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OP Leader Interviewed by US Club Soccer!

US Club Soccer, as part of their “Player’s First” initiative, interviewed one of the leading voices in the nation regarding coaching education and positive player development, Billy Thompson, Ohio Premier’s Boy’s Director of Coaching.

A little of Billy’s background:

After winning an NCAA Championship with UCLA, Billy played professionally in Europe, North America, and Asia before ending his playing career with the Columbus Crew. He also played on the US Men’s National Team. Billy’s been part of starting and growing several successful soccer clubs in the Columbus, Ohio area, including his current role at Ohio Premier Soccer Club.


A true leader nationally in US Club Soccer, Billy is one of only 19 people to earn every soccer club certification available, including the two-year-long Director of Player Development certification


The specific topic US Club Soccer wanted to discuss during this Facebook Live conversation was best practices for Staff Education & Development.


Some highlights...


Player’s First, started by US Club Soccer in 2015, is an identifier for clubs providing an exceptional player developmental experience for all players-- not leaving any players behind. In 2018, a Player’s First club license launched and, all clubs are eligible to apply. Clubs who receive this license must pass an evaluation to see if they meet the standards and requirements.


Part of this standard is Staff Education and Development, which was the topic of the interview with US Club Soccer and Billy.


Billy Thompson, Boys Director of Coaching, Ohio Premier Soccer Club:

“We want to continue to help and to be a leader in the soccer community”.


What does coach education and development look like, and how did it change the culture at OP?

For me, it starts with being an educator and having a commitment from the club that this is a priority. It’s also especially important to hire coaches that have that same mentality: to have a staff that holds coaching education as the highest priority and wants to evolve as needed.

OP shows its commitment to coaching education and development in several ways. On the boy’s side, I do not coach a team of players. Instead, I educate a team of coaches to help aid their coaching efforts. Not many clubs provide this level of commitment and resources to support their staff.


Last summer, we hosted a La Liga coaching education course. We did this primarily for our coaches, however, we made it available locally, regionally, and nationally for other coaches to attend because we believe in coaching education and development that much.


Another example is having all our coaches go through the different levels of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) education program. Their methodology is so valuable to coaching education, and it fits Ohio Premier’s culture.


The ECNL also offers unbelievably valuable educational opportunities. We rotate appropriate staff to ensure as many coaches as possible get a chance to benefit so they can, in turn, use what they learn with players.

Finally, we’ve taken advantage of the time we’ve had the last few months with frequent coaching education sessions using zoom.


Why did OP let other clubs attend the La Liga Coaches education event?

In the soccer community, if we all help each other, we will all get better. I want my neighboring club the best that they can be. If I beat them all the time, there’s no satisfaction. With everyone behaving as they should, from coaches to players to parents, if other teams are improving, then it drives our competitive nature to continue to develop as well.

We want to continue to help and be a leader in the soccer community.


Why is Player’s First important to your club?

Because we believe in what it stands for and what it’s trying to achieve. It will help us reach new levels by sharing best practices with clubs across the country.


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