Major League Soccer will continue its partnership with the French Football Federation that provides training to 20 MLS youth academy coaches to earn their Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL), the league announced Tuesday. The program includes both on- and off-field training, as well as a week-long immersion at a European club’s youth academy.
“Major League Soccer is committed to becoming a leader in the area of player development, and the continued partnership with the French Football Federation provides an important learning opportunity and world class education for our elite academy coaches,” Fred Lipka, MLS vice president and technical director of youth development, said in a statement. “Since announcing the partnership six years ago, we have already seen its tremendous impact on our player development system, laying a strong foundation of expertise throughout our academies. We are incredibly excited to continue this process as these coaches continue to raise the standard of academies throughout the league.”
The one-year program consists of five weeks of on-field and in-classroom training, one week of immersion at an international academy and then integration of the learned techniques at their respective MLS academies. Coaches participating must also have a CSA or USSF A coaching license in order to complete the program. FC Dallas head coach Luchi Gonzalez and Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney are notable former students of this program.
The coaches involved in this iteration of the partnership are: Steven Covino (Atlanta United, U-14 head coach), Michael “Ross” Brady (Chicago Fire, U-13 head coach), Joshua Neff (FC Cincinnati, U-15 head coach and performance specialist), Erik Bushey (Colorado Rapids, U-17 head coach), Kelvin Jones (Columbus Crew SC, U-19 head coach), Matias Asorey (FC Dallas, U-17 head coach), Gus Teren (D.C. United, U-14 head coach and academy technical director), Javier Cano Gallego (D.C. United, U-19 head coach), Kenny Bundy (Houston Dynamo, U-19 head coach), Victor Pastora (Inter Miami CF, U-15 head coach), Nicolas Gagnon (Montreal Impact, U-15 head coach), Samuel Castellanos (New York Red Bulls, U-19 head coach), Rodrigo Marion (New York City FC, U-17 head coach), Javier Carrillo (Orlando City SC, U-17 head coach and academy director assistant), Cody Worden (Real Salt Lake, U-17 head coach), Daniel DeGeer (San Jose Earthquakes, U-14 head coach and director of pre-formation), Daniel Lock (Seattle Sounders FC, U-15 head coach), Christopher O’Neal (Sporting Kansas City, U-15 head coach), Gianni Cimini (Toronto FC, U-17 head coach) and Scott Howey (Vancouver Whitecaps FC, U-15 head coach).