Innovate to Grow

US Club Soccer launched its Innovate to Grow program, Coach Education for Current & Former Players, in collaboration with NorCal Premier Soccer and SOCAL Soccer League. The program will include a fully funded U.S. Soccer grassroots coach licensing pathway to ignite a passion for coaching to current players and former players who are new to coaching aged 18-30.

What is the Coach Education for Current & Former Players Program?

US Club Soccer strongly believes in U.S. Soccer’s philosophy that education is a journey, and our goal is to provide the necessary tools, guidance, and mentorship a coach requires.

One demographic that is rarely been represented in coach education around the country are current players, specifically in the high school to college/post-college age group. Additionally, many former players have a passion and love for the game but lack the mentoring or resources to begin formal coaching education.

US Club Soccer believes that to start the “journey” of education, coaches must be able to ignite their passion for coaching at a young age and have low/no barriers of entry.

Who Qualifies for the Program?

To be considered for funding from the Innovate to Grow program sponsored by US Club Soccer, in collaboration with NorCal Premier Soccer and SOCAL Soccer League, current and former players must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. A current or former player;
  2. Ages 18 – 30 years old (at the start of the course);
  3. Beginning their coaching journey;
  4. Registering for a U.S. Soccer Grassroots or ‘D’ License hosted by US Club Soccer and NorCal Premier Soccer or SOCAL Soccer League;
  5. Eligible for the course based on U.S. Soccer’s eligibility requirements for the selected license.

Innovate to Grow funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified candidates. A coach may be awarded a maximum of three grants to be used for two grassroots courses and one ‘D’ course.

How to Apply


In order to ensure your application is processed in a timely manner AND that you don’t have your application denied, please review the following:

  • Your application must be for a US Club Soccer-hosted course; the title of the course must include the words Innovate to Grow. 
  • Coaches must request and be approved for an Innovate to Grow Coaching Education Grant before they register for a course.
  • Applications must be submitted a minimum of 5 business days before a course starts. We cannot guarantee that an application that is submitted less than 4 business days from the start of the course will be processed before the course begins.
  • Coaches are encouraged to apply for the grant and register as soon as they are approved. We cannot guarantee spots will be available on any course. 
  • Applications will be denied if: 
    • You don’t meet the grant eligibility requirements.
    • Your application is incomplete.
    • You submit more than one course per application.
    • You do not select an Innovate to Grow course hosted by US Club Soccer and SOCAL Soccer League or NorCal Premier Soccer League. 
    • Your application is submitted less than 5 business days before the start of the course.
    • Your application is submitted after the course is full/waitlisted.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact US Club Soccer.

Step 1: Review the above eligibility criteria to make sure you qualify.

Step 2: Find an Innovate to Grow course in the Learning Center using the instructions above. Reminder: Only those courses listed in the U.S. Soccer Learning Center with the label “Innovate to Grow” are eligible for this program. To find a list of eligible courses, please visit the U.S. Soccer Learning Center, select the level of license and search by host (US Club Soccer) and state (California).

Step 3: Select the course in the Learning Center and write down the details of the course. You will need the complete name of the course, date(s) and location for your Innovate to Grow application.

Step 4: To complete your application, click on the Innovate to Grow application link on the course information page. Coaches must complete one application per course.

Step 5: Once you are approved (please allow five business days for approval), return to the course you selected in the Learning Center and use the provided registration code to register for a course at no cost to you.

Content Overview

For the Grassroots licenses, the courses are tailored around the four new grassroots game models: 4v4, 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11. These course options will offer coaches the chance to learn more about how to develop a player-centered approach to coaching. Coaches will learn about U.S. Soccer’s coaching education philosophy, play-practice-play methodology and the six tasks of a grassroots coach, amongst other topics.

In addition to the grassroots game models, coaches may also continue their coaching journey to the ‘D’ License. Coaches will learn to create environments that are inclusive, fun, and safe for children (ages U6-U12) promoting their love for the game. Additionally, coaches will learn how to effectively plan training sessions using developmentally appropriate activities as well as understanding individual player development, and other topics.

What is Innovate to Grow?

Recognizing the vital role that Federation Members play in the growth of soccer in the U.S., the Innovate to Grow Fund was established in 2017 to help U.S. Soccer member organizations launch new and innovative programs designed to grow participation in their markets.

To be considered for grant funding, members’ proposed programs were required to meet certain criteria as part of a comprehensive application process, including:

  • The program must be new and different from current efforts.
  • The program must demonstrate capability to grow participation.
  • The program must demonstrate potential to scale in other markets.
  • The program must align with U.S. Soccer Player Development Initiatives.
  • The member must also be financially invested in the program.