So you want to be a football coach. Just how easy is it?

By Chris Jessop

The other day, I, like most football fans, was toying with the idea of doing some football coaching. I mean, a player of my calibre will surely be able to offer a pool of knowledge, wisdom and motivation to children all over the country……..ok maybe not, but getting paid to attempt to teach people how to play football would be pretty cool. And then I realised I had no idea where to start, I mean, I know you have to do various levels of coaching badges, but how easy is it to do that? Or even find information about it? I thought the obvious place to start would be The Football Association, better known as The FA.

On the FA website ( there is a section called ‘Get into football’ and in there you will find a coaching section. There are various sections, including a page full of update’s on how The FA’s coaching schemes are working wonders, but on the subject of becoming a coach, it gives you a list of local FA’s and says to contact them. The Football Association runs courses for aspiring coaches at all levels, the first two of which are offered by County FA’s. So I selected my county, Northampton ( and searched their site and under the development page there is a coaching section that shows all available courses from The FA Youth Awards up to the Level 3 badge.

So what is a Level 1 badge? This is the UK’s most popular coaching course for all coaches with little experience or knowledge. The course provides an introduction to the organisation and trains you to be able to deliver safe and enjoyable coaching sessions. The course provides practical drills that aim to develop players’ technical skills such as shooting, turning with the ball and heading. This course is for all intents and purposes an introduction to basic coaching, and is ideally suited to those who want to work with young players and or/teams at a local or amateur level. The price for the course is stated as £110 and is a one day course.

So you have your Level 1 badge, what’s next? As this is only the beginning, the type of jobs you can hope for are limited to local teams, after school classes and basic community projects with local clubs. Gaining more work experience as a coach is essential if you want to progress to the next level and although the website at is really handy and lists various football coaching jobs, the majority want a minimum of Level 2 coaching badges!

Once you have completed your Level 1 or you’re a coach with a few seasons experience, you may want to start your training for Level 2, as it is still an open entry course you can apply through The FA. Although it is recommended that those taking part without a Level 1 qualification do have relevant coaching experience. The course aims to develop an appreciation of the ethical coaching process and on completion you should be able to plan, conduct and evaluate a series of football coaching sessions. As a coach you will be able to ensure the health and safety of players and those involved and be able to develop greater responsibility for their own learning and development. All of this should be done whilst promoting the sport in a positive and constructive manner. There is no price stated on the website and it takes around 6 months to complete.

So what is available to you with a Level 2 coaching badge? This qualification should lead you into careers along the lines of amateur teams, community roles for football clubs etc and for soccer schools. 

On the county site, it said there were currently being changes made to the Level 3 and didn’t offer any information, so I had to search for information and found it via the 1st4sport qualification site ( to find out more about it.

Now those courses are pretty straight forward, so the next step is the Level 3, also known as the UEFA ‘B’ Licence. You will need your Level 2 badge and you should also have to complete an Accident and Emergency Course and a Child Protection Course before being able to start your Level 3. Firstly, you will need access to a team that you can coach, and you will be encouraged to discuss the suitability of the team with a coach educator prior to signing up for the course. You will be able to plan and develop your own football coaching programmes, as well as how to manage, implement and conduct those football programmes.

As a coach, you will also learn how to effectively evaluate your activities and develop a plan for your further development as a coach. This qualification will not only form part of a credible CV for employment in the game, but as a UEFA accredited qualification, it will allow you access to a variety of opportunities within the professional game. You can also become a member of FACA (Football Association, Coaches Association, )     which provides advice and support for top coaches. The price will vary to where you do the qualification, and it takes around 9-12 to complete. Other Coaching Associations include;  The Association of Football Coaches, The Professional Football Coaches Association (PFCA)

Now you’re a top qualified coach, what can you do? Experienced professionals can be fast tracked to Level 3, so you should be in good company. In the professional game, coaches are expected to have at least the UEFA ‘B’ Licence, so if you have gained this qualification you should be looking at coaching at a fairly high standard.

Finally, if you have been coaching for a number of years and want to progress into top level coaching and even management then you will need to apply for your UEFA ‘A’ Licence. The best comparison for the ‘A’ licence is that it is the equivalent to getting a degree. Having this qualification makes you very employable to almost any coaching role available. It takes two years to complete and can only be done if you are working with or for a national FA. The course is centred around two parts, which are split into two-week sessions that are based at Lilleshall Football Academy (National Centre) with various other sessions, including distance learning and support sessions. This licence operates a pass or fail basis and it is now mandatory that all league managers hold a ‘UEFA ‘A’ Licence.

The UEFA Pro Licence is the final and highest coaching qualification available, and follows the completion of the UEFA ‘B’ and ‘A’ Licences.

A UEFA Pro Licence is required by anyone who wishes to manage a football club in the top level of the nation’s league system on a permanent basis (i.e. more than 12 weeks – the amount of time an unqualified caretaker manager is allowed to take control). This applies to both the head coach or team manager, and such a licence is also required to manage in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Cup.

Each current manager of a top-flight team in Europe was set a deadline of 2010 to acquire the licence, or else face losing his post

I think it is definitely worth going on as many training courses as you can to become as qualified as a coach as possible and seemingly, the FA Level 1,2,3 coaching badges are adequate for you to have a decent go at become a coach. Those that dedicate their career to coaching will be advised to go further and do the ‘A’ Licence. Because, the better you get, and the more experience you gain from these coaching courses, the more likely you are to be spotted as a coach with talent. Another key piece of advice would be to keep up-to-date with current goings on in the world of football (I’m sure I don’t need to tell many football coaches this!) because it is a common ground with a lot of young children who will watch matches, so you will always be informed and who knows, you might see something that can lead to you becoming the next Sir Alex Ferguson!

You can also keep up to date with any new jobs in football by signing up for the job alerts by email, a FREE service from website As new jobs are posted to the website you get sent an email letting you know there are new jobs for you to look at.

So overall, I found the process of trying to find what coaching badges are available and where to do them, what they consist of, price etc, all very confusing. When it came down to it, you can access most of the information from The FA website, via a number of other different channels, which can prove very arduous. The information is out there and going on any search engine will take you to thousands of coaching sites, it would just be a lot easier if all the information about coaching courses and all existing jobs were available on one site.

About the Author: Chris Jessup is a Sport, Media and Culture Graduate looking for a job in media or Pr in football or sport in general. Find out m ore about him at

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Daniel McLaren
Daniel McLaren 633 posts

Dan launched Digital Sport back in 2010 as one of the first social media & sport blogs and is Founder & Managing Director of social video agency CASTdigital. Connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter (@danielmclaren)

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  1. james
    September 10, 20:23 Reply
    can some one point me in the right direction to starting a kids team under 7 .what do u need ? insurance wise . coaching badges< first aid ,child protection checks ??? any one with useful info please share with me ,regards jamie
  2. Peter Donaldson
    August 22, 22:02 Reply
    Hi all, I noticed there are quite a lot of comments and questions from overseas coaches about getting their coaching qualifications. I was trying to find out some information about Level 1 and came across a site that had some details about the issues faced by overseas coaches, the page is at <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> if it helps anyone. The main problems are obviously visas but there are also some issues about long gaps between training days and assessment days and the need to be re assessed to keep your qualifications up to date. Seems like a lot of planning is needed for those of us like me who are UK nationals but living outside of the UK or overseas coaches.
  3. elijah
    August 22, 15:34 Reply
    am elijah by name from nigeria,i am a football coach here and have some good players for tryer please if interested call me on money lets talk well on it thanks hope to here from you mobile is +2347035429638 thanks bye.
    July 19, 15:36 Reply
  5. Omar
    June 15, 07:50 Reply
    Would u make decent kinda money with Level 1,2? And what if u did level how much can u earn a week or month ? Thanks
  6. site
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  7. khechini
    April 29, 18:30 Reply
    i,ve done loads of these courses level1,2,3 plus youth development courses as well as i have a semi pro playing experience!! it's sad to tell you guys that if you want to coach at a pro level in england your chances are very limited due to too many factors including race issues. but if you want to do it in an amature / grassroots local football then it's worth maybe doing your level 1/2. hope this helps:)
    • Omar
      June 15, 07:52 Reply
      Hi mate Would u make decent kinda money with Level 1,2? And what if u did level how much can u earn a week or month ? Thanks
  8. salihou oumarou
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  9. Anonymous
    March 31, 08:36 Reply
    Good info but the only problem I can see with the report is that it's states after uefa B you can do your uefa A, I've been told numerous times that it's only possible to do the uefa A if at some point in your life you have played football at a professional level, so don't go believing that you can just apply for the uefa A with out any proper professional experience
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  17. Jorge
    November 01, 17:40 Reply
    Hi, this was some pretty good information. I'm from the USA and I would like to go to England to take this classes. I really enjoy football and I'm looking forward to becoming a coach. My question is, where can I start? Is it best to take some classes here in the USA and then go to England to take higher classes? Because we all know that USA isn't much good at football.
  18. lee
    October 04, 22:55 Reply
    great info to a 40yr old first timer trying to teach his 10yr old autistic son who is obsest with football at all levels, thanks...
  19. Raktim Sharma
    September 01, 02:43 Reply
    Do you have to be a European or British national to get these licences?
  20. Dan Bolas
    June 08, 00:37 Reply
    Finally, in reply to Mike's Comment. It is possible to obtain a UEFA B award without a position at a club. It will cost in the region of £1500 to £1800 (it does vary alot) and the biggest problem you will have is practising your coaching sessions and completing your log book. If you don't have a group of 16 - 20 players at your disposal on a weekly basis, the B License sessions become very tricky, and this is ten fold for the A License. In both cases, your final assesments are practical, and will have required practising the format several times prior to the day (not on the exact topic). The fail rate for the B license is high, and therefore unless you have the club, it is a big expense to have to redo again and again. I hope that has helped anyone interested in the topic. I am more than happy to discuss anything with anyone interested. I also run a website designed to support coaches, players and managers using Apple devices called <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>. Feel free to check it out. Dan Bolas
  21. Dan Bolas
    June 08, 00:37 Reply
    3. Money. Becoming a coach for the money is totally the wrong way of looking at the proffesion. I now make a decent living from the role, but this involves working evenings and weekends, and in some cases being away from my family. I wouldn't be able to do this if i didnt love what I do. Whether its working with a semi pro team on a Wet Tuesday Night, or teaching under 6's the basic turning skills, the passion for the game is what will bring you the most reward. 4. Watch The Game. Whether its a non league game over your local park, or the Champions League on TV, watching as much football as you can will help you greatly. Live matches are the best, as you get to see everything, and being there in person is much more involved (no commentary or camera cut aways). A coach I know went on a trip to Germany, and ate with a collegue every night and morning. At each meal, the collegue would grab his meal, sit at the quietest table and pull out his laptop. He would access a site and watch any match that was on, be is Australian A League, Columbian football or Blue Square Premier. Thats the commitment people have for the game.
  22. Dan Bolas
    June 08, 00:35 Reply
    Hi All I work in Football, and this article offers some great insight into what it is like to get your foot in the door. It is an issue I am very passionate about, and hopefully some young coaches will read this and take heart. A couple of quick exceptions to the above article are 1. The FA Level One Course is actually more than a one day course. There are two training days (where you learn a variety of small games and activities) and then a final assesment day where you are expected to coach a group of your peers from the course. The course also includes your FA Emergency Aid Course and FA Safeguarding Children course, which are both mandatory to get involved with a club, and cost £15 if done seperately. These usually take place during the week of your Level One course. 2. Work Experience. The best angle is to get involved with a junior football team. From my experience, they are always looking for assistants to help out, and younger coaches will benefit from learning some tricks of the trade, and eventually be able to take over the helm at a younger age group.
  23. Mike
    December 10, 14:06 Reply
    Hello thanks for the info, however you were a little vague on the prices. would you happen to know if it is possible to attain a uefa b or a licence without a position at a club if you were able to afford the course for instance? or is it a necessity to have a role in a team alongside studying? I'm a graduate without a job so would like a new challenge and as i love football it seems logical.

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