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Football coaching in the USA


A football coach has always been an option for former players or even non players. For youth academy football players, it’s more than likely you might have had some type of experience with football coaching, weather it was with The PFA or doing Sports Science or another course at college. Also having played football with a professional club, you’ve been coached day in day out so you know what it’s all about.

I, myself have never really been that interested in the coaching side of the game. I think you have to be a certain type of person and I guess that just isn’t me.

But it is just what Matt Bowden lives for. Now Matt never did a scholarship or any type of YTS (the closest he got was playing at school boy level for Plymouth Argyle), so he doesn’t know what the life of a youth academy football player is actually like. But Matt doesn’t coach here in the UK. No he’s changed the dull English weather, for the sunny skies of California, USA.

I used to work with Matt before he went to America, and I thought I’d pick his brains on how and why he chose to coach football in America and also to find out how the life of an English football coach is out there.

Matt’s background history

I am currently coaching for a Youth Soccer Club in Southern California and have been working here for the best part of four years. I played football my whole life and played to a decent standard at Youth level but was never good enough to make a living from playing. My background was in Business and Marketing and I worked for a successful IT firm for nearly 7 years before deciding it was time ‘for a change’.

Why football coaching in USA

I had never traveled after University like many people do, going straight into this IT job after graduating. I therefore started to get an idea to mix traveling with potential work and remembered an organisation my brother’s friends had worked for many years ago. The company was UKISC or UK International Soccer Camps, which employs hundreds of English youngsters, nearly all of whom are at University playing football, to work and travel around the US on their summer soccer camps. I decided to apply for the summer of 2007, went to Bristol for an interview and on-field coaching interview and was offered a position over the coming weeks. In May of ’07 I left my job and headed off to the West Coast of the US to join up with the rest of the UK guys.

Matt Bowden coaching in USA

USA football coaching experience

The first summer was an unbelievable experience. The company put you in a random group, or ‘cluster’ of anywhere between 3 and 10 coaches and you travel between camps week by week working on each camp. You are given hire cars to travel and are put up every week by ‘host families’ whose children are registered for the camp. A summer is typically 8-10 weeks and in my first summer I had visited Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California. Host families are also fantastic, putting you up in their homes and usually more than happy to show you around the main attractions of their home towns. In the two years traveling around doing the summer camps, I also have seen New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and even Alaska !! Many activities I have taken part in with host families include flying a plane, jet skiing, quad biking, numerous pro baseball and basketball games, sailing, to name a few.

When the summer camp season is over, many regions like to hire a coach from UKISC to help their teams and coaches over the league season, typically for 8-12 wks so there is an opportunity to stay in the US until December. For my first two years out here, this is how I was able to continue the experience.

Whilst I was working in the Fall and during my first years there, you can meet a host of people in and around football. The coaching we had done up to this point is through a nation wide organisation called AYSO which allows all kids of any age and playing ability to play soccer in a team and league and play at least 3/4 of a game. It is not competitive and mostly for new players with little experience. For kids who are more talented and looking for more of a challenge, there are competitive soccer leagues and clubs, where there are league tables, hence promotion and relegation and parents pay a great deal more in fees for their children to be part of such clubs.


There is a host of UK and English coaches working for club teams and I managed to find a contact through a friend who offered me a trial and interview. This became successful after meeting with the club directors and I was offered the Head Coaching position with two teams. Salaries are ultimately provided monthly and per team you coach. After two years with the club, I now run the Youngsters program looking to develop and recruit 5,6, 7 and 8 year olds, so they are ready for competitive league play at the club from U9. I also have a U13 team, moving to U14 next season. In terms of salary, this is stable income and other income can come from summer camp work and private tuition with kids looking for extra practice.

Best bits so far as a football coach in the USA

I have been extremely lucky with lodgings also due to the extremely kind hearted nature of families in the US. Many have let me stay with them for months on end paying little or no rent and have therefore become ‘part of many families’. Rent can differ around certain regions of Southern CA and I would imagine run quite close to rent in England. The social life here is also fantastic along with the year round weather of sun, sun and a bit more sun ! As I said, there are a large group of like minded English coaches here who have all been good friends for many years. My group of friends either live in LA, Orange County or Hollywood so a night out in either place is usually a good night !

Worst bits so far as a football coach in the USA

The only downside of being and working here and it is a big downside, is the work visa situation. This is a massive obstacle that you need to address before trying to make a living here.

English football coaches coaching in USA

UKISC can hire many many English coaches each year based on the premise that they will all be returning back to the UK after the Summer. The authorities in the US will only authorise a work visa full time to people who they see have a skill set that will improve the society you are living and you are ultimately not taking a job from a regular American. There are ways around the system but it is beneficial if you are working for an organisation that can provide you or are willing to sponsor you for a visa. This would be my one area of caution and investigation for anyone looking to come over from the UK. Having professional experience in the UK or football related qualifications will help, depending on what company you want to work for. I don’t for see getting a job here being a problem for anyone, just the legal side of being here.


About PlanBfootball

Plan B Football was formed in 2010 to help youth academy players who have been released from their clubs.

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  1. Sam Murphy

    I have always wanted to go to the USA to do coaching. This is a great read. Im going to look into what Matt has said as I have played at pro level before.


    Keep up the good work


  2. chris hodge

    hi my name is chris hodge i am 21 years old i play football semi pro for redditch united i have also played for sollihull moors youth team and also represented my county and district,i would definately like a chance to come and train and play abroad but i am finding it hard to get in contact with teams abroad,i have my coaching badges level 1 and 2 and my national diploma in sports so have a great knowledge in football so i would like to ask for a chance to play abroad and would like to request some help from you to point me in the right direction thanks p.s chris hodge.

    • admin

      Hey Chris thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply mate !!

      Basically the site has been down, in regards to adding new content etc. But we are now back up and running and there will be big update to the site…all in good time.

      Anyway, have you got anywhere in mind where you want to play. ie europe, USA ?

      Would you be interested in doing a full scholarship. If so let me know and we can put you in touch with the right people.

      Also feel free to sign up to our newsleetr and follow us on twitter.

      Speak soon.

  3. Sam Clark

    Hi my name is Sam Clark. I am 20 years old and want to be a soccer coach in the USA. I have a FA level 1 coaching and a Sports Leadership UK Level 1, I also have a National Diploma in Sports. I am applying to get my FA Coaching Level 2 currently. I have worked for Camp America and I was a general counselor this involved me organsing and running various activities. I am working as a volunteer at my local council as a sports coach for the local community and I will be doing this over. From what I see working with the UKISC sounds like a great company to work for but I am just wondering if I need more qualifications in order to work there and also what are the minimum requirements in order to be considered. I was also just wondering if you could help point me in the right direction on how I can approach this as this will be a big help. If I can do this in the summer I would like to try it for next summer as I can build on experience and qualifications over this year.

    Thank you for reading

    Sam Clark

    • admin

      Hi Sam thanks for your comment.

      It sounds like you have some good experience and qualifications.

      I am on holiday for a week tomorrow, but before I go I will contact Matt and ask him for his opinions.

      He’s been out there for a few years now and has worked his way up.

      So I will get back to you as soon as possible.

      Have a nice day. Speak soon.

    • Sam Clark


      Thanks for getting back to me I really appreciate it. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your holiday.

      Thanks again for your help


      • admin

        Hey Sam. Sorry about the wait. I have spoken to Matt and this is what he had to say

        “you should really go with UKISC. You only needs your Level 1 but they will pay you slightly more if you has your Level 2, so up to you really. By the sounds of it, they will hire you no problem.”

        Hope this helps.

        here is the website here

  4. Sam Clark


    Thanks for giving me the link to the website. I have just applied and just waiting to hear back from them. Thank you for your help I really appreicate it.


    • admin

      Hey Sam

      No worries. Hope it all goes well. Feel free to get in contact with us to let us know how it all goes.

      Good luck.

  5. Greg Foote

    Hi Matt,

    I know this is almost 2 years later from the initial blog but i’m interested in the coaching in America. I’m 19, building up the qualifications and it sounds like an amazing opportunity to progress. In the UK, i’m struggling to find much work however it seems that there are more opportunities abroad?

    I’ve applied for some jobs over there, but could you give me your opinion on just how useful it is to experience coaching in America?


    • Greg Foote

      I’d also be interested in potential scholarships if you could give me any information on them

      Thanks again!

  6. Matt

    Hi Greg

    There are a great number of opportunities in the US in coaching. Soccer is a rapidly growing Sport at all levels and age groups. Don’t forget also that girls and woman’s soccer here is as popular and more successful than the men’s game, increasing the coaching opportunities.

    I started at AYSO level which is a nationwide recreation soccer program aimed at allowing all kids of all ages and skill set am opportunity to play. This is where companies such as Challenger and UK International provide training camps and clinics per region. From here you have opportunies at ‘competitive’ club soccer, High School and ultimately College.

    Without wanting to finish with a negative, working visas can become a huge obstacle in working here. Soccer camp companies can secure seasonal working visas but sponsorship for longer term visas will need to be attained if you are looking to stay out here for longer.

    Hope this helps for now.

  7. Luke

    Hi, thanks for the article.

    I’m 20 Years old and I’ve just completed my FA Level 1. I have just started coaching an U15′s team and I plan on enrolling on an FA Goalkeeping Coaching course as well as my Youth Modules.

    Do you think I’ll need more qualifications to be hired abroad? I live and breath football and I have an endless amount of enthusiasm and passion for the sport.



  8. Adam

    hi my names Adam i am 22 and looking for a coaching role in the US. I have played football at many levels starting at Charlton and Millwall as a youth aswel as district and county level, when I turned 16 I signed a 2 year scholarship and 1 year professional contract. It was during my scholarship where I gained my qualifications which include UEFA B Licence Football Certificate, BTEC National Certificate in Sport and Exercise Science Level 3,
    Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Level 3, first aid course and child protection. I was just wondering if you could help me in anyway to becoming a soccer coach in the US?

  9. Adam

    Hi Matt,

    I know I am even later than the above messages but I thought I would contact you none the less to get some info “from the horses mouth”. My background is in football having played professional and semi professional football from the age of 8. However after becoming frustrated at the lack of opportunitys I was able to carve out during my career I hanged my boots up and joined the army.

    This time greatly increased my knowledge in fitness and nutrition, and upon leaving I had achieved my FA level 1 and have nearly completed the level 2, and have been encouraged to do my UEFA B by the tutors. Would this be beneficial? What would your advice be to get a caching job out there?

    Thanks in advance

  10. Callum

    Hi, I m 16, play for Watford fc Coe and a level 1 coach (about to do level 2) I have a btec level 2 also doing level 3 ATM and a FA referee. I was wounding If you could help me because I would love to go into coach in the USA but I need help getting there

  11. Ben

    Hi my name is Ben, i play alot of football for my county, trialed at Sheffield united and Aston Villa i am 19 years old and i would love to coach football or play it, but i have no idea how to get into either of these in America.

    • Andrew Broadbent


      Please visit our website, and you should be able to get your questions answered. We have an ‘employment’ homepage that will answer most of your questions, and can get you started on the path to coaching in the US. You can also apply directly from the site.

      We are currently accepting applications for 2014, and will be interviewing in the UK during the autumn of this year.

      Cheers, Andy.

  12. kevin

    Hi there,
    this seem’s like a very exciting opportunity if successful.
    I’m 20 years of age currently injured but was playing semi professional. I would love to be given a chance to do some football coaching abroad, i been too collage and got my level 1 coaching, but then went on to play the game, but i think this is something i could only dream of doing, so if you could reply back too me it would be an utter pleasure.

    Many thanks Kevin.

  13. Steven Moffat

    Hi my name is Steven, I am a young football coach wondering if you can advise me of any opportunities there may be coaching in America on a full time basis. I currently coach back home in Scotland as a community coach and manage the Edinburgh University Men’s 4th team. I have experience working in America for UKElite and am returning for a second year this summer for 2 months. Is there anything more permanent/full time available?

  14. David Watson

    Hi my name is David, I know I am late in reply to this blog but have only just stumbled across it, I have been involved in and around football since I was 5 years old and am very passionate about the sport. I have had 7 years at Leicester City Youth Academy where I took part in a number of games throughout my time, including a tournament in Portugal which seen me awarded goalkeeper of the tournament (u14’s) also towards the end of my time at the club I was involved in a number of training sessions with the first team, picking up valuable experience. I then moved on to Port Vale football club where I was for the next two years. Training 4 days a week, with a game on Saturday and also attending college to participate in a Sports performance and excellence course to which I achieved a double distinction. It was also at Port Vale that I completed my FA level 2 coaching badge and gained experience by coaching the goalkeepers from center of excellence (u8s’-u16’s) Along with these I featured in the FA Youth Cup and a number of games at Youth level and was involved again in and around the first team but did not manage to obtain a professional contract. Im currently playing for a Non league club at present. I am extremely interesting in coaching in the USA an its something I’ve been looking into but seem to be struggling to get the ball rolling. If you could perhaps help me out by sending me some information, anything would help. Thanks again, and a great read.

  15. Billy Gudgeon

    Hi Matt , I used to play for my local football team and had trials at Dagenham & Redbridge and also had a trial at QPR which i couldnt attend as i have back problems and been told to stop sports, 3years on and i’ve recovered and i would like to go into coaching, and i’d love to work in the U.S.A, in the last 4 years American soccer has improved an amazing amount and i would like to be part of the legacy.

  16. Ashley Jackson

    hello my name is ash I am 21 years old, I’ve been wanting to go to USA for a while now to do my coaching and hopefully play football out there but I just want to be put in the right direction. I’ve got my FA level 1 coaching-disabled , NVQ level 2 football coaching and also got my NVQ level 3 sports development. I also play semi-pro football for Romulus fc, played at wolves for 2 years and also played at port vale.

    hope to hear from you soon!

    p.s Ashley Jackson

  17. William Brickell

    I am very interested in coaching in America, I would love to coach in America because i want to learn more from another country with amazing prospect and learn from other experienced coaches and also share my knowledge with other coaches. I have been on a Apprenticeship for 2 half years from Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and they have taught me lots of amazing things, i have coached all ranges of disabilities and different ages from 3 to 30 years old. Now i am a part time casual coach for Brighton Football Club but i would love to go to America and coach there. I have a huge passion of coaching because i love watching and making players become a better players each week and having lots of fun, laughter and smiles its give me lots of happiness as i was part of that. I am deaf but i wear two hearing aid and i use speech as my main form of communication and i can hear very well and lipread very well as well so please don’t let that put you off. My overall aim is to coach in America and get as much knowledge as i can from other coaches and share as much knowledge to other coaches and when i go back to England, i want to set up a team mainly focused of deaf players and get them to play the highest standard they can possibly semi professional as i believe we deserve a chance to show what we are the same as “normal players” and i will go on a course and do UEFA B licence to get more knowledge and experience.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon and thank you for reading this.

    William Brickell

    • admin

      Hi William
      Thanks for the comment. You sound like you are really keen on coaching. We did an article recently with Andy from UK Elite. Click here to read it. Hope this helps

  18. Jamie

    Hello My Names Jamie, I Am 20 And Am Looking For A Coaching Role In America I Always Have Wanted To Coach Here Because It Seems Like The Best Place To Coach And Seems Like You Get Loads Of Experience. I Have Played Football Since 14, And Have Had Trails At Accrington Stanley.

    I Have My FA Level 1 Badge, Also Have My 1st4Sport Qualifications Level 1 And 2.

    I Have Applied To Work For UK International Soccer.

    But I Was Just Wondering Whether There Is Any Chance Of You Helping Me Get A Job In America, Or Tell Me How To Get One Please?

    Kind Regards


  19. Jenna Thain


    I have just read the blog and am really interested in getting involved somehow! I currently work in a junior school and hold my FA level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications. I enjoy both coaching and playing football and being a girl I know the opportunities in America are greater than those in the UK.

    Would you be able to point me in the right direction so I can maybe apply to coach or play in USA?

    Many Thanks

  20. liam

    hi matt, i’m just wondering which basic coaching badges do you need before applying for these sort of coaching jobs? as i’m currently studying sport at college.

    Thanks, Liam.

  21. Ryan Oliver

    Hi guys I have my level 1 in football coaching and 3 distinctions in sport at college (national diploma) I have played for my local club since I was 4 and I am now 20. I have been coaching voluntarily at various different clubs around my county and also managed to gain a few jobs in coaching, but none of them have been permanent positions because of financial reasons. I am really football minded and would love the chance to coach abroad to help the younger generation come from where I was to where I am now. I don’t much football at the moment because I have snapped a cruciate ligament in my knee but this does not mean I can’t coach. I’m hoping to get the operation soon but I want to stay in football anyway that I can. Any help would be greatly appreciated guys!!

    Thanks, Ryan

  22. Sarah cross

    Hiya. I have a big interest in football and would love to coach football in
    america. i have my level 1 coaching certificate, and have experience of coaching football in primary schools as voluntary work. I also play for a football team myself so I have a lot of knowledge about the rules and regulations etc.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

  23. Jack

    Hi Matt,

    Very interesting write-up – makes me want to coach in America more now.

    Basically, I’m a 18-year-old coach. Currently I obtain a L1 and YAM1 coaching qualification, and at the time of writing I am undergoing my L2 coaching course. I’ve worked as a volunteer community coach with a local professional team as well as other local junior sides. I’ve also achieved a National Diploma BTEC in Sport and Football.

    I am very, very interested in coaching in America and it is something that I would love to be able to fulfil. In fact, one day I would love to be able to coach in America full-time and locate there.

    I am just looking for some advice. I’m not a player (I have played, but only for local Sunday sides), just a coach who loves the game.

    Kind regards,

  24. Dom

    Hi Matt,

    i’m 17 and just starting out as a football coach, my dream is to coach abroad! and its a dream i want to fulfill.

    as i have only just started coaching i don’t currently have any qualification but will soon be enrolling in an FA level 1 course and soon after be trying to get my level 2.

    Do you have any advice as to what to do in terms of getting abroad or know anyone i can speak to about it?

    Kind regards

    • admin

      Hi Dom
      Thanks for the comment. This article with Matt was a while back, so I would reccommend speaking to a company called UK Elite. Please go to their website to find out more. Click here

      Try to speak to a guy called Andy Broadbent. I did an interview with Andy here

      Good luck

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