Saturday, November 18, 2006

English FA training for Taiwan youth and coaches

Twenty-one local football coaches will participate in "Level 2" coaching instruction in Taipei, Taiwan, conducted by England's Football Association, featuring former Leeds United player, Alan Walker. The week-long program includes classroom work, practical instruction and simulated practices where coaches are asked to direct their peers. "Level 2" is colloquially known as the "Coaches Certificate," largely designed to teach candidates about the "who, what, where and why of coaching," said Walker. He told Sean Scanlan of The Taipei Times it is one of the most challenging courses in the FA certificate program, offering lots of information for participants,and a mandatory assessment program 3-4 months after the program has been completed. It also costs nearly NT$27,000 per person.

In contrast, "Level 1" instruction is primarily designed for parents and coaching assistants, designed to teach games and exercises which allow children to learn by themselves. For example, Walker said "Level 1" instruction might include instructing skills-based games which can be used with children such as "Park Keeper," where children are asked to keep control of the ball, even as instructors move about and try to steal away their ball.

Walker was part of a two-man coaching clinic which instructed 45 participants in the three-day "Level 1" certification program in January this year. The clinic was sponsored by the Master Football Academy, (MFA) a group of expatriate soccer enthusiasts dedicated to promoting youth soccer in Taiwan. Michael Chandler, founder of the organization, says his goal is to "do everything I can to help promote and develop the beautiful game in this country for future generations, including my own children."

Bringing foreign professionals to train local coaches is one of the group's major objectives. Apart from hosting coaching clinics, the MFA is also responsible for local youth instruction, holding weekly soccer practices in the Taipei area, as well as island-wide summer and winter camps for youth. Chandler says the success of the inaugural course encouraged them to sponsor a follow-up "Level 2" certificate as well as a potential repeat of "Level 1" next May.

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