Opinion

André-Pierre Couffet
President of Monaco Women's Football Sports Association

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26/08/2020 par André-Pierre Couffet

For girls, a football club can be like a big family

“In Monaco, women’s football has never been a fad. Our club, the Monaco Women’s Football Sports Association (ASM FF), was founded in the 1970s. At the time, it was known by another name, the Monaco Sports Omnium. Under its colours, the girls reached the highest French level. Then they had to leave the elite. Over the last four or five years, we have relaunched a new dynamic at the ASM FF, based on strong values and a solid sports policy. We’re aiming for excellence and the imminent return of our flag team to the First Division, but without giving up a state of mind that is based on sharing, giving of oneself and solidarity. We favour detection, to find the best players, but by offering as many girls as possible the opportunity to fulfil their dream of playing football, progressing and climbing the ladder.

Today, the club welcomes young girls in the football school from the age of 5 to adulthood with two senior teams and under-15 and under-18 groups. The very rapid development of women’s football does not bypass Monaco. We are now forced to turn people away, except in football school, in order to maintain high quality in training sessions. We are careful not to exceed the limit of 150 licensees. But it is not uncommon for the club to receive requests from abroad, from Italy, Switzerland or even the United States.

His initials sum it all up: the ASM FF is an entire club dedicated to girls. But behind these five letters is also its philosophy: ASM football family. Football is not everything for us and the result of a match will never be its only goal. We share much more than our passion for the game and the ambition to perform. The club is a family cocoon where values and ideals are passed on. Our partnership with Peace and Sport can’t be explained in any other way. Like them, we believe in the virtues of peace through sport. Like them, we use football as a way to change people’s lives.

We do it on our scale and with our means. Humbly and with modesty. Within the framework of our partnership, we have put Peace and Sport’s methodology into practice through actions in the field. Last May, one of their Champions for Peace, Mélissa Plaza, a former international player, led a workshop with our young people. Also, the ASM FF players sometimes travel to the difficult neighborhoods of the region to meet young girls who dream of playing in their turn. They talk about their journey, the obstacles to overcome, but also the joys and rewards at the end of the road. Our best players can be role models for the younger ones. They have a role to play. We at the club put a lot of emphasis on the educational role of football. Sometimes we even provide support, both academic and financial, to young girls who join us from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Our development on a national scale allows us to export our know-how in terms of sports event organization. Before the health crisis we are experiencing, we were preparing a women’s U15 tournament in collaboration with the Paris Airport Foundation. The winning team was invited to stay in Monaco. For many of these girls, a real dream. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the organization of the 2020 edition scheduled for May 16th. It should be postponed to October. In the long run, we are looking forward to broadening the scope of this competition to make it a world tournament. We don’t want to think too big, but we don’t want to stop ourselves from dreaming. Sport can break down borders. It can achieve the impossible. At the ASM FF, we are convinced of that.”

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