Assistant coach James Prosser is in his first season with the Knights.
Sept. 9, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head men's soccer coach Bryan Cunningham made three new additions to his staff since the end of the 2007 campaign, hiring assistant coaches Jim Cofer and James Prosser and volunteer assistant Mauricio Ruiz. Prosser, who joined the staff on May 19, 2008, will be involved in all aspects of the program, including team and individual training. Before accepting the job at UCF, Prosser had a two-year stint as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Louisville.
As a player, Prosser went to three NCAA Tournaments while playing at Butler University, where he graduated in 2001. As recently as 2006, he was playing professional soccer for the Minnesota Thunder of the United Soccer League. The UCF Athletic Communications office recently had a chance to sit down and learn more about the coach, his move to UCF, and his soccer experiences.
What about the opportunity to work with the program at UCF was appealing to you at this point in your career?
"The opportunity to assist a program with change and build a program. It is a full-time opportunity for me in a strong conference with a coaching staff that is looking to build something special."
Having played professional soccer as recently as 2006, do you feel that helps you relate to the players and also gain their respect quickly?
"That is something I was talking to Mauricio [Ruiz] about the other day. I believe a coach's playing background is essential to showing the game to the players. Having played recently I am able to demonstrate the game through them viewing me and what I can do. As well as talking the game, but to be able to demonstrate is a strong trait. The players respect that you can show them the game as well as talking it."
What do you feel you learned in your playing days that help you as a coach?
"I think reading the game. Having played gives me a grasp of the tactical side of the game. You can train the physical side and you can train the technical side, but to be able to tactically see the game. With the higher level of the game that you play, you obviously see things quicker. Now as a coach I can share that knowledge."
What about coaching do you enjoy even more than playing?
"Working with the players and developing the players, from the physical side to the mental side, both on the field as well as off the field. Trying to help to develop the complete player. Along with not having to keep my fitness level up quite as high."
What do you hope to bring to the UCF men's soccer program this year and in the future?
"I hope to bring energy and instill energy into the players. Also instill a passion into the boys of wanting to come out and compete on a daily basis, and I hope that trickles off the field as well to the academic side of things as well. I want to bring a positive attitude. With the youth on the team there will be a tendency to a have a roller coaster. I will work to keep their attitudes positive and their work ethic up in order to stay consistent."
What have you learned about Coach Cunningham and the staff since starting your job?
"I have learned the vision of the program is that we want to build a group that is able to compete for championships within the conference as well as put a spotlight on the program nationally, and I know that is what Coach [Cunningham] wants to do. We want to bring those types of players in that want to win year to year and be nationally recognized."
What are you thoughts about the rest of the season?
"We are very excited to get our first win this weekend. We hope it will propel us into the ODU tournament this weekend and then next weekend with conference play starting with Memphis. Again, the opportunity is there and the players are starting to recognize we are more than capable of winning and winning now after taking Ohio State to the final whistle and getting our first win this past weekend. It is exciting."
Having completed the third game of a season-opening five-game road trip, the Knights will have four days off before competing in the Old Dominion STIHL Soccer Classic next weekend. UCF will play William & Mary at 4:30 p.m. on Friday before facing the hosts Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
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