The former coach of Rodez and Soyaux, gives himself before the match between these two teams, Saturday September 24 at 2:30 p.m. Now technical adviser to the Mediterranean League and consultant to Canal + for D1, he gives his view on his former clubs and the women’s championship.
Who will you support today?
I’m divided. There are players with whom I have affinities on both sides, like Cathy Couturier and Romane Munich at Soyaux. In Rodez, it is the ghosts, Solène Barbance and Chloé Bornes. It’s hard to position myself. But it makes me very happy to see the Raf again in D1. I know that there has been a lot of work done, already at the level of the boys but also on the infrastructures and the development of the club. I hope Rodez will be able to hold on.
You spent two seasons at Rodez (2015-2017) then just over three at Soyaux (2017-2020). How much have these two clubs marked you during your career?
I will always have a form of recognition for Rodez. It’s the first club to have trusted me in D1 and it’s a gamble to appoint a coach who has never coached at this level. I’m lucky to have had this opportunity, I think I made it well by the results we had. Going to Soyaux in 2017 was a way to move on, to a more structured club, with a professionalizing project.
Rodez and Soyaux could be direct competitors for maintenance this season. What common points do they share?
Both clubs have players who are used to these battles for maintenance. They also have decent infrastructure to work with.
And their differences?
There are more young players in Rodez and some are discovering D1, while Soyaux has more experience. An advantage for Raf throughout the season will be to count on the support of its supporters, whereas at Soyaux, the public is more of a spectator. There is also more stability. Matthew (Rufié, the coach, Editor’s note) discovers the D1 but he knows the club. At Soyaux, we have four coaches in two years and there have also been many changes in the workforce. But I think the difference will be in the medical follow-up. The club that gives the most resources in recovery and injury prevention will have the best chance of remaining. Because if we start to have significant injuries, it can become fateful.
Another common point: you left the two clubs reproaching a lack of professionalism…
In Rodez, it was a question of the project. I had the impression that there was no desire to go in the direction of professionalism, namely to put more means into everything that is necessary to perform. It’s very good that the club is back in D1 but I know that Mathieu struggles as much as me on a certain number of things.
At Soyaux, on the other hand, with almost the entire workforce under contract, we could start training at 10:30 a.m., do video, recovery, etc. What I had regretted and what pushed me to leave was that new leaders had come to destroy everything that was in place.
How do you view the evolution of the D1?
It’s interesting: all the clubs are becoming more professional. We are no longer in the pattern where Lyon scores 8 or 9 goals for everyone before experiencing two difficult matches against Paris. There have also been advances in the image, with more media talking about it. But where you have to be careful is with development in other countries. In Italy and Spain, all the clubs are professional. In England, TV rights have exploded. A few years ago, France was attractive for foreign internationals, now we are starting to lose our best players.
We can go further in communication. In Spain, there are matches with 60,000 or 80,000 people, whereas we find it difficult to have more than 2,000. We might benefit from passing D1 from 12 to 14 or 16 clubs. And we also have to think about training and how to protect the clubs. With federal contracts, training clubs are not sure of being paid when a player leaves. If we went under the aegis of the LFP (Professional Football League)that would change a lot of things.
Saturday September 24 (2:30 p.m.), Rodez moves to Soyaux. And the Aveyronnaises have checked this date since the release of the calendar. Because after having started against two of the biggest teams in the championship (Paris FC and PSG), the blood and gold face a more affordable formation than the leaders of the championship. But it’s also a team that could play maintenance with them at the end of the season. Hence the importance of this match, which offers both opponents the opportunity to open their points counter. And the Ruthénoises to open their goal counter, because Soyaux has already scored one, Sunday, September 18, against Lyon.