Soccer. After OL, Mathys Lefebvre chooses the United States as a springboard

At the end of his aspiring contract at OL, after five years at the academy, Mathys Lefebvre is about to leave. But unlike some of his future ex-teammates who are about to leave the Lyon school and marry a new project in France, or even in Europe, he will simply cross the Atlantic and join the University of Pittsburgh in the north. -eastern United States.

Within OL’s Pro 2 group, this 20-year-old footballer already had an atypical profile, in the sense that he was not only focused on high-level football. In addition to his daily training and N2 matches (7 appearances, 1 goal), this holder of a baccalaureate with honors, whose half of the season was cut short by an ankle injury, was following higher education on the Amos Lyon campus.

Haloed by a Bachelor in sports management, this athlete of 1.83m for 73 kg, recruited by OL when he played in U15 in Boulogne-Billancourt, will extend his school course in Pittsburgh. This public university in the state of Pennsylvania, renowned for its teaching of medicine and finance, took into account its exams in France to enable it to obtain a new Bachelor’s degree (business option), in just a year and a half. … instead of four for an average student.

“I don’t close any doors, I open others”

It is this fairly short time that Mathys Lefebvre has chosen to take to complete his “post-training”, the last step before achieving his priority objective: to become a professional footballer. His dream would be to return to play in one of the major European championships or to join the MLS (the North American championship) via the draft system which he will be able to claim from January 2023…

“In November, my choice to go to the United States, a country that has always attracted me, was made. During the implementation of the project, I understood that I would not close the doors of the professional world and that on the contrary I was going to open others to it”, estimates the person concerned, who is accompanied in his approach by OL and a specialized agency: FFF USA.

It was the latter that made the link with the universities and managed the “transfer”. More than a dozen would have expressed their interest in the CV of this young man straight out of French training (which is moreover Lyon) whose football reputation is second to none.

After careful consideration, it was on the Pittsburgh Panthers that Mathys Lefebvre flashed. “The recruitment took place as for a club: we spoke by video, the staff came to supervise me in match and I went there to visit the infrastructures”, he relates.

This university, which belongs to one of the highest conferences (ACC) of 1D NCCA division, tracked a versatile profile like his, both defensive midfielder and central defender. “I got a full scholarship, which is quite rare. This can be explained by the real role that they want to give me within the collective”, he notes at the start of a season (kick-off in August, play-off in December) where Pittsburgh will be aiming for the national title.

Show the way to other apprentice footballers

Mathys Lefebvre is betting on the fact that soccer is booming in North America to gain visibility. Admittedly, he will go from an adult championship to a student competition, tactically perfectible, but all his matches will be televised on ESPN. “It’s a gamble, he admits, but I’m convinced I made the right choice of university, life and career”. While waiting to find out, Mathys Lefebvre admits wanting to “break the codes of the classic course in professional football training”. But he does not define himself as a pioneer, one of his future team-mates being precisely French and from AJ Auxerre. “Footballers are victims of a bad image. They are much more numerous than you think to follow a double project, ”says the one who hopes to “inspire” other apprentice footballers and why not open a new path for OL towards the United States…

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