In eighteen years of career, Camel Meriem has known the sweetness of the Gironde, the sun of the Côte d’Azur, the exoticism of Greece and Cyprus. When it came time to hang up his crampons, however, he had no doubts and settled where it all began, near Sochaux. Even if he keeps a pied-à-terre in the south of France, Meriem, 42, spends most of it in his native Doubs. Become a coach, agent or consultant? Very little for him. Stay in football? Obvious, provided you stay away from your professional strata.
Thus, in June 2018, Camel Meriem opened Arena 25, an indoor sports complex located in Montbéliard, a handful of kilometers from the Bonal stadium, home of FC Sochaux, its training club. Twenty years earlier, he met David Sauget there. The two men now coordinate the management of their small business. « I am very happy to have launched this complex in the region where I was born », welcomes Meriem, on the other end of the line.
Five-a-side football, organization of internships for young people, restaurants and broadcasts of Champions League matches: Arena 25 is an indoor sports establishment like there are hundreds in France. The only notable difference, however: his clientele is managed by a former FC Sochaux pro. Meriem scored 9 goals in 92 matches with FCSM, with whom he was crowned French Ligue 2 champion in 2001. « It’s always a pleasure to talk football with customers », he points out.
He also sometimes puts on his crampons, molded, on Mondays with friends, or to make the number five against five, in the event of withdrawals. He takes it easy, all the same, aware of the stigma that a professional career can leave. “I sometimes have little sores that resurface, but nothing too bad. I take advantage of being able to still play, even at 40 years old. »
An already well-stocked footgolf record
Camel Meriem must also take care not to injure himself because he practices footgolf at the highest level. During his professional career, however, he was not one to roam the golf courses on his days off – he preferred poker and won several competitions, notably in Monte Carlo, in the late 2010s.
Meriem fell into footgolf out of curiosity, three years ago, when Romuald Prétot, former manager of FC Sochaux…