Marinette Pichon in “Le Monde”, the pioneer striker of women’s football

The footballer Marinette Pichon, during the match against Brazil, in Washington, in the United States, in 2003.

The world does not talk much about women’s football and Marinette Pichon is only very rarely mentioned. While Marinette, a biopic retracing her career signed Virginie Verrier with Garance Marillier, has just been released in theaters, we had to wait for her departure to the United States to read her name for the first time. However, she has been international since 1994 and already a star of Les Bleues. But no one knows her.

The news was announced very discreetly in the daily newspaper on April 30, 2002. “Marinette Pichon, top scorer for the French women’s team and the first Frenchwoman to join the North American professional championship in Philadelphia, was voted best player”, can we read in a small box on the annual awards of the National Union of Professional Footballers which accompanies an article on a “Suspenseful final between Lens and Lyon”.

Four months later, on August 26, 2002, a portrait is dedicated to the footballer Who “has become a star”. The correspondent of World in New York, Pascal Giberné, tells the story of this 26-year-old Frenchwoman, originally from the small town of Saint-Memmie (Marne) which has become “star player on the Philadelphia Charges football team”.

Cheerful and enthusiastic

Unrecognized in France, “Spotted last summer, during the European championship, by Philadelphia coach Mark Krikorian”, She “was set up as a revelation of this 2002 championship. Holder of 14 goals in the regular season, the Frenchwoman was one of the main reasons for the good course of her team”.

Questioned by the journalist, she is playful and enthusiastic: “I had a difficult first month because there was a language barrier,” recalls the 26-year-old. I decided to work hard, to learn English for two hours per week. And afterwards, everything happened very quickly, because I freed myself in training, I was doing the zouave. Besides, I invented a celebration after the goals that journalists now call the “monkey dance”. The fans then sent me two little plushie monkeys that became the lucky charms of the Charges. »

On November 19 of that same year, Pierre Lepidi covered a women’s football match in Saint-Etienne: France-England. At stake, a qualification for the 2003 World Cup and French women win. It’s a first. Among the players who react in the columns of the newspaper, Sonia Bompastor and striker Marinette Pichon: “We made a dream come true (…) We were tired of being the good little players of the France team who miss the last step every time. Now we are here. We are at the beginning of a great adventure. »

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