Scott Armstrong (left) and Willie Daffron (right) have both earned National Youth Licenses from U.S. Soccer.

Two Space Coast United coaches have earned National Youth Licenses through U.S. Soccer.

Scott Armstrong, SCU’s executive director of coaching and Willie Daffron, who coaches the club’s U-15 Boys team, both earned the accreditation after what both described as a rigorous process.

“It was a really, really good process that takes you through the entire pathway of a youth player and through their ages and stages of development, understanding how an 11 and 12 year-old develops differently than obviously a 14 or 15-year-old up to 18 and 19 so it was very, very in-depth,” Armstrong said.

What was unique about the course that the pair completed their coursework simultaneously with their coaching at SCU.

“The course is set up to run the length of our season, so we started at the beginning of the season, going through the planning and how you plan a season all the way through implementing the season and then to the end of the season and how you evaluate and make plans for the following season,” Daffron said.

Within that season, Armstrong noted that the program managed to keep its intricacy despite the pandemic, so much so that it ended much in the way a graduate course in college would.

“It takes you through numerous different areas so we had to learn or work through leading a player to manage in our performance environments to leading a team, running training sessions, they were evaluated. During COVID we couldn’t get together so we had to video and send everything in and get the evaluation online and then it was a process of going through each one of those and submitting your presentation and then at the end to have an accumulation of all of those projects and then present our final in a format of a thesis that you had present and defend to some degree,” said Armstrong, who has coached for a total 28 years.

Both coaches stressed that their leadership skills were not just analyzed but hopefully improved as the result of their coursework, which seemed to lead both to look introspectively.

“A big part it was our own leadership, not only leading ourselves but also leading a team and leading the people around us that we have to associate with to provide a program for the kids. We went into a lot of detail about how you analyze a game, how do we analyze our own performance on the field during a training session so that we can constantly improve as we continue to go on with coaching,” Daffron said.

Armstrong echoed similar sentiments.

“I really had to identify the leadership style that you implement as a coach and as part of my course learning, was to see how I’ve had to adapt and learn how kids learn today which is very different than what I learned and how I learned so a leadership style for me was a big part of my thesis,” Armstrong said.

The best news is the beneficiaries of both Armstrong and Daffron’s hard work will be the youth at SCU moving forward.

“Understanding how they work and how each age bracket has to build into one another has been a huge piece for me,” Armstrong added.