(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek: left to right Laetitia Leme, Coralie Bretegnier, Louise Luepak)

Six years ago, Coralie Bretegnier and former player Christelle Wahnawe realised a dream and started a football club for girls and young women that would quickly become a dominant force in New Caledonian women’s football.

In fact, remarkably, the senior women’s team that won the inaugural OFC Women’s Champions League in Papua New Guinea last year, has lost just once domestically since its formation in 2018.

The club has swelled to more than 100 registered players in youth and senior football, but that’s just a small part of the story. AS Academy Féminine is about much more than just activities on a football pitch.

“We wanted to help develop women’s football and that’s why we created this 100% feminine club. We do not like the term football club because we do so much more than just practice and train girls with playing football. We really wanted to focus on what could make the girls grow, that’s what we do.” Bretegnier who is the club’s technical director and senior team coach said.

AS Academy Féminine is built around three pillars; football, education, and social education.

The players typically arrive at the team’s Monravel training base in Noumea after school each afternoon. The large facility has study rooms, a library, a kitchen, washing room and a gym area (not complete) that the club hopes to open as a resource for the wider community. Largely run by volunteers, the club hopes to attract more sponsorship to enable them to further develop their facilities.

(Photo Credit AS Academy Féminine: Players do their homework before practice)

“98 percent of the players come from a poor background and the club tries to provide them with the tools they need to thrive on and off the field. Besides football we also have a big social education programme that we run. We take the kids out of their daily lives and provide support for homework and social or cultural education.

“We provide the players with their training gear, sometimes the shoes they need.” Bretegnier added.

The base that houses the club’s administration, (most of the seven strong staff are volunteers) also contains an impressive trophy cabinet and it’s a short walk from the field, which the club uses for both trainings and match day activities.

(Photo Credit OFC Media via Phototek)

“We have a school of football from five-year olds to 10 and then we have U-11, U-13, U-16 and the senior squads.” Bretegnier explained.

While she focuses on the senior squad, there are other coaches who come in and work with the juniors.

(Photo Credit AS Academy Féminine)

Bretegnier is driven by passion for developing young female footballers into well-rounded athletes in New Caledonia. Almost every minute she spends not working in her ‘ day job’ working in sports for the Government, she spends down at the football club.

“We want to give the kids the keys to succeed not only in football but in life.”