Racing Club de France have begun their season in flying form in the French league under new coach Maxime Bergez with back-to-back wins to date.
They opened up with a 3-1 win over FC Lyon while a hat trick form Christopher Peters-Deutz helped them defeat IH Lambersart on Sunday 5-2 as they build up to their return to the EHL in two weeks time.
Bergez took over the coaching reins from Nicolas Jaquet, who had been the head coach of the 1st team since 2016, to focus 100% on the Olympics in his role as French women’s assistant.
Bergez brings plenty of experience having been the Belgian indoor national coach, Under-21 Red Lions assistant coach, along with roles at Beerschot, Racing Club de Bruxelles, Royal Leopold and Daring.
He takes on the role at an exciting time with the club’s philosophy evolving. In the 2010s, the club had to recruit widely from outside but big improvements in their youth section has borne fruit with fresh faces working their way into the top level.
Arthur Plauche (forward) is the captain of the French Under-18 team; Aristide Michaelis (midfield) is the captain of the French Under-16s
They will be guided by a number of experienced players who link this generation to the French championship winning sides of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Peters-Deutz (28 year-old, 101 French caps), Antoine Ferec (29, 14 caps) Jean-Laurent Kieffer (29, 87 caps), Celestin Duchesne and captain Simon Martin-Brisac (30, 141 caps) can impart their wisdom, particularly of their EHL run to the KO8 in 2017.
Martin-Brisac says of their return after a five-year absence: “We are very pleased to play the EHL again. We come back with ambition and humility. We know that Holcombe is a great club with very good players: Payne, Roper, Ames and Bandurak did very well at the EuroHockey23 with England. I think they are the game favorites but we also have our strengths and we are going to do everything we can to create the feat!”
Racing will also be looking to use their Olympic connections as extra motivation. The venue for next summer’s Paris Games will take place at Colombes, in the Stade Yves du Manoir, where Racing Club de France used to play.
The club’s stadium also hosted the 1924 Olympic hockey event before being used by the club’s football and rugby sections with hockey returning there after 2024.