By Josh Beavers
Francois Browne is the new leader of the up-and-coming Minden High soccer program.
The Journal spoke to the coach about who he is and his plans for the future at MHS.
1. First, tell me about your background. Dr. Wilson said you are coming to us from Africa.
I was born and raised in the West African nation called Liberia. There is where I learned to play the game of soccer. Liberia is a third world country that was characterized by a brutal civil war that lasted from 1989 to 2003. An estimated 250,000 people died in fighting. I lost my parents, grandmother, uncle, close friends, and relatives in the war. In 2001, I was blessed to travel to the United States on a soccer scholarship. I played soccer at Wiley College for four years and got a BS degree in secondary education/Mathematics. Presently, I am math teacher, a soccer coach, a humanitarian, and philanthropist.
2. What inspired you to become a soccer coach, and what drew you to coaching at the high school level?
The love and passion I have for the game and the need for quality coaches throughout the United States has always been in very high demand. I just want to help and serve children in our communities as they strive to be competitive soccer players. There were coaches in my life that poured so much into me, and the only way I can honor them is to pass the knowledge on to the next generation of soccer players.
As a staff coach of CABOSA/Shreveport United Soccer Club, I was fortunate to work with lots of high schools’ soccer players in Shreveport and Bossier City. This motivated me to also contribute to the development of high school soccer programs in our region.
3. What is your coaching philosophy, and how do you plan to implement it with your new team?
1- Player-centered and not Coach-centered
I want to produce and develop technical proficient players who understand the game and make good decisions. My focus is on the players and how well I can be a facilitator, a teacher, a mentor, a manager, and a coach during their development process.
2- Lead my players, and lead my parents
B- Player – coach relationship
C- Parent – coach relationship
D- Empowered my players to believe in themselves and creating the right environment for them to learn and to have fun.
3- Discipline is the core value of my philosophy. Players must always show good behavior on and off the field. They represent the city, the school, their community and above all, they represent their family. This is our identity, and we value excellence and thrive for success.
I plan to implement my philosophy by setting goals that are attainable, reenforcing my core values, creating a team culture and team identity. Loving my players, respecting my players, and above all showing them how important and valuable they are first to the team and to me.
4. What are your goals for the team this season, both in terms of wins and losses and in terms of developing individual players?
Winning is the result of good preparation; there are two outcomes of a game that is win or loss. How well we prepare determines these outcomes. How well we plan and put in the work determines the results. My goal is to prepare my team over a period so that they can be prepared and develop the ability to compete at a highest level.
5. How do you plan to balance the demands of coaching with the academic and extracurricular demands that high school students face?
Players are faced with many challenges throughout the season. Some are playing multiple sports, they have homework, class projects, field trip, school events, family events and so much more but proper communication and planning can help balance those demands. I am looking forward to always giving feedbacks to players and parents.
As a teacher, I value academics and if my players are not excelling in their classes, this will affect their roles and their participation in games and practices.
6. What strengths do you see in your team, and how do you plan to build on those strengths?
So far, the greatest strength I have seen in my team is their willingness to work and eagerness to learn. This is a solid foundation that I can build on.
7. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your team this season, and how do you plan to address them?
My biggest challenge this season is to get my players to learn and understand my style of play. They must be technically and tactically proficient to adapt to this style of play. We are not there yet, and it takes a long period of time to develop these abilities. I believe that we will get there sooner.
8. How do you plan to work with and communicate with the parents of your players?
Group Chat is the easiest and more effective and efficient way to get information to parents and players. I will setup a group chat and will also communicate by emails, phone calls, and parents’ meetings.
9. How do you plan to foster a positive team culture and build team chemistry among your players?
Eradicate negative comments and eliminate bullying. Love is the key and if I can get my players to love one another, everything will fall in place.
10. What advice would you give to aspiring high school soccer players who want to improve their skills and make a positive contribution to the team?
Take responsibility and accountability for their own learning, development, and performance.