Coach Education

For a coach starting out in Grassroots football, what are the first steps that they should take?

Firstly, they should ensure they are Garda Vetted and have completed the Safeguarding one workshop, then they should look to enter on to our Coach Education pathway.

Look at the entry point video below and register for a course relating to the age group they are coaching.

Video: Pathway Explained Entry Points

Webinar: 2021-2025 FAI Coach Education Pathway

Why is it important to complete the Garda Vetting form and Safeguarding course?
It is a statutory requirement, that all individuals, volunteers or paid, working with Children and Vulnerable Persons have completed Garda Vetting clearance before engaging with an Organisation or services.

Garda Vetting is a FAI Rule for all those working with children and or vulnerable persons (in a paid or voluntary capacity). Another part of the Safe recruitment is relevant training needed, it is a mandatory requirement that all coaches complete the Safeguarding 1 workshop.

What is the PDP1 course exactly?
The PDP 1 course is an entry level course on the Coach Education pathway and for coaches who are coaching at Under-6 to Under-9 age group.

The only prerequisite for this course will be that all participants are Garda vetted and have completed the Safeguarding 1 course before completing this course.

The PDP 1 course caters for all levels of coaches and focuses on the specifics in the age group of 6-9. It’s a one day course lasting 8 hours with content being a mix of theory and practical.

The courses are available all year round and spread out geographically around the country. The course can even be held and delivered in your club if you have a minimum of 10 coaches looking to participate and complete it, contact for more details.

What will I learn from the PDP1 course?
The course covers all areas of the game and training. Participants will learn about What is football?, the structure of the game, the playing formats and structures of the PDP plan for age the specific age groups.

How to plan and implement a coaching practice with examples and a booklet of coaching practice plans provided. The Coach Educator will deliver practical demonstrations and the participants then get the opportunity to get involved in small groups or pairs to put on a short practice.

The role of the grassroots coach. the characteristics of the players aged 6-9 and the importance of fun and enjoyment for this age group.

The course will also cover how the use of self-reflection can help improve you as a coach and therefore improve the players.

Are many of these courses taking place with COVID-19 restrictions still ongoing?
Currently the only courses that have recommenced are at UEFA A & B Licence level. The grassroots courses have not recommenced yet.

We are working very hard to get all courses back up and running and hope to have some good news very soon. We also recently recorded coaching practices with the intention of delivering PDP 1 and PDP 2 courses online with some post course assignments for participants in order to complete the course, this will be for those who have had their course cancelled due to covid-19. The participants who have registered for these courses will all be contacted by email with an update and options as soon as we have confirmation.

What if I’m managing at a more senior level than kids but haven’t done any coaching courses, where do I start out?
Great news! We have recently redesigned and updated our course catered for the senior game. The new course on our pathway is called the Adult Amateur Licence and covers all areas of the game relating to adult amateur football.

The only prerequisite for this course will be that all participants are Garda vetted and have completed the Safeguarding 1 course before completing this course.

The course will be a mix of theory and practical content and will be 16 hours long. The structure of the game, football actions, and coaching practice demonstrations relating to the adult game are just some examples of what will be covered on the course. The participants will also receive a booklet of coaching practice session plans.

What do I need in order to take part in any of the courses?
You need to book and register for the course online. Go to the FAI website and under the domestic section, click on book a course.

At the moment, due to COVID-19 there are no courses available online to book. We hope to update this soon so please keep an eye on the website, our social media and the newsletters.

If you have any further queries or questions please feel free to email

What is the difference between the PDP1 and PDP2 course?
In the 2021-2025 Coach Education Pathway both courses are one day and eight hours long.

The PDP 1 caters for coaches coaching at U6-U9, where the PDP 2 caters for coaches coaching at U10-U12.

The PDP 2 course content goes into more advanced detail on what is football, football actions and the PDP 2 formats and guides for these ages.

The Coach Educator demonstrations are more advanced and each participant must take part and coach after the demonstrations are delivered. Feedback on the practical will be then be provided to the group by the Coach Educator where learnings can be identified.

Similarly to the PDP 1, each coach will receive a booklet of age specific coaching practice plans, this time for the U10 – U12 ages, these plans will be more advanced than the PDP 1 coaching practice plans.

It is mandatory in the new pathway 2021-2025 to complete the PDP 1 course before completing the PDP 2 course.

Book a FAI Coaching Course

Coach Education taking next steps with Pathway

Following on from a positive reaction to the unveiling of the 2021-2025 Coach Education Pathway, the Football Association of Ireland is preparing to roll out a new cost-effective journey for coaches at all levels.
12th Aug 2020

Intent on creating a positive learning experience, the FAI Coach Education Department has been working hard within the High Performance Unit to introduce an updated structure that caters for the needs of the everyday coach.

FAI Head of Coach Education Niall O’Regan said: “When we were shaping the 2021-2025 Pathway, we relied heavily on the feedback of the hundreds of coaches whom we spoke with about what worked, what didn’t and what they wanted to see introduced.

“Along with guidance from UEFA and research into what other European nations are doing, we decided to place an even greater emphasis on making entry level courses cost-efficient and time-realistic in order to aid the development of Grassroots coaches. We are excited about these changes and believe that they will have a positive impact on Irish football.”

An example of the cost-effective measures being introduced is that through the previous Coach Education Pathway the route to completing the old Youth Certificate cost a coach between €450-€500 compared to €370 to reach the National D Licence level in the 2021-2025 Pathway.

  • Entry Point 1 – No Fee
  • PDP1 – €45
  • PDP2 – €45
  • Mandatory Workshops – 4 x €25
  • Optional Workshops – x 2 (four free options available)
  • Football Fitness D Licence – €45
  • Performance Analysis D Licence – €45
  • National D Licence – €90
  • Total: €370

The changes are not solely focused on costs, however, with time management taken into account e.g. PDP2 has gone from a two-day course to a one-day event, dropping from €75 to €45. In addition, the contact time for coaches has increased which ensures they will have more contact with Coach Educators – with a reduction in cost rather than an increase in fee – which guarantees coaches as much support in person as possible in their fundamental development stages.

In the professional courses, the additional CPD events and modules are working out cheaper than the previous hours model. There will also be an introduction of reality-based learning whereby coaches are assessed by Coach Educators in their own environment from UEFA B Licence level upwards.

The course fee stays the same with the UEFA B Licence being delivered over five contacts over a 9-12 month period costing €1,950 while the UEFA A Licence will be delivered over a 12-month period with six contact blocks, costing €3,250. These are elite level courses aimed at coaches wanting to work in the professional game.

Following on from the success of the Female-Only UEFA B Licence and the National C Licence courses provided for free to SSE Airtricity Under-17 & U-19 League and Women’s Under-17 National League players, the introduction of further free education is an important part of the 2021-2025 Pathway.

These courses and workshops will be available for free as part of the new Pathway:

  • Entry Points Online Workshops
  • PDP Workshop
  • Performance Analysis Intro
  • One Good Coach – Mental Health
  • Grassroots Diet & Nutrition

The FAI Coach Education Department are also working on plans to offer free presentations and workshops to all coaches who register for the new e-Learning Coaches Club, which will have latest news, session plans, top tips, interactive videos and exclusive interviews.

FAI High Performance Director Ruud Dokter said: “The changes being implemented as part of the roll-out of the 2021-2025 FAI Coach Education Pathway mean that courses will be even more accessible & affordable to coaches as they map out their own coaching journey.

“It is important that we work with the coaches to support them throughout their journey and that is something that will shape the new Pathway. Whether they are a Grassroots coach, Elite Youth coach or Professional coach, it is now clear how they can go about developing further with the support of our Coach Education Department.

“It is fantastic that we will soon have an e-Learning platform, more courses available online, and a practical approach to delivering courses with the coach very much in mind. These changes will ultimately help develop better all-round and specialist coaches who, in turn, will help to develop better players for Irish football.”