MLS, France launch youth coach partnership

Major League Soccer is sending its youth academy coaches to
study abroad.

Personnel from teams in North America’s top pro league will
visit France’s national training center in Clairefontaine as part
of a 16-month program designed to raise the talent level throughout
MLS.

Coaches from the French soccer federation will teach the same
player development skills they use at the club level there.
Material from MLS, as well as the U.S. and Canadian national
federations, also will be in the curriculum.

”This partnership not only provides the league with a strategic
relationship with one of the elite worldwide federations, but it
also allows us to expose each of our 19 academies to the current
international standard for coaching, managing and player
development,” MLS technical director of competition Jeff Agoos
said. ”Over the long term, this will help improve the overall
quality of our young talent, and eventually advance our on-field
product.”

The program runs from this month through May 2014. It features
two weeks of immersion at the international youth academies of top
European teams, including Real Madrid, Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain,
Stuttgart and Athletic Bilbao.

Each MLS club, along with the league itself and US Soccer,
nominated one coach from its academy to participate.

As part of the arrangement, French officials will visit the
sites of MLS teams to review youth academy procedures and help them
qualify for their Elite Formation Coaching License, a top European
credential.