- Elodie Thomis a decorated former France international
- She played with several of the current Bleues team
- These days she works as a camerawoman for French TV
By Emma Hingant with France
Elodie Thomis made quite an impression during her storied career. A flying right winger for France and Olympique Lyonnais, she scored 32 goals in 141 international appearances and won five UEFA Women’s Champions League crowns with her club, among a host of other titles.
Having collected her last France cap in 2017 and ended her club career a year later, she trained in video journalism, founded her own company, Thom’s Dream, and is now working as a camerawoman. Thomis’s new career sees her working at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, where she is living out her passion with French TV channel TF1.
Emma Hingant, our reporter with the France team, met with Thomis to talk about a range of subjects: her career change, raising awareness among young people – including some current France internationals – about life after football, the fears that come with ending a playing career, her future plans, and everything football has given to her.
When did you decide to branch out into a new career?
In 2014, I had this moment of realisation when I said to myself that there is life after football. You experience all these amazing things but then reality sets in. I asked myself some questions, did some research, and Olympique Lyonnais helped me to move in the direction I wanted to go. I liked the audiovisual side of things and David Huttin, a career adviser, suggested some qualifications to me, though it would have meant giving up football, which was impossible at the time because I was at the peak of my career. I gave it some thought and ended up doing some volunteer work for OL TV on my days off.
You could have rested on your laurels and capitalised on your football career. What made you go into something different?
I’ve always wanted to work but I come from an environment where that’s quite difficult to do. I knew about the tough side of life and I’ve always known that football wouldn’t last forever. I read articles that said elite sportspeople could end up with nothing at the end of their careers and fall into depression. That’s because they often don’t know what to do or end up doing things that don’t necessarily bring them any satisfaction.
Are you raising awareness of these risks?
Yes, young people need to be made aware. Some are listening too, like the players I call my ‘little ones’, the likes of Griedge [Mbock], Delphine [Cascarino] and Amel [Majri]. They listen a lot. What I say to them is this: "Get your qualifications, girls, while you’re on top form because life can quickly take a turn for the worse in the future." I really want to get it through to them how important that is, because that’s when real life starts.
Is it true to say, though, that football has brought you the happiest moments of your life?
I’ve experienced the most amazing emotions thanks to football. The Champions League wins were magical, especially the first ones. Oh my! Then there’s first World Cups. 2011, when we finished fourth, was crazy. The first Olympic Games, Wembley... And even the memories that hurt, like the finals I lost, were good memories simply because I was in a position to experience them. My family is still the most important thing for me, but in football I found my second family. When I started out at Clairefontaine (France’s national football academy) at the age of 16, I left my parents and never went back home. I met people who became like second parents to me. Your coaches bring you up, because at the age of 16 you’ve still got some growing to do. And then I met my friends. Louisa Necib is my friend and Camille Abily and Sonia Bompastor are people who I am really fond of and respect a lot. The bonds have stayed very strong.
Are your parents as proud of you now as they were when you were starring on the football pitch?
Yes, of course. They're proud I’ve changed careers because it’s not an easy thing to do. Some parents are scared, which is understandable. I’ve spoken, for example, with Griedge’s mum and she’s very proud of her daughter but she’s worried about what comes next. I reassured her. I told her that her daughter was someone who thinks things through, someone who listens a lot.
One last question: would you like to work exclusively in football?
No. I’ve always wanted to do reports in Africa, in other countries, on travel and music, etc. There are so many things to shoot. It’s so great. I love filming. Obviously I want to keep one foot in football because it’s been half my life, but I also want to see other things. I think we’ve all got a mission in life. Mine is to film things and create good reports.
Fans interested in attending the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 can still purchase tickets for the tournament via www.fifa.com/tickets, as well as via ticket booths located at stadia for remaining matches still available to the general public.