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Coaching Certification Program

The Coaching for Life Academy offers a non-credit certificate in coaching and life skills development from Santa Clara University. 

This program is not sport-specific, and is designed for coaches who work primarily with athletes between the ages of 12-18 years old. The program is evidence-based and uses principles from the fields of education, psychology, business, and sport. The program is mostly self-paced and delivered online. Classes are small - approximately 20 students per class - to ensure personalized attention and substantive networking opportunities among students. The curriculum has been created for:

  • Experienced, career coaches who are interested in developing in the non-technical side of their sport
  • Aspiring coaches who want to take their career to the next level
  • Part-time coaches having at least 3+ years experience in the coaching profession

First-time coaches who are just beginning to coach are encouraged to continue first their development by gaining a few seasons of experience, and then check back with us. Those entering this program are expected to have a solid understanding of, and some experience in, coaching the technical and tactical side of their sport.

Certificate Program Requirements

  • Approximately 30 hours of online work and real-world assignments designed to apply the course’s principles, to be completed over a 4-6 month continuous period.
  • Real-world application of course principles is a critical component of this program. It is essential that a coach has a team or group of athletes with whom he or she can apply the principles learned in the program.
  • A new class begins every three months. Coaches should select the start date that works best with their schedule and ensures that they have a team or group of athletes to work with over the course of the 4-6 month program.
  • Coursework is done mostly at the coach's own pace, but two online, synchronous sessions are required. Coaches will meet their instructor and other classmates for a one-hour virtual classroom session at a specifically scheduled time. 
  • One in-person, culmination weekend (Friday evening through Sunday morning) on campus at Santa Clara University is required in order to complete the program.


Key program dates

Start Dates In-person culmination weekend at SCU*
November 1, 2017 April 27-29, 2018
February 1, 2018 July 20-22, 2018
May 1, 2018 October 26-28, 2018
August 1, 2018 January 25-27, 2019

*Attendance is mandatory in order to complete the program. In-person weekends begin at 6pm on Friday evening and end at 12pm noon on Sunday.



The certificate program consists of the following eight topics:

  1. Adolescent Development
  2. Core Values and Character
  3. Personal Life Skills
  4. Interpersonal Life Skills
  5. Athlete Leadership
  6. Feedback and Assessments
  7. Cultural Competency
  8. Parent Engagement

Individual Course Availability: If time and/or budget do not allow for participation in the full certificate program, or if you’d like to target just a specific topic, any of the eight courses listed above can be purchased and taken individually.



Tuition for the complete certificate program is $2,250. Cost of travel to campus, room and board, and any personal expenses during the culmination weekend at SCU are not included in the cost of tuition.

Individual courses can be purchased and taken at a cost of $350 per course. Any completed courses will contribute toward certification should a coach later decide to participate in the full program. Please contact our director to discuss pricing, as the cost of the certificate will depend upon how many individual courses have been completed.


  • Attention Soccer Coaches!

    The Coaching for Life Academy has partnered with United Soccer Coaches, formerly the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

    Coaches who complete the Coaching for Life Academy certificate program, and who designate soccer on their application, will also receive an additional diploma from United Soccer Coaches and a complimentary one-year membership to their organization.

Questions? Please contact Danielle Slaton, Coaching for Life Academy Director at or (408) 551-3048