Geoffroy Abakou: International Student + Athlete

PSC soccer player reflects on soccer in the United States and Togo
Geoffroy Agbakou
Photo used with permission from Chris Kutcha, PSC Athletics
Geoffroy Agbakou Photo used with permission from Chris Kutcha, PSC Athletics

In the fall semester of 2022, the Prairie State College men’s soccer team brought home their first National Championship with a 1-0 win at Morton in the NJCAA Division II Championship match.


At the time, international student, Kofivi Geoffrey Agbokou was only a first year student at PSC and could not even imagine taking home the school’s first national championship. Upon asking Geoffrey to describe this experience, he stated, “It was the first time I played soccer in the United States and we won the national championship!” Agbokou described the event as “amazing” and “surreal.”


Agboku is an international student originally from Togo, a country in West Africa. He describes soccer in Togo as much more “intensive” and also claims that it is “taken more seriously” in Togo than here in the United States. Geoffroy says that “The United States is more inclined towards basketball, American football, baseball than soccer. That’s what I’ve noticed since I’ve been here.”


Additionally, in Togo, soccer fans really support their teams in a way that Geoffroy says he has not seen in the United States. “In Togo the [soccer] fields are full of supporters even at a university match, which gives great intensity to the match,” Geoffroy says.  


The game is played a bit differently as well. “In the USA, says Geoffroy, “the referee whistles just because of contact, while in Togo it hits hard but [referees] let it pass.” Geoffrey feels that the competitive nature of soccer in Togo is what helped prepare him to play well here in the U.S. at the collegiate level. 


Additionally, Geoffrey states that his coaches played a large role in the team’s success. Geoffrey believes that he has a great team with excellent coaching support. When asked which coach motivated him the most, Geoffrey mentioned head coach Carlos Reyes and described coach Reyes as a “good person” with an even “greater heart.” Geoffrey stated that Coach Reyes “motivates him to do anything.”


When asked which celebrities he looks up to in soccer, Geoffrey stated that he greatly admires “Didier Drogba.” Geoffrey admires Drogba’s talent and aspires to be able to play like him one day in the future. When Geoffrey graduates, he plans to take his skills to a university where he will continue soccer at the collegiate level. He has been offered a full scholarship to William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Eventually Geoffrey hopes to play at the professional level.


Last fall Geoffrey scored 7 goals and 3 assists in the past season and plans to continue improving next season. Overall, the team held an impressive 17-3-1 record for the 2023 season. Although the Pioneers did not win the National title for the 2023 season, Geoffrey is proud of his team’s performance and trusts that they will perform well next season.

Geoffroy Agbakou 
Photo used with permission from Chris Kutcha, PSC Athletics

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