Two weeks ago, Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a partnership with the French Football Federation (FFF) to offer an exclusive world class training program to one coach from each MLS club’s youth academy.
Craig Dalrymple, Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 and U-15 head coach and head of player development, was selected for the Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL), a 16-month development course.
“I am honoured to be the Whitecaps FC representative selected for this program,” said Dalrymple before his departure. “Traveling to France was an incredible opportunity to network with and collaborate with other MLS coaches in an opportune learning environment. Having the chance to observe the inner-workings of other first class European academies is advantageous for us as coaches, as well as to be able to learn new methodologies that we can apply to our own clubs."
Dalrymple departed for Paris, France on February 24, 2013 where the coaches had their first educational session held at the Clairefontaine National Training Center.
The EFCL training program consists of three major components separated into two-week sessions. The first component is eight weeks and 320 hours of field and classroom instruction in which coaches gain their French Formations Licenses in player development. The second component sends coaches for two separate week-long observation sessions with top European club academies. This particular EFCL program also included customized features developed by MLS, the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA).
After a week of classroom training, Dalrymple conducted his first observation session with renowned French football club Paris Saint-Germain. Along with academy coaches from Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers, Dalrymple observed training led by PSG academy director Bertrand Reuzeau. PSG have produced French national team players such as Nicolas Anelka and are currently home to international stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham.
The final and ongoing component will be an integration process in which the coaches take the information, methodologies and player development techniques they learned and integrate them into their own youth academies. The integration process is scheduled to start in July 2014, where participating coaches will aim to complete their EFCL degrees.
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