Training at Olympique Lyonnais A Once in a Lifetime Experience?
For many, the answer to this question is absolutely yes. For Lindsey Horan (CO Rush), perhaps this is only the beginning. Lindsey is a veteran of our youth national teams of U17 World Cup Qualifying. She is committed to the University of North Carolina and her goals are extremely high. She is on a path that would lead one to believe, she has a bright future. One step towards that future is occurring now as Lindsey is training with world super power Olympique Lyonnais (OL) of the French first division. OL is currently the French league champions as well as UEFA Champions League champions. Lindsey and OL have just returned from a week-long trip in the French Alps in the mountain town of Tignes (Teen-yea). Rush Soccer asked Lindsey (pictured in front of the team bus. The trip into the Alps was around 3.5 hours from Lyon) a few questions at the midway point of her soccer opportunity.
RS: Please explain your first thoughts when you found out you were going to be training at Olympique Lyonnais (pictured at right - Stade Eric Cantona).
LH: When I first found out I was going to be training in Lyon I was at the airport leaving for my family vacation to Barcelona. I got the call from Tim (Schulz) and was so excited. We had been talking about sending me overseas for a while and it finally was happening.
RS: You just completed a week long training camp with the first team. Tell us about the week.
LH: This week we have been staying in the Alps. The training fields were five minutes from the hotel and you couldn’t find a better place to train. It was beautiful. This week was the team’s preseason training camp so yes, there was a lot of fitness! Almost every morning at 7am we would go for a bike ride, around 20-25 minutes. We did a lot of running around the lake we were nearby. Probably the hardest fitness session was the bike and run. You had a partner and one ran while the other biked, and you could switch off back and forth. We did that on steep hills and around the lake. We trained every day as well. The training sessions included some fitness, a lot of technical work and some playing. We played a lot of possession which I love and also got to play to goals as well. Overall the sessions were very hard and competitive. It was an awesome environment to be in. (At right: The team executing speed and agility exercises with some interested on-lookers.)
RS: What is your impression of the players and their technical ability?
LH: When I found out I was training with Olympicque Lyonnais I did not have a lot of background on them. I knew they had won the champions league though. All the girls here are very technical and are great players. There are 10-12 players from the French National Team here (who just finished fourth at the world cup) and a few other national team players from different countries. All the player’s touches are incredible and even with heavy legs from the fitness, the players are working very hard.
RS: With only a few players who can speak English and all the coaching in French, have you found it difficult to communicate? From a soccer stand point, does it make things difficult?
LH: Yes, it was very difficult to understand what was going on sometimes. The coaches speak very little English. The head coach (Patrice Lair, pictured talking to the team before training) doesn’t speak any English at all. There is around five or six girls here that speak good English including my roommate Lara (Swiss international). After the coach would say something they would translate for me. But it really got difficult when the coach was speaking to me directly in French and nobody was there to translate. Not even coach Erik Bushey. He started learning but gave up mainly because he is lazy (editor’s note: We spoke with Coach Bushey who is accompanying Lindsey on her trip and his response was “Why that little…” anyway, we digress.)
RS: What has been your favorite part of this experience thus far?
LH: I think my favorite part of this trip so far was just to get the opportunity to train with these players who just now returned from the world cup.
RS: Least favorite part?
LH: My least favorite part of the trip has probably been all the fitness, but in the end it is helping me a lot so I’m glad I got to do it, and finished it.
Please stay tuned for more updates on Lindsey’s soccer opportunity at French club Olympique Lyonnais.
One session after a team run included beach soccer.