Football: for Mathieu Rufié (Rodez), “it will be a sacred mission” to stay in women’s D1

The Ruthénoises of Mathieu Rufié, champions of France in D2 at the end of the last season, did their recovery training, Monday August 1, in Vabre. They will find the D1, three years after getting off. The coach tells us about the preseason.

How do you approach the transition from D2 to D1?

Calmly. Since the climb we went for, and the title as a bonus, our regularity made it deserved. We acquired the right to go to D1, to pass this step. I don’t see why I would be anxious or worried about it. The staff is calm. We have no pressure.

Besides, has there been any change in the staff?

No. Patrice Ranc and Victor Gayrard are staying with me. Martin Douillard will not be far from the team. It changes at the level of the guards: it is Gilles Dullac (former coach of the men’s doormen) who will take them as part of his duties. Just at the level of medical follow-up, for physiotherapists, on a little unknown.

The girls were very physically tired at the end of the season, which was their first full season in three years. Have they all recovered? Did the break do them any good ?

On the little we saw today (Monday August 1), which was day 1, I find that what was reassuring is that they all wanted to touch the ball. They were focused, they were understood and content to find themselves. No one came back injured. And no one looked tired to me, but they’ve been working individually since July 11. It was an assumed choice not to resume until August 1, since the championship does not resume until September 10. Six weeks, that seemed enough to us in preparation.

Solène Barbance, former Raf player, announced her return to Rodez in July. Have you strengthened the ranks of the team with other recruits?

The objective of the off-season was to improve quality, to homogenize the group to strengthen competition. And today we are at six arrivals, which allow us to fulfill the objective: Solène Barbance (Dijon, D1), Mylaine Tarrieu (Dijon), Inès Barrier (Dijon), Chloé Bornes (Saint-Etienne, D1, who has already worn the colors of Rodez), Maud Antoine (Saint-Etienne) and Laurène Martin (Orléans, D2).

In addition to Amélie Devaux and Louise Cid, who will play for Albi (D2) next season, have there been other departures?

Flavie Grocq is no longer in the group but remains at the club. Maëlys Cubaynes went to Comtal. Laura Riquelme joined Oviedo. And that’s all. Téa Cayzac remains in the group but she is recovering, she has just had surgery on her cruciate ligaments.

Apart from a few players at the club for a long time, such as Laurie Cance, Sofia Guellati or Océane Saunier, few players have already experienced D1. Does the group, as it is today, have the shoulders to get into the competition?

The step is super high, but on the other hand, I know that those who participated in raising the team, if they give themselves the means, they are able to pass this step. Some have touched the D1 in other clubs, such as Solène Champagnac or Zoé Stievernart. Clémentine Canon has made around thirty matches in D1. Selen Altunkulak also played it. Alexandria Lamontagne, who has a full D1 season (Fleury, 2018-2019). Behind, Eloïse Sevenne or Marie-Morgane Sieber, were artisans of the climb. I don’t see why I would have turned everything upside down. We are a group of 22 players with Téa, with six new ones and fifteen who were already at the club.

What are the positions or lines you want to make for the recovery?

Pretty much everywhere. The idea was to go up in quality. To complicate my task on the choices but to allow them, between them, to pull themselves up.

What is the preseason schedule?

The month of August is dosed so that we are ready on September 10th. Now, we don’t have the D1 calendar, which should be out this week. Depending on the calendar, the program can be adjusted.

What is the objective of the season today, when resuming training?

I assume that on the first day, we are on the starting line with everyone, at zero points. And that, even if we know very well that the objective is the opposite of that of last year, we start from zero like everyone else. At J1, we will have our destiny in our hands, we know who we will have to fight against, more or less. The objective is to stay in D1. Just like going up, it wasn’t easy, despite what we heard to the right or to the left. In particular some observers of women’s football, who felt that Pool B was weaker than Pool A.

It was hard to go up, it will be quite a mission to stay there. All the resources that the girls found to go and win complicated matches last year, they will have to find them when they have less of the ball or when it is more difficult for them to win. With work, seriousness, involvement and a group life that must be modeled on what we saw last year, on all our chances.

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