PREVIEW: 2014 Football European Championships – Team France

“France’s strength is the athleticism of their skill positions… they will be an interesting team to watch!”

Everyday this week AFI will be bringing you an introduction to each country represented in this year’s 2014 Eat the Ball Football European Championship taking place in Austria from May 30th to June 7th. Game venues in the preliminary round will include Graz and St. Poelten, while the final games of the championship will be held at the Ernst Happel- Stadium in Vienna.



via Thomas Depaepe and

A 2010 European Championship finalist,  the French have won “only” two silver medals so far. The French, who can also draw from a pool of French Canadians for their squad, are highly dangerous and anything but an underdog.


The French entered training camp this past week to prepare for the 2014 European Championships, and journalist Thomas Depaepe spoke with France National Team Head Coach Larry Legault about training camp and the team.

Thomas Depaepe: Yesterday (5/25), was the first practice you had the team with helmet and shoulder pads, was it the reason for the “surge” in training?

Larry Legault: “This is not necessarily a”surge”: it is necessary to put the shoulder pads on to practice some phases of the game. You cannot work the ground game and defense against the run if the players did not put on their shoulder pads. Wearing and practicing in the gear and are an essential parts of preparation for the team, but as the players are coming straight out of the French club season we need to adapt the pace of training and alternate with more or less intense phases.”

TD: This year there is a large number of new players who will compete in their first international competition; what is this about a “rookie show”?

LL: This is being called “rookie show” but it’s a team that can be built in quick, lightweight way. I also want to say that the term “rookie” is almost too harsh a term, … because even if there is a difference between a friendly match and tournament there are very few players who have never worn the blue jersey before. The team promises to be very strong in any case since there was a dozen players who were on the squad in 2011.


Journalist Nicolas Martin:

“France’s strength is the athleticism of their skill positions, in my opinion. Many of them are playing outside of France now, gaining experience (a bunch of them in the GFL/GFL2). But (the National Team) call themselves a “rookie show”,  they have about 10 players left from the 2011 World Cup team. Nothing to lose basically. They say they want to pass the ball more. Will be interesting to see. … I would assume Perez Mattison as the QB starter, Loic Caruso for Grenoble as backup, and Paul Durand as emergency QB or wildcat for possible trick plays.”

This is sounding like Team France should be an exciting team to watch in this year’s European Championships!


Championnat Europe Senior 2014 : L’équipe de… by ff-footballamericain


Depaepe also provides us with a peek inside a day of training camp for “Les Blues”, for all those who doubt the investment this group athletes France.

  • After a “light” breakfast (juice, bread) they head out to the field at 7:30 am so the offense may review an hour or so of scrimmage play. Then back to dining from for the “real” breakfast … but no time to waste becuase meetings for players begin at 8:45.


  • An hour later, they are out on the field again for the morning training (photos here) until 11:30. Because most of the players are coming straight out of the FFFA regular season there as been limited contact in practice thus far.
  • Back to the training center for a session in weight-room before lunch. Then it is time to rest and nap …. until 2:30, then up for a shake-out jog around the synthetic path on the training ground.

  • Next up, the offense faces off against the second defense (running oppositions defense) and staff demands that each and every moment and action is filmed for study later in the evening.
  • At around 5:30 pm, the team heads to the training center (CREPS) and for medical care and rehabilition to promote recovery.
  • Now dinner before the the team breaks up in groups for more meetings which begin at 8:30 pm and continue until 10:00 pm.
  • At 10 pm, it is the end of the day for the players, but now the staff meetings start and go late into the night. Only then is it time to rest for a few hours before doing it all over again the next day.



Thomas Depaepe is journalist and photographer living in France. He covers American Football for the Fédération Française de Football Américain (FFFA).