U-17 Head Coach, 24 MLS Coaches to Start Elite Formation Coaching License Program on February 1 in Paris 

NEW YORK (Friday, January 27, 2023) – Major League Soccer today announced that 25 coaches will be participating in the Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL) program in partnership with the French Football Federation (FFF). Made available to MLS coaches in 2013, this group of candidates represent the fifth class from MLS to take part in the EFCL. Overall, the EFCL platform has played a pivotal role in MLS Homegrown development and the growth of several head coaches, assistants, and general managers throughout MLS and MLS NEXT Pro.

One of the most highly regarded and rigorous soccer coaching courses in the world, the EFCL will run a total of seven weeks over an 18-month period (February 2023 – July 2024), which begins on February 1 at the famed INF Clairefontaine outside of Paris. After completing a week of sessions, coaches will participate in club observations from February 8-15, where they will be immersed within many top European teams for one week to observe the academy and player development system. Participating clubs include Arsenal (England), Le Havre AC (France), RC Lens (France), AS Monaco (France), FC Nantes (France), Stade Rennais (France), RC Strasbourg (France), Toulouse FC (France), and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Germany).

In addition to the seven-week commitment, the candidates will meet in smaller regional camps for field instruction and candidate evaluation during two additional extended weekends over the 18 months.

“The Elite Formation Coaching License, in partnership with the French Football Federation, has already made a substantial impact on MLS player development through the rigorous education of our MLS coaches,” said Fred Lipka, MLS Vice President of Player and Youth Development. “We are thrilled to have 25 talented and diverse individuals participating in the program as these candidates will become not just experts in the player development field, but also leaders in their club and soccer communities. We look forward to these coaches mastering the information and methodology they acquire over the next 18 months.”

Coaches and front office members who previously received their Elite Formation Coaching License have laid strong coaching foundations across MLS and MLS NEXT Pro over the last decade. Notable graduates include current MLS head coaches Nico Estévez (FC Dallas), Luchi Gonzalez (San Jose Earthquakes), Wilfried Nancy (Columbus Crew), and Greg Vanney (LA Galaxy). Additionally, six current MLS NEXT Pro head coaches have completed the program.

Among the 25 candidates taking part in this iteration of the ECFL program, Erin Ridley of the San Jose Earthquake becomes the first woman from MLS to participate in the program.

Below are the candidates from MLS who will participate in the program over the next 18 months.

2023-24 Elite Formation Coaching License Candidates




Atlanta United

Will Bates

U13 Head Coach

Charlotte FC

Patrick Daka

U13 Head Coach/Head of Development

Chicago Fire FC

Selim Talbi

U15 Head Coach

FC Cincinnati

Tyrone Marshall

MLS NEXT Pro Head Coach

Colorado Rapids

Elliot Prost

U17 Head Coach

Columbus Crew

Eric Dutt

U15 Head Coach

D.C. United

Matt Arrington

Director of Coaching

FC Dallas

Adam Wells

U15 Head Coach

Houston Dynamo FC

Jeremy Hurdle

U15 Head Coach

Sporting Kansas City

Luis Pacheco

U15 Head Coach

LA Galaxy

Sam Al-Basith

U13 Head Coach

LA Galaxy

Benoit David

U15 Head Coach

Inter Miami CF

Pedro Cavalcanti

U15 Head Coach

Minnesota United FC

Peter McDonnell

U15 Head Coach

Nashville SC

Jason Boxx

U15 Head Coach

New England Revolution

Rob Becerra

Academy Director

New England Revolution

Liam Connors

U14 Head Coach

New York City FC

Michael Dal Pra

U15 Head Coach

New York Red Bulls

Jonathan Rhodes

U17 Head Coach

Portland Timbers

Shannon Murray

MLS NEXT Pro Head Coach

Real Salt Lake

Andrew May

U17 Head Coach

San Jose Earthquakes

Erin Ridley

U15 Head Coach

San Jose Earthquakes

Steven Sosa

U17 Head Coach

Seattle Sounders FC

Brayton Knapp

U15 Head Coach

Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Dan Fairhurst

U15 Head Coach

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