PREVIEW: France’s Elite 2015 – Templiers d’Elancourt

Saturday, February 7th Elite American football is back in France.

This is part of a series of previews to learn more about the top teams of the FFFA, Fédération Française de Football Américain, and better understand the challenges of this new season. This preview comes courtesy of VoxStadium and Marion Santiago and has been translated by AFI.

Today we meet another competitor in the FFFA’s Elite Conference Nord, the Templiers d’Elancourt. Emmanuel Charret, head coach of the team, gives us an overview at the dawn of the new season.

Templiers d’Elancourt

Templiers-crédits-Patrice-Voisin

Templiers are looking to bounce back after last season controversial ending.

Last season, a bombshell nearly cost the Templiers d’Elancourt position in the FFFA’s top Elite division. As the Templiers were headed straight towards qualification for the semi-finals, the club was downgraded to 6th place following an administrative error by the club management. This heavy error came with heavy consequences, and left Emmanuel Charret and the Templiers management holding the bag.

Worst Case Scenario

“In the last offseason in 2013, the club recorded the license of a transfer player on October 31st. However, the deadline for transfer was October 30th,” said head coach of the Templiers. “We thought we were within the rules, until an arbitrator realized our mistake during a game, and thus the federation decided to downgrade us.”

This was a tough judgement for Templier, who earned their place in the final four, but instead had to play in a demotion match where their defeat would have relegated them to the 2nd division. This news significantly impacted the morale of the players, and the efforts of Emmanuel Charret ability to motivate his troops.

“When you find yourself playing in the (demotion) playoff instead of the semi-final, it is very for difficult for everyone. So we end up this year with a reduced workforce, with players who decided to leave or stop playing football because of this story.”

Departures

While most Elite teams use the offseason to strengthen their squads, the Templiers were struck with the departure of some key players, such as Guillaume Bazile, who left to join the Molosses, Anthony Couvin, a French international now with the Gladiators Queue-en-Brie (D2), and Sean Shelton the MVP American quarterback, who will play in Austria with the Swarco Raiders.

“He (Shelton) is a young QB that I recruited last year, but he had such power that he was spotted by the Raiders from Tirol, who are one of the best teams in Europe,” says Emmanuel Charret.

This was a real disappointment for the Templiers, especially as it has been the club’s practice to retain their US imports over several seasons, a practice quite rare in France’s top league. “A few years ago, we recruited Perez Mattison, an international quarterback of a very high level, and he remained with us for seven seasons.” Unfortunately, it was much more complicated to negotiate with him this past offseason. This was also evidenced by another departure, that of Mike Douglas, American player who played for the club for many years, who also left to join the Molosses of Asnieres-sur-Seine.

The New Kids on Block

551976_4409337633257_1406114756_n

Cody Redmond comes to boost the Templiers line

Deprived of their two 2014 American forces, the Templiers are gone recruit two new imports. We start with Zach Shaw, a native of Wisconsin and quarterback from Lutheran College (NCAA D3). Shaw has some European experience as he played for the Søllerød Gold Diggers of Denmark in 2013. The American QB spent 2014 as offensive coordinator at Mesabi Range College (USA).

To compensate for the loss of Mike Douglas, Emmanuel Charret welcomes Cody Redmond, a versatile lineman who will provide a physical impact on both offense and defense. A NAIA national champion in 2013 with Grand View University, his leadership will be invaluable for the Templiers.

Aiming High

These reinforcements, added to the remaining workforce, will hopefully allow the club to aim for a competitive season. The Templiers have a group of very capable players and can always rely on their veterans such as their pair of receivers Larroque Jeremy and Jonathan Eckmans. Still, the Elancourt coach has some reservations on the overall quality of its roster:

“I think I have a good group of holders. By cons, if we have injured during the season, it will be complicated because we do not have a lot of depth compared to last year.”

No matter, the situation does not prevent Emmanuel Charret from aiming for the title of champion of France.

“I always hope to win, obviously, it is above all the goal.”

In 2008, the Templiers almost reached that goal, managing to reach the final but falling to the Flash de la Courneuve, a club at the top of French American football.

The Templiers season begins Saturday where the club will host the Cougars de Saint-Ouen at Complexe Sportif.

Source: www.voxstadium.fr

Link to the Templiers d’Elancourt profile on Europlayers.com here

Marion Santiago
Journaliste sur @PokerStars Sports Club / Rédactrice Foot US, NBA, Football @VoxStadium
Skip to toolbar