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.