Mr. Scott, coach of the Andover Boys Varsity Soccer Team, recently received an International Premier coaching diploma, the highest level of coaching degree. The Premier Course is a 50-hour course “designed to teach advanced methodology with full-sided soccer (11vs.11) as its focal point.” Mr. Scott traveled in April to the Lillehshall National Soccer Centre in England to participate in a 9-day training session that examined different aspects of the game, including lectures on systems of play, team management, psychology, nutrition, and fitness. There was an equal amount of time spent on the field performing the techniques presented in the classroom. There were four assessments that Mr. Scott was graded on while being considered for the diploma, including a match analysis of a Wolverhampton vs. Middlebrough game, the creation of a training session to address the weaknesses of the Middlesbrough defense in the aftermath of the game, an oral exam, and a field session where he trained a group of players on a specific topic provided by instructors. To be eligible for the Premier Course, coaches must be a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), and also must have earned the Advanced National Diploma with a “Distinguished Pass” grade. Other criteria include coaching and playing background, community leadership and contribution to the game. The Director of Coaching Education individually considers applications because there is limited enrollment. Mr. Scott has been a member of the NSCAA for twenty-five years and has always desired to earn their highest diploma, but stated that his main motivation for getting the Premier diploma was to improve as a soccer coach and hopefully provide the PA soccer players with a quality experience during the fall season. When asked what was the most important thing he got out of the training session, Mr. Scott responded, “To have an intensive learning experience with fellow coaches from around the states and to think about systems of play in an academic way is something that I had never really done before. The course challenged me to think about my coaching and the system we use in ways that simply couldn’t happen without the structure of a program like the Premier course.” After completion of the program, Mr. Scott’s main plan for improving the soccer team next year is to revise his player organization on the field. “We have played a 4-4-2 system for years and I think we will continue to play this system with a few modifications. The course challenged me to think about adjustments that can be made when the team is behind in the last twenty minutes of a game. We have rarely trained with this in mind and I am eager to think about ways to prepare the boys in practice for situations like that,” explained Mr. Scott. Mr. Scott will put these new ideas into action next fall when he and the Andover Boys Varsity Soccer team, who finished 12-4-2 and reached the NEPSSA Final this past year, kickoff their 2004 season.