving the collegiate volleyball coaching ranks in 2015, she has traveled the country working with teams and coaches to improve their performance through culture, generational understanding, and leadership development. She works in partnership with the non profits True North Sports and Growing Leaders Inc. as well as her own entity, Tree Roots Culture Consulting LLC.   

    In 2020 she authored the book, Managing Your Culture. She was a collegiate athlete herself having lettered in softball for four years at Division II Saginaw Valley State University where she earned her B.A. in Psychology. 

    The Importance of Coaching Skill Development

    We understand how important the X’s and O’s are to becoming a competent coach. We have to know how to teach the skills of our sport, organize a practice and strategize for competition and make adjustments during a competition. 

    Head coaches must make difficult decisions that impact their athletes in different ways. They are required to demonstrate that they care about each athlete while challenging them to meet high expectations for success. Very few, if any, coaches get fired because they do not know the processes or X’s and O’s of their sport. Coaches are failing student-athletes and getting fired because they do not handle themselves professionally OR or they are not self aware enough to understand how their actions are impacting their athletes.In other words, it’s the lack of self-knowledge and people skills that typically get coaches in trouble; it’s not their lack of knowledge of their sport. Yet most coaching associations spend the majority of their time teaching the X’s and O’s and coaches spend the majority of their professional development money on learning them. 

    Coaching is a people’s profession. It’s hard and maybe even impossible, to have a long, fulfilling and successful coaching career without working on developing both ourselves as people as well developing the people, management and leadership skill sets needed.

    “The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics is pleased to invest in United Soccer Coaches’ efforts to launch a comprehensive collegiate coach credentialing program. We have long championed the need for a credential that recognizes the important role of coaches as educators. We are pleased to fund scholarships for racial minorities and women to participate in this groundbreaking opportunity.”

    Challenges Facing College Coaches Today

    Lack of Training and Development

    There is no formal coach’s training program in the United States. Coaches enter the profession in a variety of ways and are responsible for training themselves — regardless of their salary range, level they coach or access to resources. Initial training should be required followed by continuing education as an individual moves through their career. All the support staff around an athlete (nutritionist, strength & conditioning, sport psychologist, mental health providers) has to be certified but the coach does not. 

    While this credentialing model will be a shift in mindset and culture for the coaches, in the end, it will help them feel more empowered and prepared for the rigors of managing and leading a team at the collegiate level.

    The Ever Changing Collegiate Landscape

    Supporting and training coaches as the landscape continues to shift and change has never been more important. Understanding how to connect and lead the “modern athlete”, the rise in mental health issues, adjusting to a new understanding of diversity and inclusion and the correct language to use in this space, NIL, Black Lives Matter, the transfer portal etc. Preparing coaches to lead from a person and relationship-centered approach is at the heart of the credentialing program.

    The Coach Feedback Gap

    Where does a coach find a safe space to get credible, constructive, non-punitive feedback to improve each year? Many athletics administrators have not coached at the level they are supervising and do not have the time nor the experience to truly observe a coach and give them an evaluation designed to help them improve and grow. So how DO coaches get feedback? Mostly through senior student-athlete exit interviews, their win-loss record, graduation rates and how happy their athletes seem to be in their program.

    Quality feedback is a core element for a long and fulfilling coaching career. Our credentialing program will include teaching coaches the value of quality feedback, how and when to seek it and the value it can bring to their relationships and their personal and professional growth.

    Lack of Support and Advocacy

    In the current modern era of athletics, the athletes have a stronger voice which shines an even brighter light on the need for coaches to have an advocate in their athletic department and within their sport associations.The voice of the coach has been seemingly lost in recent years at both the national level and within their individual athletic departments. One of the main goals of this credentialing program is to be proactive in our training and support of coaches and less reactive which is not productive for anyone.

    Lack of a Coaching Pipeline

    How does someone become a coach on the college level?
    The answer should be an easy one but it is not. People find their way or stumble into coaching in a variety of ways and this can be confusing for the young people we are hoping to attract into the profession. We view the credentialing program as a viable path or pipeline for coaches interested in working at the NCAA level. Graduates of the program will be included in a database of coaches making United Soccer Coaches a reliable source for athletic administrators who may be looking for quality candidates to recruit to their open coaching positions. It also provides a way for the coaches involved in the program to network for jobs within the coaching community.

    Challenges Facing Athletic Administrators Today

    No Formal Onboarding

    Talented athletics administrators are assigned sport supervision and do not commonly receive a formal onboarding or education on how to adequately supervise a head coach and their program. While this project is dedicated to credentialing coaches it may be worthwhile to also consider how we need to train and develop all levels of leadership within the collegiate model.

    During COVID and the financial stress it created, we saw a decrease in operating budgets for head coaches and their assistants to attend professional development programs.

    Gaps in Leadership

    Gaps in leadership between Athletic Directors and sport reports/SWA in Division I, only engage when issues arise.

    Lack of Coaching Experience

    Fewer and fewer administrators have been head coaches which can make it harder for them to understand the challenges of being a coach. 

    Additionally, once a coach is hired, due to their own heavy workload, athletic administrators have little time to mentor and develop the coaches on their staff.

    Hiring Qualified Candidates

    Hiring is one of the most important responsibilities of an administrator. The credentialing process provides an important factor for consideration when hiring the best and the brightest coaches.

    Inside and Outside Pressures

    With the athletes having a stronger voice in the collegiate model, athletic administrators find themselves in the middle of conflicts between the athletes and the coach which may pressure the athletic administrators to fire the coach to keep the peace and avoid the public relations fall out or they launch an investigation into the program which can be extremely hard on the coach and the future of the program.

    End of Season Audit Resource