"an incredible summer in New York with the young players"

The French Football Academy summer camps are over and  it's time for the kids to get ready to go back to school !  

Before the regular season starts, we were happy to have a little interview with Jean-Claude Lafargue, coach instructor and former director of the National Institute of Football at Clairefontaine (France) and Zohair Ghenania, French Football Academy technical director . We had the chance to talk about the summer camps and the great soccer experience the players had ! 

How would you assess the 2023 summer camps organized in New York? 

Zohair Ghenania: It was an excellent summer season! We welcomed around 300 players, and they all had an amazing camp experience. The coaches did an incredible job supervising the trainings. We received a lot of positive feedback from the families, which is something we are very proud about.

Jean-Claude Lafargue: It was a positive summer camp! The outcomes were great; as well as the feedback we got, which makes us feel very confident about the next editions of our summer camps.


Why is it important to bring the French soccer coaching methodology of the FFF to the US? 

ZG : France has an international reputation for the quality of its coaching model, which brings soccer players to their best level. Sharing this expertise with the global community contributes to improving the way coaching is implemented within soccer clubs around the world! More generally speaking, implementing the French soccer methodology of the FFF in New York also improves the influence of France abroad, in the same way as the French gastronomy is leveraged as a great promotional tool for our culture!

JCL : Sharing is engrained in the DNA of French soccer. In a globalized world, it is critical for the FFF to be able to bring its knowledge and experience at an international level.


Nike supported the organization and promotion of the 2023 summer camps: How important is it for the FFF in New York to be associated with such a brand as partners?

ZG : Nike is a historical partner of the French football team and the way the brand has reached the US market is just unbelievable! Combining the FFF expertise and reputation with the Nike experience and its impressive marketing strength within the US market makes a lot of sense for both entities.

JCL : Of course, it is important for the FFF to rely on strong partners such as Nike to organize soccer camps, while at the same time, bring more value the French coaching methodology. We thank them for teaming up with us for providing such great camp experiences!


How would you assess the soccer level of players you welcomed during these summer camps?

ZG : Indeed, we welcomed lots of young players with different backgrounds and different levels, going from beginners to elite players. Our camps are open to every child, no matter the level. It is very rewarding to see good players reaching their full potential by putting them in a competitive environment, while at the same time, we are also thrilled to see beginners improving their hard skills, from technical to tactical!


JCL : The players level was quite good! They definitely wanted to learn from their coaches, they showed up every morning with a big smile and ready to play and improve their skills. I am happy to see how they were interested and committed to the sport throughout practice. Our philosophy is to teach our players all the fundamentals of soccer, while focusing on the growth of each individual’s ability and social well-being. We always try to make the players question themselves about their strengths and how they can improve. The player shouldn’t wait for the coach to tell him/her what is right or wrong, but also be able to think by himself/herself. This is part of what will make you a better soccer player!


How did the players react to the coaching and the training sessions?

ZG: They quickly understood the goals of the trainings we had set for them. They had a great time, and were satisfied not only about their improvements, but also were very happy from meeting new people, making friends and having amazing experiences. Isn’t it what summer holidays is all about?

JCL : What Zohair said is true: I really noticed the way the players were happy with discovering new ways of training, new drills, new ways of understanding soccer. We witnessed impressive improvements with some players, especially when it came to making tactical decisions during the course of the games.


Facilities can be important to have players in the best environment. What did you think about the US sports facilities such as Mercy College?

ZG: We had the opportunity to organize camps in Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5, which has an astonishing view on Downtown Manhattan. Mercy College’s facilities are also fantastic and put the athletes in the best condition. The amenities were just perfect, from the dorms to the soccer fields. It’s exactly what we need to provide a high-quality camp.

JCL: US facilities just make training and coaching easier, for sure. It’s a pleasure to work in such a great environment. It is no surprise that the players want to come back to our summer camps each year.

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