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Many of you will be embarking on your coaching journey with the FA Level 2 in Coaching on the horizon or currently ongoing. I did my Level 2 as part of Durham FA and found it superb, from the content, to delivery (some fantastic coaches in Andy Lowe, Andy Brown, Ian Dipper and Robbie Pringle ) who took time to explain each stage. The advice and guidance I received has had a huge impact on how I coach. Watching and listening to experienced coaches is certainly an opportunity to learn. The FA Level 2 in Coaching course is made up of guided learning and face-to-face workshops covering a range of topics linked to the England DNA, which are:

  • Block 1 – How We Coach
  • Block 2 – How We Support and The Future Player
  • Block 3 – How We Play

Below is my FA Level 2 in Coaching Project. Please remember, this FA Level 2 in Coaching Project is the view and opinion of Vince Moran, a coach at Washington Rangers Youth FC.

If you want to skip to a particular section then here’s some quick links:

1. Who We Are

Washington Rangers Youth FC

Please refer to our About page for supporting information.

I coach the Washington Rangers Hawks U11 with support from fellow coach, Phil Storey. We will be playing the first year of the 9v9 format this season.

We train outdoor (3G during winter and grass during summer) for 1 hour during the week as provided by the club. Phil and I provide a futsal session during the winter and provide a further outdoor session during the summer months.

Club Ethos

Our club ethos sets out how the club is run, following our core values of Respect, Fun and Inclusivity.

Please refer to our About page for our Club Ethos.

My Core Values

I certainly fall into a high percentage of people who got into coaching due to my son wanting to join a team. As a footballer player all my life, I was excited to see my son firstly want to play then, enjoy playing. I always felt this was something we could do together, something to share (my daughter who is 3 years younger than my son likes dancing and gymnastics…I was never good at either). As the seasons have passed, I’ve wanted to learn more and to be able to guide a player through his development (not just my son). When I was young, training was constant drills with no real thought on development.

As part of doing the Level 2 qualification, I’ve taken some time to think what my core values are. Here’s my first version having had three years of coaching experience:

  1. Respect – This is the minimum I expect from myself and those I coach. Everyone needs to respect those involved; coaches, teammates, parents, support staff, referees, the opposition. I know people will make mistakes but we should always understand that being human will involve mistakes, disagreements, difference of opinion.
  2. Learning – Very similar to being a parent, I see my role as a guide. I pass on my experiences through the coaching sessions and match day. I educate and I care. I make mistakes every day but I hope to learn from those mistakes. I want the players I coach to enjoy the time we have together, to see improvement and to enjoy the journey
  3. Positive – I’ll always promote a positive attitude even though at times I’m frustrated, tired and sometimes grumpy. I’ll always be available to answer questions and will offer advice when I feel it’s appropriate. I work hard to provide a safe and fun playing environment

As I coach more I expect to add more core values but I’m happy that the above three represent who I am and where I feel I am on my coaching journey.

2. How We Play

Principles of Play

We incorporate the Principles of Play in every training session and match day. We know that the team in possession will be focussed on attack, concentrating their efforts on creating space, movement, creativity, support and penetration. Their focus will be to retain possession, move forward into attacking positions and create goal-scoring opportunities. The defending team (out of possession) will be doing the opposite, looking to deny space by delaying, creating depth, being compact, having cover and balance in their setup and use control and restraint – patience. Their aim is to regain possession, be a compact defensive unit and limit opportunities for their opposition.

In possession

The training sessions and match day preparation are inline with my philosophy, encouraging decision-making to create goal scoring opportunities. The focus is very much on direct play, can we be positive with the ball to pass, dribble and support each other. As the team is at the under 11 level, the training sessions include discussions and examples of creativity (defining what being creative is, through balls, movement), receiving (how we receive a pass, what is good technique), turning (types of turn, defining what a good turn does when in possession), passing (types of pass, weight), space (defining what it is and then how we create it) and support (making runs, availability to receive a pass).

For the current under 11 season, we’ve concentrated on passing technique and encouraged all players to trust each other’s ability. We aren’t a long ball team, instead, focussing on building up play through the thirds (this has been introduced over the last 3 months as a progressive stage of development). We’ve recently discussed transition (if we lose the ball, what should we do and where should we be, recovery runs) and offsides with the players, adding an additional layer of understanding.

I’m not a coach who likes to see statistics that say ‘75% possession for Team A’. I’d rather we have less possession and look to penetrate a defence, take risks and make good decisions without fear.

Training Sessions

Out of possession

This is a big part of the game we’re trying to work on and have introduced a number of training sessions to develop pressing (what it is, when to do it, individual and unit, where on the pitch), delay (what does it look like, when to do it, recovery runs), deny (not tracking poor runs, regain possession from poor passing/touch) and generally how we protect the goal (positioning, communication, goal-line clearances).

Transition has been introduced to each training session of late. Working with the players, we’re identifying opportunities to intercept and creating the vision of what happens next through demonstrations. Recovery runs are also being introduced in order to get back into shape, providing balance and compactness. This is an area that we’ve struggled with but a more structured training programme will help educate.

As we’ve recently moved to 9 a side, we involve offside into our training sessions. We’re covering coaching points such as working together as a unit, individual responsibilities, communication, tracking runs as well as regaining possession.

Training Sessions

  • Out of Possession: Focus – Wide Areas (Defending)
  • Out of Possession: Focus – Delay (Defending)
  • Out of Possession: Focus – Compactness (Defending)

3. The Future Player

A link will be posted soon.

4. How We Coach

My Philosophy

My personal coaching philosophy is to provide a learning environment that allows every player to make decisions. I’d rather a member of the team make a wrong decision (and learn) than not make a decision at all. I want every player to enjoy their time with the team and be successful. Success may be new skills, friendships or simply being able to enjoy performing well as a team. Fun is a massive part of football and I ask each player to enjoy themselves…football shouldn’t be a chore. I always give feedback as I feel that helps everyone to learn. Feedback is constructive and considered.

The only expectations I have is respect and effort. All involved in the team need to respect each other, the coaches, their parents and those involved in allowing them to play football. Each player needs to give their best at training and on match day.

My philosophy is a long term project. I’m still a young coach and see my philosophy adapting over time. As we continue to develop at 9 a side I’ll be introducing goal setting to the players as I feel all involved will be able to see the improvements being made.

The above philosophy is shared with fellow coach, Phil Storey.

Coaching Styles, interventions

I’m a big believer in coaching in a modern style, inviting questions and giving a constructive answer. I want my players to learn but essentially to figure it out for themselves. I facilitate decision making. I use guided discovery, Q&A, and demonstrations to get across the message to the players.

Coaching Environment

I’m always positive (even after a long day at work) and think about the feedback I provide. I don’t always get it right but attending the Level 2 course elements has certainly helped provide useful tools which I’ve been using for the last few months (coaching styles, use of equipment, structured learning, accommodate all learning styles).

How we work with the players

We always aim to be positive, creating an environment that is comfortable for all players. At the start of the season, we set 5 goals with the team (followed by a mid-season review in the form of a Player Questionnaire). Our 5 goals for this season (2017-18) are:

  • Passing – Continue to improve our passing
  • Control – Continue to improve controlling the ball (receiving the pass)
  • Positions – Each player to continue to develop at a minimum of 2 playing positions
  • Support – Understanding from all involved that we are a developing team, aiming to improve but we will all make mistakes on the journey
  • Fun – We need to enjoy being part of the team

Both myself and Phil are available for the players to speak to, whether that’s to discuss match performance or elements they like in the training sessions. We believe in providing feedback. Midway through the season we’ll have a one-to-one with each player and parent to chat about the season to date and set challenges for the remainder of the season.

Goalkeeper Training

As part of the 2017-18 we won’t be doing any specific goalkeeper training initially though this will be reviewed midway through the season. Our goalkeeper will be integrated in all outfield sessions as we want to improve footwork and distribution. Each training session has a goalkeeper element therefore we feel at this stage, that’s acceptable.

Training Sessions

A link will be posted soon.

5. How We Support

A link will be posted soon.

Insitu Visit Feedback

A link will be posted soon.


  • Liam says:

    HI – fantastic support this as a fellow coach what is expected in each section, have you got the other sections of the project available to review for help?

  • Paul Edzia says:

    I am in the middle of my level 2 and I have understood and got a lot of information and clarity as to how to prepare my playing philosophy and team values. Great help and good luck with your journey.

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