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Niall O’Regan and Seamus Kelly

The island of Ireland is quite unique in its dynamic due, in part, to the geographical and political separation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Historically, the Island of Ireland had one governing body for association football. Currently, the Irish Football Association (IFA) governs Northern Ireland while the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) governs the Republic of Ireland in the south. Interestingly, not all sports (e.g., Irish Rugby Football Union) on the Island of Ireland have separate Governing Bodies. This paper provides a brief historical overview of this separation between the FAI and IFA. Following this, we explore the history of coach education in the FAI and an overview of the FAI Player Development Plan. Then, we explore how coach education was, and is currently, structured with particular focus on recent improvements in terms of how coach education courses are delivered and assessed. The final section provides a brief overview of the future of coach education within the FAI.

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Seamus Kelly and Niall O’Regan

This article explores how the 2020 edition of the Union of European Football Association’s (UEFA) Coaching Convention impacts coach education in the Football Association of Ireland (FAI), a member of the UEFA. First, this article provides a brief history of the UEFA Coaching Convention and it’s historical benefits. Second, the UEFA Coaching Convention’s principles and practices of adult learning and reality-based learning are identified, along with the national association’s responsibilities for their implementation. Third, we outline the four main changes to the 2020 UEFA Coaching Convention, and fourth, following an overview of coach education in the FAI, we identify how the FAI’s Coach Education Department adopts a constructivist, learner-centered approach when implementing the UEFA adult learning and reality-based learning principles. Fifth, we discuss some of the implemented and planned coach education initiatives in the FAI and provide an overview of the FAI’s redeveloped coach education pathway, which was launched in August 2020 for implementation from 2021 to 2025. The article concludes with an overview of the future of coach education in the FAI and suggestions for further research.