iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce.

UEFA signs up to the iCoachKids Pledge at their Grassroots Conference 2019.

The European governing body for football adopts this child-centred vision for sport to support the development of grassroots football across 55 countries.

Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial and Kris Van Der Haegen with UEFA Head of Education Services Frank Ludolph

UEFA hosted their 12th Grassroots Conference in Belarus. Over 200 grassroots and coach education managers from 55 countries gathered in Minsk to discuss the key issues facing the development of the game across Europe.

Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial, project director for the Erasmus+ co-funded project and global movement iCoachKids, travelled to the conference at the request of UEFA’s Head of Football Education Services Frank Ludolph to share the outputs of the project with delegates. Sergio was joined by UEFA’s JIRA panel member and iCoachKids co-founder Kris Van Der Haegen from the Belgium Football Association.

iCoachKids has developed a completely FREE suite of resources for youth coaches including a website containing a repository of educational articles and blogs and three comprehensive e-learning courses containing over 100 instructional videos.

At the UEFA conference, Kris and Sergio presented the iCoachKids Pledge, 10 Golden Rules to guarantee that sport is a positive experience for children and young people. The Pledge emphasises the need for coaches and administrators to adopt a child-centred approach to ensure that every child enjoys the experience and develops a lifelong love for physical activity.

The event concluded with the announcement of a partnership between UEFA and iCoachKids to customise the iCoachkids e-learning offer to a football audience and to share it for free with the millions of football coaches in the 55 UEFA nations.

Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial was delighted with this news: “Wow, this is beyond our wildest dreams. We started iCoachKids to try and support the millions of coaches giving freely of their time every day to help children everywhere. This partnership with UEFA will help us increase our reach 100-fold. We couldn’t be happier”.

The customised e-learning courses will be available from late November 2019. However, the original courses are already available on www.icoachkids.eu . Go try them and spread the word!

iCoachKids is co-funded by an Erasmus+ grant and led by Leeds Beckett University (LBU) and the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE). It brings together another six world-class organisations with a common desire to support children and youth coaches and a proven track record of doing so. These include Sport Ireland Coaching, the Hungarian Coaches Association, the Netherlands Olympic Committee, the European University of Madrid, Lithuanian Sport University, and the Royal Belgian Football Association.