When to do it, what parts of the foot to use and how underloads aid attackers' dribbling development. Moritz Kossmann shares his expertise on moving with the ball...
Receiving is such a vital skill in soccer.
A good first touch can beat a player in an instant, get a team out of trouble or create a chance on goal.
But how can we support players to improve their receiving?
Moritz Kossmann is a coach at Ubuntu Football Academy in Cape Town. There, he coaches the U21s, who play in the third tier of South African football, and oversees the senior section, made up of U18s and U16s.
Moritz lent SCW his expertise on receiving – what it is, what good receiving looks like and how we can coach it…
As a player, Joanna Boyles Fennema performed at the highest level.
She spent her four college years with the North Carolina Tar Heels, represented the U17 US national team and played for the Orlando Pride in the NWSL.
Alongside success, Fennema’s playing days came with a lot of challenges – she was drafted by the Boston Breakers just before the team folded, suffered two ACL injuries while at college, discovered she has severely degenerative discs in her back.
This back injury, and subsequent hip labrum tears, led Fennema to retire at 24.
A chance encounter led her back into the game, and she is now thriving as an assistant coach at Columbus State University (CSU).
SCW caught up with Jo to talk about the transition from player to coach, and how coaches can best support players going through injuries...
Mark Jenkins is the U15s lead coach at Weston-super-Mare AFC, a semi-professional club based on the southwest coast of England.
Having been ready to keep working with his current crop of players for a few years, Mark was told that he would be given a new group for the 2023-24 season.
It spurred him to start early with his season planning, and give him the best chance of getting the most out of his players.
SCW caught up with the Uefa B-qualified coach to find out more about how he is going about preparing for next season...
Sarah Brady had aspirations of making it as a player.
She went through Everton’s academy before playing for her beloved Liverpool for a brief time, and then moving to Leeds United for a short spell.
When, she says, her "body didn’t really want to comply with the ambition", she took a step into coaching. It led her to the USA 14 years ago, where she has “done everything, from tying the shoelaces of three-year-olds all the way up to the collegiate game”.
Last season, she was head coach of AC Connecticut in the inaugural USL W League, a pre-professional women’s league. Now, she is the USL academy director for the women’s pathway.
SCW caught up with Sarah to find out more about the USL Academy structure, the Academy Cup, and what challenges coaches face working in the set up…
Matt Spear has had numerous different lives in soccer – as a player at NCAA Division I program Davidson College, a sports marketer, returning to his alma mater as a full-time coach for 18 years, and president and general manager for the third-tier US pro side Richmond Kickers.
During his time at the Kickers, a number of things collided, resulting in Matt experiencing what he calls a "dark depression" as the result of burnout.
It is what led him to his current role – a life coach and wellbeing advisor. He works with a number of clients, including the United Soccer Coaches' national office staff and various athletes and coaches.
SCW caught up with Matt at the United Soccer Coaches convention to chat about why coaches are so susceptible to burnout, what some of the signs might be, and how open coaches should be about their mental health in front of their players…
Katie Smith, based in Memphis, Tennessee, started coaching straight out of high school, alongside playing at community college.
Now, in a situation that might sound familiar to a lot of coaches trying to make their way, Katie juggles numerous roles.
She coaches at Collierville High School and Collierville Middle School, has two youth teams at Lobos Rush, is a volunteer assistant at Northwest Mississippi Community College and also works with USL 2 club Tri-Cities FC. Katie is also a full-time student and, this semester, a student teacher.
SCW caught up with Katie at the United Soccer Coaches convention in January to talk about what is similar and different across her roles, her person-over-player philosophy, and some of the challenges she has faced…
Kyle Martyn is senior girls’ academy director for the Ukrainian Nationals Soccer Club in Pennsylvania, the place where he grew up. Martyn played high school and college soccer in the state before going professional for a few years.
Now, as a coach, he gets to give back to the game he says was such an integral part of his childhood.
SCW caught up with Kyle at the United Soccer Coaches convention - coincidentally held in Pennsylvania, back in January - to talk about the importance of soccer for kids, how he creates a safe space at his club, and what it’s like coaching in your home state…
James Wagenschutz is an applied sports scientist and sports performance coach who has been in soccer for almost 25 years.
He holds a USSF A license and has used it to coach in the college game, including notable stints as assistant men’s soccer coach at Colorado College and Regis University, and his daughter’s U5s team.
He is now a coach educator for United Soccer Coaches and the USSF, and runs his own consultancy, W Sports Performance, working with MLS players and Olympians.
SCW talked to James at the United Soccer Coaches’ convention about how players and coaches learn and develop…
Dr Haroot Hakopian got into coaching by accident when he suffered a significant knee injury - tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL - and requiring four different operations.
A move into coaching followed, alongside entering education. Thirty years later, he is still involved in, and loving, both worlds.
Dr Hakopian celebrated 20 years as an AP English teacher and girls’ soccer coach at Winston Churchill High School in Maryland last year. He also holds numerous other roles, including sitting on the United Soccer Coaches’ board of directors.
SCW caught up with him to talk about culture, climate, and the importance of telling your players when you’ve messed up…
A love for the work of his college coaches was what led Jeremy Tosaya to go into the profession himself.
Jeremy coached the college game for 18 years, including a notable seven-year stint with Dakota Wesleyan University, before moving on to coach in club soccer.
Since Covid, Jeremy’s full-time job is outside of coaching, but he continues in a part-time role as director of coaching for Nebraska State Soccer, and has just taken on a high-school coaching job.
SCW caught up with Jeremy to explore what a good coaching environment looks like, the delivery of coaching points, and how the attention span of players is likely a lot shorter than you think…
In her senior year at Shawnee Mission West High School Kansas, Sarah Gonzalez wrote in her yearbook that, in five years’ time, she would be back at the school, teaching math and coaching soccer.
Well, after playing soccer at the University of Kansas and then taking on a junior varsity role, Gonzalez has made her dream come true.
She is now 18 years into her time at Shawnee as both a math teacher and head coach of the girls’ soccer team.
At the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia last month, SCW caught up with Sarah to find out more about what it is like coaching at your alma mater, why mentorship is so important to her, and the struggles she has faced over the course of her coaching career...
Tom Shields is the technical director, boys’ ECNL director and USL2 head coach at STA Soccer in Randolph, New Jersey.
Tom was formerly coach of Hull City Ladies and the University of Hull, in his native England. He was also an assistant and NCAA Division I title-winning coach at Central Connecticut State University, and director of player performance and pedagogy at Rutgers University. He also holds a masters degree in sports psychology.
SCW caught up with Tom at the United Soccer Coaches Convention, where he spoke about his progressive, holistic, player-centred coaching approach…
The first team Kai Edwards ever coached was a group of under-12s that included two players who would go on to be US World Cup stars: Kristen Press and Whitney Engen.
He is currently head coach at the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, leading the team to its most successful ever season in 2022.
In between those coaching gigs, Edwards, in his own words, "worked, competed, failed, got dropped out, and came back in".
When he joined us on podcast row at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia last week, Edwards explored his journey in more depth, talking about how he manages his ego, why he is no longer a "transactional" coach and how important it is to be human…
Steph Fairbairn joined her first soccer team as an eight-year-old, back in 2001.
Then, the women's game in England trailed behind in participation and attendances - so much so that, in 2006, Steph was part of a double-figure crowd for a top-flight game, chatting in the bar with England players Jill Scott, Fara Williams and Rachel Unitt.
The current landscape is very different. WSL crowds are In the thousands and the
current Lionesses get mobbed wherever they go, thanks to their victory in the Women's Euros last July. Steph was there to see it - along with 87,000 others.
Now, she joins our team on a full-time basis as editor-in-chief, having been our podcast host and a regular contributor.
It is therefore the perfect time to turn the tables - and allow her to discuss her coaching philosophy, learning from others and 'holding the space' for discussions
around young players' mental health…
Wesley Gullin started coaching in the early 2000s, in his hometown of Watford, just north of London.
In 2013, a job with Yeovil Town Ladies took him to the south-west of England. Wesley has since immersed himself in girls and women’s football in the region – coaching at Yeovil, founding Sherborne Town Ladies, and working at both Somerset and Dorset Advanced Coaching Centres (ACCs).
Now called Emerging Talent Centres (ETCs), they are run by the Football Association (FA) with the aim of furthering the development of female players.
SCW caught up with Wesley to find out more about the ETCs, what coaching in one looks like and who he is as a coach...
As a semi-professional player, John Allpress says he wasn’t very good because, rather than having a "footballer’s mentality", he has a "game-based mentality".
It was this mentality that led to him becoming a physical education teacher - initially shocked that people were "paying him money to play games" - before coaching at top-level English academies, such as Ipswich Town and Tottenham Hotspur, and two spells with the Football Association.
During his second stint at the FA, John’s focus was on developing an understanding of how children learn, in order to better coach education and, ultimately, the player’s experience.
Here, John shares with us his insights into how kids learn, and explains why leadership is far more important for coaches to possess than tactical or technical knowledge…
Justin Walley’s soccer journey has, he says, been "very chaotic and very unintentional".
From being player-manager of his university team at the age of 18, to working at Euro 96 as assistant director for one of the host cities, Nottingham; and from founding and coaching Riga United in Latvia, to managing the team representing Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, Justin’s journey has been beyond what he could have ever envisaged. And he’s done it all with an FA Level 2 qualification.
SCW caught up with Justin to learn more about his journey, how he went about building a club from scratch, and his advice for other coaches…
Michael Wright has coached within the youth ranks at Premier League club Southampton for the past decade.
Now working with the under-nines to under-11s in the academy, he has previously held roles with various other age-group teams and in the recruitment department.
His coaching journey began aged 17, and ramped up when he was released as a player, when he had been, by his own admission, "more of a team player than an individual".
Coaching has taught him the importance of individual play, and he has become fascinated with the idea of 1v1 dominance.
SCW caught up with Michael to find out what the term means, what it looks like in an attacking and defensive sense, and how we can coach it…
Lewis Vaughan-Jones finds himself in a position many coaches will be all too
familiar with – working with multiple teams.
Lewis coaches the U8s, U9s and U14s at Notts County's development centre, the goalkeepers at Notts County Girls, and a senior men’s team in tier 11 of the English football pyramid, Wollaton FC.
It means the 22-year-old FA Level 2 coach is gaining lots of experience fast. But it also comes with its challenges.
SCW caught up with Lewis to talk about what his week looks like, the similarities and differences across the environments he works in, and what he has learned about himself from combining environments…
Rob Breton has been coaching since the age of 17.
He started out as a youth coach before moving into the US college game, spending four years as an assistant women’s coach at NCAA Division II team Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia.
During his time at AB, Rob also assisted with the Battler men’s soccer program and was girls’ head coach at Clarksburg’s Excel Futbol Club.
He has since stepped into a head coach role, taking the reins of the women’s team at the University of Nebraska at Kearney – a Division II institution in the MIAA conference. Rob calls it "the best decision he ever made".
SCW caught up with Rob to talk about how he knew he was ready for the jump to head coach, what his first season in charge looked like, and how to create the optimum environment for your players...
Chris McLaughlin is a teacher, Uefa B license coach, and increasingly, a football analyst.
With a variety of coaching experience - including work as an academy coach, club development officer and women’s assistant manager - and time spent at the Scottish FA and Celtic, Chris set about integrating analysis into his skillset to improve his tactical understanding.
A role as first-team scout and opposition analyst at East Fife FC allowed Chris to put his analysis skills into practice.
Now living and working in Malaysia, he continues to share his thoughts and ideas about games on social media.
SCW caught up with Chris to talk about what he enjoys about analysis, how it helps his coaching, and how other coaches can get started…
Dan Bratcher is a Uefa B-qualified coach, currently working with Cambridge City Ladies, who play in the fourth tier of the women’s football pyramid in England.
Having stepped into coaching after realising he wouldn't make it as a player professionally, Dan has now found a home for himself within the women’s game.
He is committed to his personal learning and development, with the ultimate aim of getting a full-time role in professional soccer.
SCW caught up with Dan to talk about how he furthers his learning, the role of reflection, and if assessing yourself honestly gets any easier the longer you coach…
Aulani Fernandez is currently the interim head women’s soccer coach at Chicago State University.
It is a role that Fernandez - part of the 2021-22 United Soccer Coaches' 30 Under 30 Program - didn’t see coming so soon. But she has grasped it with both hands.
At Chicago, she is rebuilding the program from the ground up, with a culture of "inclusiveness, love, support, vulnerability and safety" at its core.
SCW caught up with Aulani to talk about why those principles are so important to her, how she goes about embedding them, and what it is to be a young, female coach in the world of soccer…
Connor McGinn is a 21-year-old coach based in the UK, FA Level 2 qualified and a third year student in a football coaching degree programme.
He has spent time coaching at grassroots level, in development centres and at academies. Most of his coaching experiences have been with children from under-6 to under-10, and through that he has found a passion for coaching in the foundation phase (ages 5-11).
SCW caught up with Connor to talk about how we create the right environment at the foundation phase, the technical skills we should be coaching, how we can help our players shape their sessions, and what to bear in mind on matchdays when it comes to selecting a formation…