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EDP Featured Club World Class Premier

By Evan Unger, 07/01/20, 10:15AM EDT

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Q&A SESSION WITH WORLD CLASS PREMIER

Name- Kokou Assigbe


What is the philosophy of your club?
As a club, World Class Premier’s foundation is based on ensuring that every player on our teams understands the way the game is supposed to be played. Our desire is to see every player think, understand, and apply this knowledge of the game in creative ways on the field. The foundation we create allows us to play the possession style of Soccer that we believe is the way the game is meant to be played. We discourage the mentality of simply kicking the ball long, and instead, we encourage passes. You will see WCP teams try to build out of the back to connect to the midfielders and eventually work collectively, combined with the strikers, to score a goal. This is what we call, Play The Right Way. 


How does your club make that philosophy come alive for your members?
Play The Right Way is giving each player the right tools to express themselves individually on the field and to collectively understand how to work together to play beautiful soccer. When a team plays The Right Way, the ball doesn't only go forward, it's goes backward, sideways and every way. Not only will mistakes happen, but they are welcomed. Players must be allowed to freely think and implement what was taught at practice.

In our eyes, to Play The Right Way also means that we believe in physical play, but always respecting fair play and our opponents. We have no tolerance for unsportsmanlike conduct from players, coaches or parents. We hold our players to a high standard, and we ask that all our players, coaches, and parents embody the World Class Premier Core Values in every part of life as a way of life and always Play The Right Way. 


How does your club help your student-athletes balance their training/playing with their academics?
For us, academics comes first. If a player needs to miss practice to get their homework or studies done we fully support it and would not punish the player for missing training or a game. We know our purpose in the lives of our players is bigger than just soccer. We're helping prepare them for the future. 


How does your club balance individual player development, team development, and the pressure to win competitions (leagues, tournaments)?
The focus for most of the European, South American and African Clubs at the younger age is to develop individual players who will eventually become professionals. They are always putting their players in environments to challenge them, and to see them grow. In every other part of the world, besides the US, this is the approach they’ve taken to youth sports. Abroad, professional teams don’t post youth team results until around U18. That’s the age where players are expected to have all they need to become professionals. The score lines don’t matter before U18 because the main focus is that the kids are being given the proper tools in order to become better players game by game. The main focus is actually developing better players.


What does your club do to emphasize fun (which if not present is a major reason young people drop out of sports)?
As a club we're big on celebrating our players. When we see a player improve an area of weakness we're big on praising that player for that achievement. We're big on team bondings which we do once or twice every season. We believe kids enjoy the game more when they see themselves improving, so we put our effort in making sure we highlight growth and not make "winning" our priority. We try to make sure our teams feel like a family and every kid feels cared for. One of our main goals is to really create a family environment for our kids. 


How does your club work with parents to maintain appropriate sideline behavior?
At World Class Premier we value positive cheers for players on the side lines rather than negative comments or parent coaching. We have clearly designed materials for our parents to let them know what we expect from them on game days. Before every season, coaches are required to go over our expectations for parents and if a parent acts out on the sideline they will receive an email from the coach reminding them of our expectations for positivity. We also designate our team managers to remind other parents of our sideline expectations during games to help everyone to stay on track.


What does your club do to help your student-athletes decide what to do after graduation from high school?
We hold meetings with each individual player once they are in high school to discuss their goals and aspirations afterwards. Once players share their thoughts with us, we try to guide them towards the path we think will be better suited for them. Because all of our coaches were former college players, we use our resources to help contact schools if they want to play in college.


How does your club judge success?   
We judge success by how much each individual player is developing season by season. Our players, our teams, and our club are successful if each of our players continues to improve every single season.