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Fair Play: Player vs. Coach

With the World Cup in full swing football, ‘soccer’ as it's called in the US is one of the most watched sports in the world. Many young men and women begin a very vigorous journey at an early age to becoming professional players.

Players like Kori Cupid, who plays the game of football are second nature because he has been playing since he was 5 years old. Growing up in Trinidad, Kori was introduced to the sport by watching his brothers play, of which one also played professionally. So, from a noticeably young age, he knew he wanted to be a professional football player.

"I have two older brothers that played soccer at a very competitive level and they were the ones that encouraged me and taught me how to play"

His journey to become a professional player has placed him in a position where he is undecided about giving up his dream of being a professional player or creating a path to becoming a coach. This may sound simple to some, but his decision is one that could impact his future and where he resides.

Kori began playing in the US at Stony Brook University in New York in 2019. It was not as difficult as he thought it would be playing with a new team in a new country. His biggest adjustment at the time was the change in weather. But soon he would realize that he had to make adjustments. Many athletes leave their home country to pursue their dreams of playing professionally but are faced with culture shock, employment, immigration, politics, and other rigorous issues.

As a student at Stony Brook, his goal was to study and get great grades along with playing his best for the team with hopes of being recruited on a professional level.

Coming from the Caribbean Kori saw many differences in the sport as it is played in the U.S. and other countries, he noticed that the rules were different, so much so the level of play would almost be considered amateur. Adjusting to the American version of the game was one of the shocks Kori would experience.

“There’s a lot of differences in the way U.S soccer is played when compared to both the Caribbean and most of the world. One of the things that really shocked me was the rules and regulations. I totally understand, every coach has their own style of play and philosophy, of how they want their team to play. I've played with different coaches. But the rules of college soccer or any college sport were a shock to me. Because worldwide football is a universal language. It's all the same rules. No matter the level, amateur, professional, semiprofessional, it's all the same.”

Kori is an extremely competitive person when it comes to playing and watching the sport.

“I give my all and my best every time I step out on the field. Being at my best is something I cherish and take a lot of pride in, ensuring that I leave it all on the field"

Kori was invited to Iowa to showcase his talent and desire to make it professionally. In Iowa, he played in the United Soccer League (USL) with the Des Moines Menace in the summer of 2022, this was a result of playing for them in the Open Cup in April.

Now a graduate of Stony Brook, Kori would of course be seeking ways to continue fulfilling his dream as a football player.

His playing skills have now led him to an assistant coaching position at Elkins College in West Virginia.

Transitioning from being a player to a coach has been a very humbling experience for Kori but it does not come without the question of what he would prefer to do. Playing professionally has been a lifelong dream of his.

As a first-time coach, he is demonstrating his skills to players around his age. Kori’s focus is to bring his skills into play and bring out the best in these players. Some might say this may be a bit conflicting but not to Kori. He believes that because he has experience as a player influences his decision-making as a coach, enabling him to mix the two when necessary.

He admits motivating the players and managing them at any level can be exceedingly difficult, dealing with egos and taking into consideration their various backgrounds is important to get the job done. These are key things that he says he will continue to work on and develop over time.

"It all comes down to the level of respect I can gain as a person and as a coach, but also how I can relate to the players. In terms of just life in general, leaving something with them.” They all believe that I need to play, I am the best, and as a coach, managing that or controlling that and pushing it in a direction that is going to benefit them, and the team is key for the team to be successful”.

Kori believes it's very important to give back and contribute as much as possible. He even offers haircuts to players if they ask, he says it's something he just likes doing so if he can help someone out, he is more than happy to.

I asked Kori his view concerning the ongoing controversy in soccer in reference to the regulations of the game and how the players are not always treated and compensated fairly.

“From the time I started learning about the sport, they all preach about ‘fair play’ and respecting each other as human beings first and then as athletes. This is a very interesting question and it's something that is a very delicate topic that most athletes just prefer not to talk about. “No matter where you are in the world, it always comes down to how you react to certain things as a player, off the field, and your core values, and morals as a person”.

In football and other sports, athletes are willing to do what's necessary to follow their dream even if it's in a foreign country where the conditions are not the best. There are few who can say they fulfill that dream due to many adverse circumstances.

Kori continues to be a student of the game with a focus on applying his skills and being an inspiration to other players. Even though the opportunity for him to coach is still on the table for the upcoming season, he is also still pursuing ‘tryout' opportunities to play professionally because that is where his heart is.

He gives a lot of credit to his family, in particular, his mom who told him how” it's always important to protect your name and your character”.

It is starting to become more apparent in the US, that since football—also known as soccer—is the most popular sport in the world more athletes will consider coming to the US to play more than ever before; however, will there be “fair play'' for these athletes, that is yet to be seen.

About the Writer

Lydia Bailey’s (also known as ‘Lydz’) love for writing began when she was about 9 years old writing, she started writing, wanting to transfer her thoughts into words and express herself openly. Her first experience was writing love notes and cards for classmates that they gave as gifts.

For many years she collected her work by drafting poems, short stories, scripts, journals, notebooks, word documents, phone notes, or whatever she could write.

“Whenever I am inspired, it could be on the train, sitting in a waiting room, or just walking down the street, I write in order to capture that moment.”

She began sharing her work when a fellow poet encouraged her to read one of her poems at an event.

After starting her own business in consultation for new businesses and artist development, she found herself reviewing and writing content for newsletters, articles, and magazines, creating scripts, synopsis, webpages, social media, and other projects.

She is the co-creator of ‘Poetry in 3D Motion’ with Patricia Ralph and Dawn Nedd, a platform created to host and showcase poets and spoken word artists. Specifically, for those that may not always have the opportunity to share their work in a comfortable space.

With several of her published poems and spoken word pieces, she is constantly working on new material to share.

Lydia had always known that she wanted to be at the writer’s table in the most creative way possible and embarked on a journey to do just that.

“The joy I feel when writing is one of the most exhilarating and therapeutic moments of my

day”. If my work can connect with people to bring them joy, then that makes it even more


Follow Her on IG @3bsentertainment

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