Coach Education

FAI launches Coach Education Pathway 2017-2020


The Football Association of Ireland launched the Coach Education Pathway 2017-2020 at the FAI National Training Centre on Monday, December 12.

FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter, FAI Coach Education manager Niall O’Regan and FAI Coach Education Co-ordinator Warren Bolger were joined by coaches Paul Osam, Barbara O’Connell and Marcus Grant at the launch.

Republic of Ireland Under 16 Head Coach Osam is currently participating on the FAI UEFA Pro Licence course, former Cork City WFC player Barbara O’Connell has just completed the FAI National C Licence and Limerick DSL coach Marcus Grant has just commenced the UEFA B qualification.

The FAI’s Coach Education Pathway 2017-2020 has been tailored to suit the needs to coaches whose ambitions are to work in different strands of the game – grassroots and volunteer level to elite/professional level.

“It is hugely important that coaches around the country understand their role in fulfilling the Player Development Plan and the restructuring of the Coach Education Pathway will facilitate those that wish to coach with grassroots clubs and those with ambitions to work with elite players,” said FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter.

“The coaches we have here today represent the different strands of Irish football that we are looking to cater for. It’s not just about the Elite but also ensuring the game improves across all levels. Coaches are vital for this.”

FAI Coach Education manager Niall O’Regan said: “The pathway is based on the theory of reality based learning and is directly aligned to the FAI Player Development Plan.

“We have introduced the Elite Grassroots Licence for those wishing to become an Elite Coach in the grassroots game without requiring to enter the Licence pathway. The Elite Grassroots Licence will provide for those coaches that have accumulated 100 hours of grassroots coach education.” 

The significant change to the grassroots pathway means that now coaches enter in the reality based learning model at the level they are coaching. 

The Kick-Start 1 & 2 courses will be renamed PDP 1 & 2 and the relevant courses will now be: PDP 1 (formerly KS1): 6 to 9 year olds; PDP 2 (formerly KS2): - 9 to 12 year olds; PDP 3 (formerly Youth Certificate): 13 to 18 year olds; Adult Intro (Formerly Senior Intro): adult players.

Grassroots coaches seeking to progress to the Licenced level must complete a minimum of 40 hours of grassroots education before entering the Licence pathway at the D Licence Level.

“Another positive of the new pathway is that the progression to Licence Level for grassroots coaches now represents a significant cost saving of €125 on the previous pathway,” added O’Regan.

The significant changes to the Licence Pathway are the introduction of the following structure: National D Licence, National C Licence, UEFA B Licence, UEFA A Licence, UEFA A Elite Youth and UEFA Pro Licence. After completing the UEFA A Licence coaches are eligible to apply where suitable for the Elite Youth A and or the UEFA Pro Licence.

As part of the new pathway the specialist Goalkeeper Coaching route and futsal coaching route are now outlined.

It is now compulsory with FAI Coach Education that each coach will complete their Garda Vetting (or equivalent internationally) prior to entering the course, the FAI Child Welfare Training Programme and coaches entering the pathway as of 2017 will have to be a registered coach with the FAI Coach Education Department.

All FAI Coach Education courses nationwide will now be available to book from: FAI Coach Education Courses. Further details of courses can also be received by emailing 


Entry Routes to Licensed Coaching:

Entry route 1: National D Licence 

From Grassroots Pathway in which the coach has completed 40 hours of grassroots education and then applies for the National D Licence.

Entry route 2: National C Licence 

Any coach who currently has the FAI Youth Certificate have up until the end of 2017 to complete a conversion course to convert their qualification to a National C Licence – from 2018 onwards those with an FAI Youth Certificate will have to complete the full C Licence course. 

Entry point 3: National C Licence 

Once a coach has completed their National D Licence they then progress onto National C Licence. It is also the case that this is also the entry point for SSE Airtricity League or Elite Players.

Entry point 4: UEFA B

Once a coach has completed the National C Licence they will be recommended a time frame to progress to the UEFA B. Specialist Criteria: Under UEFA Convention, a former/current player whom has a minimum of five years of active playing (minimum 10 appearances annually) in the SSE Airtricity League or higher can enter at this phase. 


Coaches must have the UEFA B for a minimum of 12 months 

UEFA Elite Youth A Licence

Coach can enter this once they have an A Licence.

UEFA Pro Licence


Coach must have the A Licence for minimum 12 months and be working at required level