Paris Football Team holds combine at Paris La Défense Arena

This past weekend, the Paris Football Team and head coach Marc Mattioli held their first combine at Paris La Dèfense Arena in a bid to fill their roster for the 2023 European League of Football (ELF) season.

The grandeur of the Paris La Dèfense Arena was on full display in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre as players from all corners of Europe gathered at the multi-use dome in the hope of making the most anticipated team of the 2023 ELF season. 

Head coach Marc Mattioli addressing the players Photo: Maxime Le Pihif

Following an overwhelming amount of interest and applications, the Paris Football Team were forced to keep attendees to just 240 to make the evaluation process manageable. The day was limited to helmets only with athletes being put through their paces in bag, one-on-one and open-field drills.

Photo: Tiffany Amisse

On the day, Mattioli made particular mention of the skill positions who stood out to him for their range, quickness and technical ability. With the outstanding talents of American wideout Kyle Sweet and homegrown receiver Remi Bertellin already acquired, this appears to be a part of the depth chart that is only getting deeper.

Photo: Maxime Le Pihif

Paris has had a budding football scene for years and of the helmets visible, those of the La Courneuve Flash stood out. The Paris-based team have been one of the powerhouses in France for years and following another national title this year along with their history of international competition, they will likely make up the bulk of the roster.

Photo: Maxime Le Pihif

Following the Combine, Mattioli commented:

My main focus has been putting together our roster for year one. We want our roster to be talented, balanced, and deep at all positions. It is an in-depth process which requires evaluation, relationship building, recruiting and signing players. There are so many talented French players. We are looking for talented guys with character, toughness and great energy and attitudes. 

“Our tryout camp on November 20 was a major success. I was very impressed with the level of talent there and also the effort that everyone displayed. We will have a lot of difficult decisions to make moving forward in choosing guys to make up our roster because there are more players than we are able to take based on the rules of roster size. That is a good problem to have. We are also making great progress with our American and European import spots. I am really excited about the roster we are putting together and can’t wait to continue to see it come together as we move forward.”

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.