Lucie Esnault and Manon Bruno: "We're all in it for the team!

Lucie Esnault and Manon Bruno, players on the university women's soccer team, are 2019 French champions and STAPS students at UM.

The first, Lucie Esnault, is a goalkeeper preparing for a professional career, while the second, Manon Bruno, is a midfielder. Both are real soccer fans, and appreciate the "very friendly atmosphere" of this university team. " During the competition, we had a lot of fun outside the matches, but on the pitch we were all in it together," declares Lucie. A recipe that worked, as the Montpellier girls, led by their coaches Frédéric Dumazert and Laurent Mortel, won the French university championship and came4th at the European championship in Madrid this summer.

"I loved the ball right away".

For 24-year-old Manon, her love of football began at the age of 12. "I was always playing in the street with my friends, so I asked my mother to enroll me in a club, and she said yes. Montpellier Hérault, ASPTT Montpellier, two years in Nîmes where she travelled back and forth by train after school and at weekends, then back to the ASPTT, for Manon things are clear, "I like everything about soccer, I couldn't do anything else." Manon has just completed her sports training degree at theUFR STAPS in Montpellier.

For her part, Lucie, 19, from Charentes Maritimes, has been diving into the cages since the age of six. "We used to go and watch my father play every weekend. I loved the ball right away! A player with MHSC in the First Division and Honor Division for the past year, she benefits from the status of high-level player, enabling her to train three hours a day without her STAPS studies suffering too much. " It avoids being penalized for not attending class, but you have to find the time to catch up, and that's not always easy," she admits.

"So many emotions on the pitch".

The two athletes are unfailingly determined, emphasizing the values of "self-sacrifice and seriousness" that are essential in sport, but also and above all "the team spirit, the desire to give everything, because our team becomes a bit like our family. We experience so many emotions on the pitch," declares Manon Bruno.

Both of them recall, with some amusement, the remarks they sometimes had to endure. " All my childhood I was told I was a tomboy because I played soccer, but frankly I didn't care," recalls Lucie Esnault. So when the World Cup finally put the spotlight on the women's version of this beloved sport, they didn't miss a beat: "It's good to see the public taking an interest, and I'm sure it'll be a real springboard for all the girls who want to play soccer," hopes Manon.

A keen traveller, she also sees soccer as a great way of "opening up my mind and meeting people from all over the world. In Madrid this summer, I made Russian and German friends. An experience she would like to extend in her professional life by becoming a coach abroad, for example. A wish also shared by Lucie, although she says it loud and clear: "What I want is to be a professional soccer player!

UM sportsmen and women at the top!

The University of Montpellier celebrates its athletes who have won medals at the World, European and French University Championships at an annual ceremony organized by the SUAPS. Read the portraits of these champions who lead the demanding double life of student-athlete. Read all the portraits...