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Will Still, prodigy coach of the Stade de Reims

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Will Still, prodigy coach of the Stade de Reims

In the unofficial capital of champagne, football fans have been sparkling with happiness for some time. For good reason: Stade de Reims has not lost in Ligue 1 for nineteen games, the longest unbeaten streak in progress in the five major European championships. At the time of welcoming Olympique de Marseille (OM), current runner-up to Paris-Saint-Germain, on Sunday March 19 at the Stade Auguste-Delaune II, the club (8e in the standings) displays his confidence. “We know that at some point defeat will happen, but we are very comfortable with all that”explains Mathieu Lacour, its managing director.

The good results of Stade de Reims are partly due to one man: their coach, Will Still. Arrived on the bench in October 2022, replacing Oscar Garcia – of whom he was the deputy until then – the Belgian, just 30 years old, becomes the youngest coach in Europe. At this time the club is 17e of Ligue 1 and the man is entrusted with the mission of saving the place of Reims in the elite. At least temporarily. Because Mathieu Lacour promises that“a coach will be appointed to the international break” caused by the World Cup in Qatar.

“The idea was above all to protect himtells today Monde the leader of Reims. We didn’t want to put him in the spotlight by appointing him as head coach. We stopped the story early enough with Garcia not to be in an emergency of results. » After several meetings at the head of the team, the coach’s progress report is positive. And, five months later, no one would dare to use the term “interim” to talk about Will Still.

The label of “football geek”

His method works, and Ligue 1 learns to discover it from week to week. “He has a logical and linear success, despite his young age”, argues journalist Sacha Tavolieri, a specialist in Belgian football, who watched him cut his teeth in the country. Originally, there is a bedroom, three computers and Football Manager, the famous simulation game which consists in embodying the coach of a professional club. Will Still spends hours there alongside his two brothers, who have also become coaches: Edward, the eldest, is the main manager of Eupen, in Belgium, assisted by Nicolas, the youngest of the siblings.

The Reims technician is a representative of this new generation naturally at ease with the tools used by the technical staff. “He was very innovative, remembers goalkeeper William Dutoit, who met Will Still when he started out as a video analyst at Belgian club Saint-Trond in 2014. At the time, it was the beginnings of video analysis and he already mastered everything! » If we gladly stick the label of “football geek” attached to data, the technician is much more than that. “He is a whole person, direct and honest. With this guideline, it can only work”continues the doorman.

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