At iSoccerPath, we believe the right fit exists for every student-athlete committed to continuing their educational and playing careers. To highlight this, we’ll be speaking to college coaches around the country about the unique aspects of their program.
“Over the past two years, Coaches Rod and Brian have sat on several of our College Soccer Panels and we have provided the college education sessions at their College ID Camps.” said Jeff Jaye, Managing Director of iSoccerPath.” I learned about the way they ran their program and I was intrigued as I have never seen this before at any college soccer program. I wanted to share their story and hope it resonates with other colleges around the Country.”
Occidental College Men’s Soccer Head Coach Rod Lafaurie spoke to iSoccerPath to offer a snapshot about what their program preaches in Los Angeles through their servant leadership initiative.
“In 2013, we were 3-16 at a time where we thought we were on the uptrend as a program,” Lafaurie said. “I looked at it as we gotta throw everything away and start new, and the guys were willing.”
Starting the next season, Lafaurie and the Occidental staff implemented a new system that would help the Tigers regain their footing while strengthening core values.
Since the 2014 season, first year players are paired up with a junior member of the team and second years with seniors, ensuring the players had a mentor to turn to the moment they stepped on campus.
“When the players feel like they’re part of something, they create their own culture and it gives them a lot of autonomy,” Lafaurie said. “People see what we’re about during the recruiting process and know our values.”
Whereas on an average college field you may find the underclassmen picking up cones and balls at training, the seniors take on the role of ensuring the field is left pristine, carrying equipment and sweeping out the storage shed.
“No matter what happens, the freshman are going to do what the seniors do,” Lafaurie said.
“So we thought, ‘let’s prescribe exactly what we want, specifically with good leadership.’ We think leadership is a transfer of purpose, passion and attitude.”
The changes have fostered a family atmosphere at Occidental, perhaps most tangibly felt in the Culture Book, filled with words of wisdom and experiences from past players to help guide future classes.
“Every year the graduating class has input for the book and even after they’re gone, they’ll still call and refer to our meals together as family dinner and want to know what’s going on.”
The results off the field speak for themselves, with the Tigers coming off a 14-6 campaign in 2018, with two players earning United Soccer Coaches All-West Region honors. For more campus insights, be sure to follow iSoccerPath on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or visit iSoccerPath.com for information on taking the first step towards playing collegiately.