The UEFA A License course is designed for coaches who have obtained the UEFA B Part 2 Licence (Level 3) within the last 5 years (or have undertaken a refresher course) and wish to build upon this qualification. The UEFA A License is the highest practical coaching licence available that focuses primarily on actual coaching techniques and skill building and is specifically designed for the 11v11 game. For candidates with sufficient talent and access to top level teams, it and can lead to the UEFA Pro Licence or FA Academy Managers award. UEFA A courses are always run as residential national courses and are split into two parts - candidates are advised to pre plan their applications because of the small number of courses run each year.
The structure of the course itself can vary depending on the provider but the UEFA A License Part 1 is usually run as a 13 day residential national course offering a minimum of 120 hours of contact time. Part 2 also offers 120 hours of guided learning but is run as an 8 day residential course. Both courses cover a wide range of advanced topics related to the development of senior players and teams and use both practical and theoretical components to build on candidates' knowledge and experience. Practical elements considered include counter attack, striker shadowing, wide area attack, defending as a team and overcoming offside. Theoretical aspects include such diverse topics as match analysis and team performance, psychology of the game and motivation of players and a wide range of game play tactics and strategies.
As one would expect with a course of this standard, the application criteria are quite extensive. In addition to holding the FA Level 3 coaching certificate, candidates need to show evidence of complying with the Level 3 action plan, demonstrate on going evidence of coaching experience and currently be regularly working with an 11 a side team. In addition, candidates are required to attend the one day UEFA A Preparatory Course before making their application.
Assessment of candidates is undertaken during the residential training sessions and seeks to gauge competence in all key areas of coaching such as training session management and delivery, communication, observation and diagnosis/feedback. Candidates are required to deliver several coaching sessions and complete project assignments and recorded coaching sessions.
Given the high level of the UEFA A Course and its residential nature, course costs are significantly higher than for the lower level FA coaching badges with typical prices ranging from £2,500 to £3,300 in 2012/13.