Recently, U.S. Soccer announced its second-ever cohort of coaches to participate in its Pro License course, the highest standard for coaching education in the country. You may recall that Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin was recently among the first group to complete the course. Now, assistant coach Mike Sorber is slated to undergo the course.
Selected as one of 17 applicants for the 2017 iteration of the course, Sorber is joined in this year's class by many notable names, including the last two MLS Cup champions in Brian Schmetzer (Seattle) and Caleb Porter (Portland) as well as United States Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis.
From U.S. Soccer, this year's class "will embark on a year-long coaching education and development program that will include three collective meetings, two individual club visits from U.S. Soccer coach educators, and a final presentation. With an overarching purpose to raise the level and the standard of coaching in the United States at the professional level, the Pro Course sets out to inspire the current and future generations of coaches."
Ultimately, selection for the course is considered an honor, and Sorber is excited for the opportunity.
"The first class that went through it, they really benefited from it and enjoyed the camaraderie and the interaction," said Sorber. "Coaching is about experience; learning from all of the good candidates, all of their experiences, and it’s a way for us to help each other to grow, improve and ultimately raise the level of MLS and soccer in this country."
While the curriculum from last year's class to this year's has largely remained the same, Sorber, who currently holds the U.S. Soccer A license, is preparing to hone in and develop his own techniques.
"It’s more about what your own style is," said Sorber. "It’s how you interact with the players, how you communicate. There’s no one way to coach, there’s no one style to play. It all can work. They really want to see how you think and how you present different ideas. When you do the projects, it’s your interpretation of how you see things and how you want to go about the process. Jim comes from the side of the head coach and I’m coming from the side of the assistant coach."
Much like with the inaugural class that underwent the high-level license, the overarching goal is to improve soccer coaching and education through the exchange of ideas. Both Sorber and Curtin echoed the same theme that U.S. Soccer is raising the bar with the implementation of the Pro license course, and it will only make the Union stronger to have a second member of their coaching staff take on the challenge.