For players who aspire to turn professional, one of the many opportunities they can find in a pro football academy in Europe is the quality and experience of its technical staff. These players are led by UEFA certified coaches, who implement the French Federation of Football’s (FFF) coaching methodology, to benefit and feed the most performant professional clubs around the world.
About the UEFA coaching certification
Preparing for a UEFA Pro, A or B certification represents more than thousands of hours of study and experience on and off the field with youth and adult players. It takes skill, passion and years of studies to graduate and be able to coach at the highest level.
A UEFA certified coach is an experienced football expert able to:
- Manage and coordinate a full technical team;
- Develop and execute individualized training plans;
- Scout talent for professional clubs and plan for players’ career;
- Monitor players’ development and performance;
- Analyze all phases of the game assisted by technological tools;
- Implement mental conditioning and psychology techniques within the group;
- Plan competition with team’s objectives in mind (short, middle and long term);
- Establish as a mentor and a leader of the group;
- Acknowledge and follow UEFA rules and regulations.
In addition, many of the UEFA certified coaches at ICEF are also former professional players, allowing them to take the training to an even higher level.
Meet a few members of ICEF’s technical staff:
The International Center of European Football brings together the highest UEFA and/ or FFF certified technical professionals and youth development experts to prepare international players to play at the French national level.
Head Coach and General Technical Manager
Football Academy: Olympique Lyonnais, Grenoble Foot 38
Certification: UEFA A License, Master’s degree in Sports Management
“I ended my player career because my passion for coaching was stronger and I initiated my coaching career at FC Lyon which is to this day, one of the best French clubs for non-professional players. I am very proud of having developed high potential players into professionals, amongst them:
- Hamza Rafia – U23 Juventus FC and Tunisian national player | Italian Pro D1
- Marvin Tshibuabua – AS Saint-Etienne and U17 French national player | French Pro D1
- Adam Yousfi – FC Sochaux-Montbéliard and U20 Tunisian national player | French Pro D2
- Kamal Bafounta – Borussia Dortmund Reserve player | German Pro D1
- Muamer Aljic – Clermont Foot player | French Pro D2
- Ayoub Meftai – Thonon Evian Grand Geneve FC player | French National League
- Sabri Randjioui – LB Châteauroux player | French Pro D2
They are my biggest pride and I work relentlessly to keep developing new players in the new generation of football requirements and play.”
Head Coach – First Team Thonon Evian Grand Geneve FC
Eric Guichard is the Head Coach of ICEF’s first team, Thonon Evian Grand Geneve FC, competing at the French national level. He interacts with the residents on a daily basis, observes them during training sessions and games, and monitors their progress. During the season, coach Eric invites the most advanced players to train with his team to test their abilities and receive exposure to be scouted and play at the French national level.
“I am creating strong connections between players from the club and the academy, also creating plenty of opportunities for the international student-athletes to live the life of a genuine professional player from the inside, and learn the reality about being a professional football player.”
Coach Eric’s career
Player experience: 1974-1997
Football Academy: Olympique Lyonnais
Honors: France Champion (D2, D3)
Coach experience: 1995- present
Certification: UEFA A license, FFF DEF “Brevet d’Etat”, FFF DES “Diplôme d’Etat Supérieur Football”
Clubs: France Pro Ligue 2, French National leagues 1,2 and 3, France CFA league
Honors: Winner of the “Coupe de la Ligne” vs. Paris Saint-Germain FC (2000) with F.C. Gueugnon, quarter finalists of the “Coupe de France” with Stade Brestois 29.
Head coach – Thonon Evian Grand Geneve FC Reserve Team
Bryan Bergougnoux brings his personal experience in the French Pro Ligue 1 to coach the Thonon Evian Grand Geneve FC Reserve team. He is also in charge of developing ICEF student-athletes’ competition program together with coach Julien. Coach Bryan interacts with the residents on a daily basis, observes them during training sessions and integrates them into the club’s teams to maximize their progress in intense competition.
“ICEF players progress faster than in any other academy because in addition to the group training sessions, they receive position-specific and individualized training sessions. I often compare ICEF to Olympique Lyonnais’ football academy, where I was trained to become a professional player. It is a very similar, and improved version.”
Coach Bryan’s career
Player experience: 2001-2018
Football Academy: Olympique Lyonnais
Clubs: France Pro Ligue 1, Italy Pro Serie B, U15, U16, U17, U21 French National Team player,
Champions League player with Olympique Lyonnais and Toulouse FC, Europa League player with Toulouse FC.
Honors: (x3) France Champion (D1), Italy Champion (D2),
Coach experience: 2015- present
Certification: UEFA A license, FFF DEF “Brevet d’Etat”
Goalkeeper Coach and Assistant Coach
Aldo Zilio is the Head Goalkeeper Coach and Assistant Coach to Julien Bernard and Eric Guichard. He is in charge of the development of all goalkeepers for the academy and the elite teams of the club. Coach Aldo is in constant communication with ICEF players and contributes to the development of the entire group’s progress and competition program, and more specifically the goalkeepers.
Coach Aldo’s career
Player experience: 15 years of experience in Italy | D4 and National league
Football Academy: Venice Football Club, Italy
Coach experience: 1995- present
Certification: UEFA B license in progress, Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science, Physical Massage therapist
Academies and clubs: AC Milan Academy (Italy), FIGC GK Technical Director (Italy), Paris Saint-Germain Academy Florida(USA), FC Miami City (USA)
Physical and Recovery Trainer
Frederic Simonet is in charge of the physical development and performance of ICEF’s residents, monitoring physical status, physical tests, and organizing educational prevention to avoid injuries. He works hand in hand with Julien and the physical therapist team to establish an individualized physical development program adapted to each player’s age and needs. He also takes care of the injured players’ recovery programs to fasten and optimize their return to the group training and competition.
Coach Frederic’s career
Experience: 2015- present
Certification: Master’s degree in physical and mental development and recovery, FFF coaching license
Tryouts are open for next season
Online tryouts are open for ICEF’s 10-month Pro Residency program. Elite players born between 1997 and 2009 can try out to join the International Center of European Football for the 2020 – 2021 season. Only 2 spots remain available at this time. The 10-months program will kick off on August 24th.