Coaches and Coaching


FA Education provides a comprehensive approach to developing coaches from grassroots to elite level.  



The first step for new coaches is to take The FA Playmaker course which is for anyone interested in taking a more active role in grassroots football. This is available for anyone over the age of 14.


You can then progress to The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football which provides you with an introduction to coaching the game and working with players from under seven to open age.


From there you can progress to The FA Level 2 and Level 3 (UEFA B). Beyond that, The FA Level 4 (UEFA A) and The FA Level 5 (UEFA Pro) are suitable for elite level coaches.


To work with U18s you must have, at a minimum, The FA Playmaker qualification and a valid DBS. These minimum qualifications have been brought in temporarily during the current Covid-19 situation which has prevented many face-to-face courses taking place. These are likely to change once the pandemic subsides.


Best practice is to hold the following:


  • The FA Level 1 in Coaching Football 
  • In date FA Safeguarding qualification – you will initially do The FA Safeguarding Children Workshop. This is a 3 hour course which is delivered face to face as part of the Level 1 course. It is valid for 3 years and must then be renewed. The renewal is done online by taking the Online Safeguarding Children Re-Certification module which is found here


  • In date FA First Aid qualification – this is done as a 3 hour face to face course as part of your Level 1. This lasts 3 years and must be renewed in a face to face course.


  • In date Disclosure and Barring Service check – this is carried out by Northumberland FA and usually paid for by your club. It must be renewed every 3 years.


When your qualifications lapse, you will not be allowed to coach until they have been renewed. Northumberland FA and your club receive online notification that these elements are about to go out of date, giving you plenty of time to renew them.



Being an FA licensed coach means you’ll also be immediately connected to a community linked by a culture of lifelong learning and development. As well as regular CPD events there are lots of resources online including


The Boot Room  

The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club  


Level 1 and 2 coaches are encouraged to continue to develop their practice. Coaches at Level 3 and above must register at least 5 hours of CPD on a course recognised by The FA.

Yes, providing they have taken The FA Playmaker course and hold a valid DBS.


This is a minimum qualification for working with children, and has been brought in temporarily during the current Covid-19 situation which has prevented many face-to-face courses taking place. It is likely to change once the pandemic subsides.


Under usual circumstances (and following best practice), if you know that you’re not going to be available then you should arrange for the training or match to be overseen by someone who holds a valid Level 1 Coaching qualification, including in date Safeguarding, First Aid and DBS. This is for reasons of safety, insurance, quality training and protection of children.

 The only exception to this is in the case of genuine emergencies. But even if this case, the person standing in for the coach MUST hold a valid DBS.


 Anyone who coaches a team must have taken The FA Playmaker course and hold a valid DBS check. 


These minimum qualifications have been brought in temporarily during the current Covid-19 situation which has prevented many face-to-face courses taking place. These are likely to change once the pandemic subsides.

Under usual circumstances, every team must have a qualified Level 1 coach (with in date DBS, First Aid and Safeguarding) overseeing all matches and training sessions.


If you have a new team where the manager is currently taking their Level 1, you will need to appoint a qualified coach to oversee all sessions until the regular manager becomes qualified.


Many clubs do this by having a list of coaches from established teams who will mentor a new coach until they complete their qualification. But the coach in training cannot be in sole charge of players until they are qualified.


Anyone who is assisting with coaching a team MUST HAVE a valid DBS (including coaches going through their Level 1, even if they are being supervised by a fully qualified coach.



Yes!  You must hold a valid DBS and have taken The FA Playmaker course - which is free and will give you a great introduction to volunteering in football.




Want to know what happens at a discipline hearing?

We've got a visual guide which may help. You can also download it and print it out here.

Club administration

Social media is a useful way to keep in contact for clubs and teams - but it can be misused and as a result, children can be put at risk.

Sharing personal information about young players on open forums such as Facebook pages, Twitter or via webinars leaves them open to grooming.

Please take a moment to read the social media guidelines here. They can also be printed off as a poster or forwarded to your teams, coaches and parents.

In particular, please ensure:

  • All social media groups are private and can't be viewed publicly

  • Never put personal information about children on social media sites, even if it's a private group. Details such as birthdays, favourite players and where they go to school can unfortunately be used for grooming.
  • Take care if you are using tools such as Zoom and Skype for webinars - children should only take part in the presence of their parents and you should not share screen shots of these webinars on your social media pages

It is everyone's responsibility to safeguard children and this is something that we take very seriously in football. Please check all your club and team social media sites and ensure they meet these guidelines.

It is not appropriate for youth  team kit to feature logos relating to age restricted products.

In practice, this means that kit should not feature logos relating to businesses involved in gambling, alcohol and tattoos among others.

References to pubs and restaurants MAY be allowed, unless they exist solely for the supply and consumption of alcohol – in reality this means that sponsorship by pub restaurants may be acceptable, but sponsorship by an establishment such as a nightclub or pub that doesn’t serve food would not be allowed. In this instance you should contact Northumberland FA for guidance and approval.

Alcoholic drinks, breweries and products, services or activities related to gambling are unlikely to be permissible under any circumstances

These regulations are issued by The FA and aim to safeguard our young players. The full regulations are available on The FA’s website – link below.

Please contact us for advice if you are in any doubt, before you enter into a contractual agreement and we will be happy to assist you.



A hard copy is available to buy from the IFAB website, or you can view them online for free - click here.
IFAB also have an excellent free app which you can download from here.