Knight Commission Supports United Soccer’s Coach Credentialing Program for NCAA Coaches

The Knight Commission has long championed the need for a credential that addresses
the important role of coaches as educators. In December 2022, United Soccer Coaches
Association became the first organization to offer a formal college coach credential
program when they launched a 60-hour curriculum coach credentialing program that
includes NCAA Division I, II and III coaches. The first recruiting class was a huge
success with more than 120 applications for 40 spots. As a result, United Soccer
Coaches created a 40-person head coach cohort and a 20-person assistant coach cohort
that includes members of the NCAA DI Women’s National Championship coaching staff.
The Knight Commission provided grants to support the recruitment of racial minorities
and women for the program.

The goal of the Coach Credentialing Program is “to elevate the role of a coach to a higher
standard of professionalism by providing training, development, and support while
educating coaches to work within the ethical standards set by United Soccer Coaches
and NCAA as a whole.” The program is designed to help coaches self-reflect and develop
skills to be their very best in a high-performance environment.

A recent NCAA Coach Well-Being Study highlights the need for such programming. The
primary findings showed that “Coaches have felt substantial and unique pressures in
their jobs over the past several years, manifesting in high levels of stress and mental
exhaustion.” The data revealed that 40% of head coaches feel mentally exhausted
“constantly” or “most every day.” There has never been a more important time to offer a
holistic approach to coach education than now.

The initial participants in the United Soccer Coaches Credentialing Program will graduate
in July 2023 and the leaders of the organization are already looking at ways to expand
the program.


Jennifer Klein, Head Women’s Soccer Coach at U of Michigan and a member of the NCAA DI Women’s Soccer Committee
“Our coaching profession has two parts: 1. the knowledge of the Xs & Os and
2. the ability to manage people and create a positive environment.
This program helps give you a framework and skill set for the second part of this profession…”

Greg Mulholland, Head Men’s Soccer Coach Colorado School of Mines
“I feel strongly that this credential will be a standard for all college coaches within 3-5 years.”

Molly Polette, Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at UCLA (DI national champs)
“The in-person courses and conversations were incredible…
Not only did I add 8+ books to my reading list,
but it refreshed and reenergized me as a person and coach.”