After your career as a player, why did you opt for coaching?
It came very naturally. I already had a sensitivity towards the end of my career, around 28-30 years old, on the whole tactical aspect/set-up/organization of training and the team. It was really something that I liked. I was lucky to have coaches like Francis Gillot and others who allowed me to interact with them, to go to the offices, to discuss their way of working and their organization. It came naturally, I said to myself: “I stay in what I know how to do, football. » And then there is the passion. I love football, I really love it, it’s been my whole life and it still is. I like what I do, I like to question myself, I like to search and torture my mind.
Why do it with Étoile Fréjus Saint-Raphaël, in National 2?
Quite simply because I have reached the end of my career at the Étoile. The club gave me the opportunity to develop myself in the coaching profession, to accompany me in the diplomas and especially to have a team in charge (he was in charge of the young teams, before being assistant to his predecessor, Charles Paquillé, editor’s note), the club literally opened its doors to me. Then I am convinced that the amateur level is the most difficult in all its components. We have a completely different public from that in the professional world, so there was the idea of building something different. But that supposes that you also have to learn from people who have been doing this for a long time and who have had problems to solve for years. It is an ambitious club in which there is passion with a president (Pierre Montoro, Editor’s note) who is passionate, and he transmitted this passion to me for the club.
You began to prepare for the coaching profession in parallel with the end of your career as a professional player. What training and process did you follow?
Once I really stopped my playing career (in 2019), I was integrated directly into the assistant position in N2, and at the same time, I started the process to obtain the Football Coaching Certificate (BEF) which is the first diploma. It is accessible for former players directly, without going through the “ lower degrees “, because we have this culture of the game and this knowledge of the high level which gives us the keys to directly obtain this diploma. I was able to pass it by being in charge of a U15 team at the start. This year I applied for the senior coaching diploma (DES) to have the possibility of coaching a senior team at a higher level. I was in charge of the reserve team and the U18s. It’s the natural path when you leave professional football. The last diploma after the DES is the professional football coach certificate (BEPF) which allows you to train at the professional level, as its name suggests.
Does the fact of having managed players from the training allow you to bring a new perspective on the needs of the first team?
My experience gives me a better knowledge of players playing in the lower categories and their potential. My goal was really to improve this potential to feed the first team, because there are plenty of benefits to be drawn from the young people of the club: the feeling of belonging to the club and the economic aspect. also, since if we train our own players, it saves us from looking for them elsewhere. I was in a position at the crossroads between training, the senior team, the reserve and the first team, which allows me to have a global view of these aspects.
Is there a big difference between being a trainer and a coach?
Being an educator and coach is completely different. When you are an educator, you are dealing with an audience that is not professional, so for some, football is not their job. In reserve, I had players who worked on the side, the educational aspect is totally different. I am demanding no matter what, but I have to combine this requirement with a greater understanding linked to the daily life of my players who are sometimes masons, plumbers or others and who have physically very complicated days. I had to adapt to that. This experience taught me a lot. Human first, because sometimes you can have a bad day at work and it can be felt in the field. I had a fairly open relationship with my players where I told them: “ You have the right to have a bad day, let me know, I’ll be less on your back. » It’s a totally different pedagogy, unlike my current position where the players have only one concern: football.
Does this change of status have an impact on your way of seeing the game?
This appointment did not change anything. I haven’t changed my tune. I have in mind a fairly specific game project that I have already been able to put in place with the two teams that I previously coached at a lower level. There, we are no longer in urgency » (EFSR is 9e of his group, 3 points from the first relegation, Editor’s note). We have to restore the group’s confidence, so I try very slowly to bring the players to my project without wanting to upset everything that was already in place before me.
How would you define your playing philosophy?
My game philosophy goes through the mind. These are the lessons I learned from my professional career: you have to hate defeat. You have to want to win absolutely everything, whether it’s games in training or games at the weekend. On a tactical level, overall, it means keeping the ball alive by making a lot of effort both offensively and defensively and trying to maneuver the opposing team by exploiting all parts of the field. If I had to sum up my vision of football, it would be this, and if we can have possession of the ball at the same time, that would be perfect. I hope that the requirement that we impose on ourselves, my staff and I, will transpire on the players and will lead to results because we cannot hope for something in football if we do not put in work, work and more work.
What are your ambitions at the club by the end of the season?
Getting out of the delicate situation in which we find ourselves (a series of seven games without a win, editor’s note). The institution is in danger, and for me, nothing comes before the institution. Whether it’s me or the players, we have to stick together. It would be dramatic if the situation were to worsen sportingly. So I only see the short term, because that’s how you have to take events. You have to understand Saturday’s match against Lyon-La Duchère, start collecting points to get out of this situation and maintain yourself as quickly as possible.
Despite the urgency of the situation for the club, you aim to join the project for a longer period of time than just the end of the season.
Honestly my projection for the moment it is there, at the moment T. I have no projections for next year. I really project myself in the short term because you can’t imagine the future if the present is not recorded. My ambition lies in the ten remaining league games, including Saturday’s, and being ready to take up the challenge of getting out of the situation in which we currently find ourselves. As long as we are not better in the classification, the medium and long term projection, it does not exist in my head and it has no place to be.
Competition in the South East is very strong, but few clubs, particularly in the Var, have reached the elite of French football. Can Fréjus Saint-Raphaël eventually become the flagship club of Var football?
I think and I am convinced that it is, because that’s what we’ve been saying at the club for several years. I think that’s what the club shows. All the conditions are met to be the biggest Var club. We have a president who loves his club and who is ready to do anything for him and his players, so yes, and I am convinced of it, that we can be part of the elite of Var football and why not national. Everyone needs to be aware of this, but there is still everything to be done to achieve this.
How do you explain that there are so few clubs in the Southeast that have managed to establish themselves in the elite of French football?
I was trained at AS Cannes, I know the PACA region and its mentality very well. I am convinced that there is an important part that is due to the recruitment of individuals. We have a quality of life here that is extraordinary, there is the sea, the sun and all the distractions possible and imaginable for a player. It is therefore an important factor, the human factor, which should not be mistaken when recruiting. Especially on their mentality and their will to adhere to the project and to make it a success. It’s easy to get lost here, leaving the rigor and professionalism that everyone wants to bring. So I think recruitment is very important and can lead to a first line of thought on this theme. Then, the clubs have to be rigorous and demanding as much as possible, but we can see that this is not always enough. When I was in Cannes, I saw a lot of my colleagues drift because it was the South, the Croisette, and in the Var, it’s about the same quality of life, so you have to be careful to men and their intentions.
Julien Faubert becomes head coach in National 2