FC Tulsa's Coaches Michael Nsien, Nemanja Vukovic Earn Upgraded Coaching Licenses
TULSA - Following his completion of a year-long United States Soccer Federation coaching course, FC Tulsa head coach Michael Nsien was one of the coaches in the Class of 2020 to graduate with his USSF "Pro" License. In addition to Nsien earning the top coaching license in the U.S., FC Tulsa assistant coach Nemanja Vukovic obtained his UEFA "B" License this offseason.
The USSF Pro License is the highest level of professional coaching license that one can achieve in US Soccer. To qualify to take the course, a coach must be actively coaching in MLS, the NWSL, the USL or a member of the U.S. National Team staff. Only around 75 coaches have acquired the license since its introduction, and Nsien is the first African American coach to earn the degree.
"It was a personal challenge," said Nsien. "The game of soccer is always developing, always changing. I just have one of those curiosities where I want to know what I am not aware of, whether it's tactically or psychology or even with the leadership part of the game. I tried to use this opportunity to gain as much knowledge as possible, learn from my peers and my mentors in the course."
Nsien is coming off a career-best season at the helm of FC Tulsa that included his first trip to the USL Championship Playoffs on the touchline. He led his hometown club to its first postseason berth since 2017 and set the franchise's record-long unbeaten streak at seven matches. He was rewarded for his work in 2020 with a multiyear contract extension to continue building FC Tulsa.
Vukovic, born in Titograd, Yugoslavia (now Podgorica, Montenegro), was eligible to achieve his UEFA "B" License following his lengthy playing career in Europe, MLS, NASL and the USL Championship. The license will now allow Vukovic to be internationally recognized as having the ability to be a professional assistant coach, a head coach of an amateur club and youth players up to 16 years old.
"After spending two years in my role of assistant at FC Tulsa, this license is the product of a lot of hard work and education," said Vukovic. "A phenomenal experience, I've learned a lot over the past year at every seminar I've been and by getting this license my appetites just grow. This is just the beginning of my coaching education and the ultimate goal is the UEFA 'Pro' License."
Both Nsien and Vukovic will be joined on the FC Tulsa coaching staff for the third consecutive season with returning top assistant and goalkeepers coach Donovan Ricketts. Ricketts, a legendary CONCACAF and MLS keeper in his own right, coached FC Tulsa keeper Sean Lewis to a career season in 2020 as Lewis earned the club's MVP award following the standout campaign.
FC Tulsa is preparing for the 2021 USL Championship season with players reporting to preseason camp on March 1 and training beginning next week. More details on FC Tulsa's 2021 schedule will be announced in the days to come.
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