By Estelle Gadrat
My name is Estelle Gadrat, I am French and living in Canada to complete my end-of-study internship for my MBA degree in International Travel Management.
I met Jean Jacques during an interview to be a French teacher for his tutoring centre. During the interview, his passion for soccer became clear to me and he asked me if I played soccer. I said yes. I’ve always loved soccer. I played a lot at school and practiced at home when I was younger. I started having a growing interest for the sport in 1998, when France’s National team won the Soccer World Cup! I was 9, and very excited about this event. It motivated me to practice more in order to become a better player. I wanted to learn the tricks that Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry (my idols at the time) did during the World cup. I showed Jean Jacques my soccer skills and a few days later I started to coach soccer to kids in Kerrisdale and UBC Old Barn Community Centres. I used to be a tennis coach for 5 years, so it came easily to me and I really enjoyed it. I also assisted Jean Jacques in some private sessions. I love having the opportunity to focus on one child and tailoring the exercises to him or her.
I also enjoy seeing children have fun while improving their soccer skills and coordination. There is always a big change between the first and the last session. At the end, children not only have new skills, but also learn how to behave in a team, sharing the ball, and being disciplined. Young players evolve very quickly like empty bucket. I find it very rewarding to see them smiling, especially excited once being congratulated after they have scored a goal.
Coaching in community centres has also given me the chance to get involved in Vancouver’s local and real life. I have now known Vancouverites better and it is great to see how another country’s sport system works. In France, we don’t have community centres system like in Canada. People practice sports in specific clubs (one club for one sport) and children can only register to once sport for an entire year starting every year in September.
Indeed, soccer also known as football is the most popular sport in France as in other many European countries. More than 2 million people play soccer in clubs. Most importantly, so many players develop on their own practice in what called street soccer. JBST Soccer Academy tries its best to transmit the passion of the game to Canadians and I totally love and support this initiative.
I’ll definitely go back to France enriched from my coaching experiences with JBST! This has been an amazing experience in my life.