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This article focuses on how the French Federation outlined and successfully orchestrated the rebirth of French football. I know it would have drastically helped ‘reset’ ours.

The French Federation (FFF), under the guidance of Ami Jacquet, outlined and successfully orchestrated the improvement of French coaches/players.  I am positive this information can also help ‘reboot’ US coaches/players.

The French Federation’s most important task under Ami Jacquet became “The Development and Education of Coaches.”  The FFF is now very specific and demanding on the training of all coaches because, as Ami asserted, “If the coaches are well educated, then soccer success will follow!”

Training Issues Include:

  • When the coach is preparing his training sessions, the Emphasis is to be on Technical Ability, convictions, and conception of what soccer should look like. 
  • They must consider the players’ age and the proper objectives linked to that age. 
  • They must be precise and professional. 
  • Every coach has access to many soccer exercises but has to know the proper way to proceed and to present them. 
  • The advice given to each player is very important. 
  • The coach must be careful of his language to help the players understand his methods. 
  • No yelling is tolerated. 
  • Objectives and issues in training are clear to the players. 
  • The players have the best training conditions and train one time daily, five days a week.

In the training sessions, the quality of soccer movements is emphasized.  These are corrected and repeated until they become a regular part of the player’s package of skills.  The coaches must be quality demonstrators.

The coaches will then work on the following:

  • Making the player’s movements faster and better
  • Linking movements efficiently and wisely.  Coaches constantly ask the player why they use a particular move in a certain situation
  • Using the weakest foot. Coaches will develop specific sessions to work on weaknesses in the player’s game
  • Technical exercises with high reoccurrences
  • Games with the possibility of many choices and reflections
  • Simple tactical exercises force the player to make a quick decision

The priorities for the coaches are:

  • The methods in which they work.  France was the only country in Europe with a youth coaching license required (at that time).
  • To develop a highly qualified technical staff, all licensed and well trained

are equipped with the proper information.

The Federation has a calendar and program for each coach in each region to follow, ensuring continuity throughout the year. Once a year, all the coaches in the country are brought together to look at last year’s program and make recommendations for the following year’s work method.

To become a high-level coach, one must begin by working with youth players, or they will be severely handicapped in their developmental process.  Understanding the youth process is an integral part of the coaching evolution.

The French Football Federation operates under the principle that “This work is vital for the game of tomorrow.”  The better job they do in the development of quality players at the youth level, the more accomplished professional players will burst onto the scene. 


Up until they are 16, the French work only on individual techniques.  The relationship is just the ball and the player to improve ball control.  They stress that players need complete control over the ball before moving on to tactics and strategies, when to pass and when not to pass. A term they often use, “Passing the ball is the language of the soccer player.”

Ball control is the basis of the game (always done while moving).  The young French players are taught to feint when receiving or passing, allowing them to get in or out of tight marking situations. All sessions include lots of shooting and special training on crossing the ball.

The priorities for the players are:

  • To become a professional player with the maximum chance of succeeding
  • Keep up with their studies so they can have a career in case soccer does not work out

Coach Ami stressed to all coaches that out of all the elements, the ‘Development of the Technical Ability is the Most Important.’  The FFF continues to uphold this reasoning.

I would like to ‘Thank’ Ami Jacquet, who was kind enough to share his program development with me.  For those who don’t know, Ami Jacquet is the former Technical Director of French Football and Manager of the National Team that won the 1998 FIFA World Cup.

Roby Stahl

Roby Stahl is the Emeritus State Director of Coaching for the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association. He attained the following prestigious coaching credentials: United States Soccer Federation (USSF) “A” License; National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Advanced National Diploma; Swedish Elite License; Brazilian Elite License; and Canadian “B” License. He has played and coached professionally overseas and in the United States. He has been involved at the National Level within the U, S. at numerous levels. Some of Roby’s former players include Michelle Akers, Julie Foudy, Kristin Lilly of the US Women’s National Team, and many other players now playing overseas or within the MLS. Roby is one of the most experienced coaches in the United States, bringing an Elite approach to coaching our youth & A kontributor to FUNdamental SOCCER for decades!