At FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, we train extra human soccer

Spherical of applause and collective mark – 7/10 – given by the bodily coach to complete the “bodybuilding” exercise. That is the custom on the FC Sochaux-Montbéliard coaching middle. “Any further, you have to know these 18 workshops by coronary heart. Begin once more tomorrow, after that it is going to be too late for Saturday’s match… Come on, you possibly can exit! 7/10, it is nonetheless common”, mentioned Jean-Philippe Blanc, gently making enjoyable of the twenty apprentice footballers in entrance of him.

It’s virtually 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8 on the Château du Bannot, inseloncourt (Doubs). Evening falls on the previous property of the Peugeot household, however the day isn’t but over for the sixty younger individuals aged 15 to twenty skilled on website by the Ligue 2 membership.

Sense of effort and rigor

In a joyous hubbub, some return to the locker room whereas others end stretching. All aspire to in the future turn into an expert participant. The highway to get there may be lengthy. “Expertise can’t be improvised, explains right away the director of the coaching centre, Jean-Sébastien Mérieux. Integrating a coaching middle is simply a primary step. It’s important to work very laborious to get there. »

The gamers had been due to this fact recruited, in every single place in France, for his or her potential but additionally for his or her sense of teamwork and energy and for his or her rigour. “Our precept, at FC Sochaux, has at all times been to coach males earlier than coaching gamers”, he insists.

For this, nothing is left to probability. Intensive coaching, iron self-discipline, wholesome way of life… Even messages plastered on the wall of the load room, of the sort “Prepare, behave like a professional”, are there to remind you. Whammal, 17, is nicely conscious of this. The younger man, a participant among the many beneath 19s, ends the session with some flexibility.

Within the weight room, throughout a warm-up session.


Laptops as a substitute of posters

He comes from a well-liked district of Vierzon (Cher). He does not bear in mind the primary time he touched a ball. “Perhaps after I was 3 years previous”, he believes. His dad and mom tried to introduce him to different sports activities, resembling swimming or judo. In useless. “After I’m on the pitch, I overlook all the things. A nasty grade, an issue with somebody… It frees my thoughts,” he mentioned. Even when he does not need to skip the phases, changing into an expert footballer has at all times been his dream: “Step-by-step, I solely have one 12 months left of my contract with the membership to provide the utmost of myself”he explains.

Twenty years of profession make Jean-Sébastien Mérieux say that if the eagerness remains to be as robust amongst younger gamers, its nature has modified considerably. Cell phones have changed posters of soccer stars within the bedrooms, and evenings with others within the video games room are rarer. “Social networks affect their ardour, he notes. They not simply admire gamers for his or her perspective and athletic efficiency but additionally for all the things that goes with it. The picture, the neighborhood on the Web, and many others. »

Some admit to preferring to learn match debriefs on-line moderately than watching them in full. The journey of the French workforce in the course of the World Cup in Qatar will nevertheless be intently adopted by apprentice footballers. The query even provokes, more often than not, puzzled appears to be like. “After all it’s, Madam! », reacts spontaneously Noa, 16, from Saintry-sur-Seine (Essonne).

“Ah, you imply the deaths among the many employees and the ultra-air-conditioned stadiums? It isn’t going to cease me from watching the Cup, however it’s truly caught in my head.” provides {the teenager} who left the household nest at 13 to affix the Stade de Reims then FC Sochaux. He at all times watched soccer together with his father and three older brothers and is now grateful to be “in a construction that gives all of the instruments to achieve the best degree”.

No query of neglecting research

A number of hours earlier, within the classroom, the environment is simply as studious. Victor, 16 years previous, and Moussa, 17 years previous, first 12 months college students within the Commerce vocational baccalaureate, are engaged on the traits of a product sheet. Right here, there isn’t any query of neglecting research. Younger individuals must juggle between their coaching and their schooling.

The middle, in the course of a rural setting, has its personal highschool. “Schedules are organized, totally different trays are supplied and college students are dispatched into small teams of lower than 10 college students”, explains Professor Céline Bassignot. Every year, the examination success charge is the same as or near 100%.

Moussa and Victor, 17 and 16 years previous, college students of their first skilled baccalaureate, are conscious of the significance of a diploma for his or her life after soccer.


The principles are strict: “One minute late to class within the morning results in a deprivation of coaching within the night”, says the director, Jean-Sébastien Mérieux. The problem is essential. Barely somewhat greater than 10% of younger individuals in every promotion turn into professionals. “It is crucial that they put together for the longer term… And, expertise proves it, those that succeed on this career have had a superb schooling”, he analyzes.

Initially from Guinea and arrived in France on the age of 13, Moussa is aware of that getting his diploma is crucial. His mom, a nursing assistant in Excursions (Indre-et-Loire), needed him to proceed his research when he arrived in France. It was his uncle who insisted that he strive his luck in the course of the soccer. Because of this, at this time the younger man has discovered French at breakneck velocity, dribbling like by no means earlier than, and tries to learn within the night to by no means cease progressing.

Make their dad and mom happy with them

Cash, all of them give it some thought. “While you begin, it is not for the cash. However in some unspecified time in the future, the concept inevitably takes maintain, even when I’ll by no means play for it. formulates his classmate Victor, 16 years previous. At this stage, solely those that are in an “aspiring contract” with the membership obtain a month-to-month allowance starting from €285 to €425 gross.

“My household doesn’t put stress on me however I’ve to make them proud”, develops the participant whose idol is Portuguese worldwide Cristiano Ronaldo. He arrived on the membership in the beginning of the college 12 months, after having made his first courses on the temple of French pre-training, the Nationwide Soccer Institute (INF) of Clairefontaine, from which stars of the spherical ball like Kylian Mbappé or Lilian Thuram got here out. . He now helps his mom financially because of the compensation he receives as an aspiring contract and would love in the future to have the ability to do extra.

Go in opposition to fantasies concerning the setting

The world of soccer has part of desires that shouldn’t be damaged. The teaching employees know they’re on a very laborious ridge line to carry. “Our precedence is to assist these younger individuals in addition to doable of their decisions. All of them have expertise. However the mistake for them could be to take the large head or do it just for the cash, “ explains the director. The membership is making an attempt “to additionally open them outwards”.

Internships in corporations, charity fundraising with the Restos du Coeur, consciousness of homophobia, nonetheless taboo within the setting… However, it should be admitted, few of the younger individuals encountered challenge themselves professionally outdoors the world of soccer. “If we did not imagine in it a minimum of, we would not have something to do there both”, explains Nolan, 19, who wears the workforce’s yellow and blue colours in Nationwide 3.

He confides, barely lip service, “perhaps eager about resuming (his) research if it doesn’t work”. He says two cruciate ligament accidents in recent times have taken their toll on him “like an electrical shock”.

Since then, he has been very cautious about his way of life. “These are small issues, however that is what finally makes the distinction,” abounds his teammate Martin, 19 years previous. This native of Ile-de-France additionally explains that he pays specific consideration to what he publishes on social networks.

Cyberbullying, a technique to improve your picture, media coaching… A number of workshops are organized all through the coaching to make younger individuals conscious of digital practices. “We do not have a really excessive fame however we have now to stay skilled. Now we have to take care of the picture of the membership and that of our teammates. After which, the little ones comply with us on the networks, we additionally need to set an instance”, he argues.

Have exemplary conduct

Nolan and Martin finish their contract with FC Sochaux subsequent 12 months. They comprehend it, on this ultra-competitive setting, it is going to be ” double or quits “. “After all the stress, the uncertainty could cause fatigue. However we will not complain. My father will get up each different week at 4 am to work within the manufacturing facility; I get up day-after-day to go play soccer with my pals,” needs to place Émilien, 19, additionally a participant within the reserve workforce and a local of the area, into perspective. He and others now need to assist convey a greater picture of soccer, nearer to individuals.

Émilien, 19, participant of the reserve workforce, is a part of this new era who hopes to assist in giving a greater picture of soccer.


Atseloncourt, we’re removed from the cliché of the disconnected footballer. Now all belonging to the identical Lionceaux tribe – that is the nickname given to FC Sochaux gamers – they every act as spokespersons for the group spirit.

“It’s only when the collective shines that individualities can stand out, mentioned 16-year-old Adam properly. Even small groups can create a shock at any time. Turnarounds are what makes the magic of this sport. » Which additionally most likely explains why this sport remains to be so standard.

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