The American Future Coach: The DaVinci Coach

The following excerpt come from the May 2016 issue of Amplified Soccer Training Magazine. This issue features ideas on the future of soccer coaching, periodization, speed development, psychology, soccer drills and more training resources to take your game to the next level.

Content contributions come from some of the top professional training, nutrition, mental game and fitness leaders in the industry. Get it now.


By Jeff Tipping, UEFA A License, USSF A License, Former NSCAA Director of Coaching Education

The following is an excerpt from Jeff’s book, “Drills and Exercises to Develop the Elite American Soccer Player©.” Get the full book.

UEFA’s brilliant Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh, penned the phrase DaVinci Coach shortly after the book ‘The DaVinci Code’ hit the bestselling charts. His 2007 presentation in Basle, Switzerland focusing on the skills of the European future coach captivated an audience of European Technical Directors who came away inspired and anxious to get to work. Over the years I have found that Andy has that effect on people. It set me on the road to thinking about the skills our American “Future Coaches” must have in our unique and challenging position.

In some ways our coaches need to have superior skills to our European and the South American counter parts because they do not have the same cultural obstacles to face as we do;

  • Their players are conditioned to follow a team and watch lots of high level soccer either live or on the television. That is not the case in the U.S. and, consequently one of the critical learning steps called “Modeling”, the mimicking of what high level professionals do, is missing.
  • European players, frequently, come from households where the fathers, uncles and elder brothers played the game. Many of our children are from households where nobody played the game and the parents are only interested as long as their child participates in the sport. The ability of a parent to help the child, or talk about the game in a sophisticated fashion is conspicuously absent.
  • Without any question the sport of choice for the vast majority of European athletes is soccer. My observation of Germany, for example, is that soccer is, unequivocally, the number one game in the country. The best athletes in Germany are playing soccer and that is true of almost every top level soccer playing country. No other country has the competition, between sports, for athletic talent, as we have in the USA. Keeping our best athletes in soccer is a massive challenge and it takes coaches of superior skill to make our sport attractive and compelling to athletes with a catalog of choices.
  • Although having a quality coach is important, it is, generally, accepted that players learn most from playing against better, and older, players. In smaller countries, with a higher density of committed soccer players, European youth players (15 – 18 years of age) have the opportunity to play with and against excellent players on a daily basis and, frequently, play on adult teams. We do not, yet, have the density of great players in our cities and so it is difficult to get the best players together on a regular basis. This obstacle is compounded by the fact that very few of our junior players ever have the opportunity to play against a 33 year old man or woman. This is a major developmental issue. When I quizzed an organizer from a huge adult league in the north east why there were no seventeen year olds playing in the league he informed me it due to liability fears.

In the face of these, significant obstacles the “Future American Coach” must have a skill set both broader and deeper than that of coaches from other continents.

Get the rest of this article including The Da Vinci Coach Skill Set and much more in either the full book or in the May 2016 issue of Amplified Soccer Training Magazine.