Tahiti U-20 midfielder Terai Bremond was still shy of his 16th birthday when he left the sandy shores of French Polynesia to go in search of a new adventure.
After catching the eye with consistent performances at local club AS Venus, Bremond was invited to trial in France and following a month-long trial, he was invited to join Toulouse FC.
“My first year was quite difficult, I was only 15-and-a-half. It was cold, I had to integrate into the group really quickly.
“At that age, we can’t play games so I was training and only playing friendly matches.”
The difficulties Bremond encountered in terms of the change in lifestyle, culture and football only served to harden him, the now 17-year-old said.
“It served me well mentally, I could harden up a little,” Bremond stated.
“I hung in there and at the end the coach told me that I needed to take the year as one of adaptation, so I could play games much faster the following year.”
Bremond’s coach was right.
As he headed into his second year in Toulouse, he started to become more comfortable in his surroundings.
“The second year was much better,” he said.
“Playing in the U-17 National is hard but I hung in. I didn’t let go, actually the contrary.
“For my position, it’s the coach who decides. He tells me to play defensive midfield, attacking midfield, any position. If I have to play defender I’ll play defender. All that I want is to play my best and to enjoy it.”
Bremond, who also played for Tahiti during last year’s OFC U-17 Championship, is delighted to once again be playing in such an important regional competition on home soil
“I’m proud, and will be even prouder if we’re able to qualify,” he said.
“There’s a great atmosphere in the team, that’s what we need, cohesion. Football, above all, is collective.
“There are people who individually are a bit stronger, but it’s only all together that we will succeed.”
Being a close-knit group is what Bremond believes will bring this side success in the OFC U-19 Championship.
“If we give everything for our friend, nothing will get to us. If a teammate isn’t feeling good, we need to comfort them. If he misses something, we need to encourage him, that’s how we’ll get to the very end.”
Tahiti have put up two strong performances so far in the competition and have one final group match coming up against Tonga.
Bremond is adamant this team has what it takes to achieve its goals.
“I’m here in Tahiti to defend my country, it’s an honour, a new objective and I believe in it thoroughly.”