Major League Soccer today announced that 25 coaches will be participating in the Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL) program in partnership with the French Football Federation (FFF). Among the selected candidates is Sporting Kansas City's U-15 Head Coach Luis Pacheco. Made available to MLS coaches in 2013, this group of candidates represent the fifth class from MLS to take part in the EFCL. Overall, the EFCL platform has played a pivotal role in MLS Homegrown development and the growth of several head coaches, assistants, and general managers throughout MLS and MLS NEXT Pro.
One of the most highly regarded and rigorous soccer coaching courses in the world, the EFCL will run a total of seven weeks over an 18-month period (February 2023 – July 2024), which begins on February 1 at the famed INF Clairefontaine outside of Paris. After completing a week of sessions, coaches will participate in club observations from February 8-15, where they will be immersed within many top European teams for one week to observe the academy and player development system. Participating clubs include Arsenal (England), Le Havre AC (France), RC Lens (France), AS Monaco (France), FC Nantes (France), Stade Rennais (France), RC Strasbourg (France), Toulouse FC (France), and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (Germany).
In addition to the seven-week commitment, the candidates will meet in smaller regional camps for field instruction and candidate evaluation during two additional extended weekends over the 18 months.
“The Elite Formation Coaching License, in partnership with the French Football Federation, has already made a substantial impact on MLS player development through the rigorous education of our MLS coaches,” said Fred Lipka, MLS Vice President of Player and Youth Development. “We are thrilled to have 25 talented and diverse individuals participating in the program as these candidates will become not just experts in the player development field, but also leaders in their club and soccer communities. We look forward to these coaches mastering the information and methodology they acquire over the next 18 months.”
Coaches and front office members who previously received their Elite Formation Coaching License have laid strong coaching foundations across MLS and MLS NEXT Pro over the last decade. Notable graduates include current MLS head coaches Nico Estévez (FC Dallas), Luchi Gonzalez (San Jose Earthquakes), Wilfried Nancy (Columbus Crew), and Greg Vanney (LA Galaxy). Additionally, six current MLS NEXT Pro head coaches have completed the program.
Pacheco joined Sporting KC's Academy in the fall of 2017 with nearly a decade of coaching experience in his back pocket. After serving as the Academy and Technical Director of Oldham Soccer Club in Buckner, KY, he became a volunteer assistant at the University of Louisville, where he helped guide the Cardinals to an NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals appearance. Pacheco is now the head coach of Sporting's U-15s after coaching the U-13s since 2017.