Football. Ascent to Real Madrid for Jean-Claude Derache, honorary president of the Saint-Marcel club

Jean-Claude Derache is not done with football, which has stuck with him for years. ©Democrat Vernonnais

When did you start playing soccer?

I started at AS Courchelettes, a club in my village, when I was 8 years old. I evolved by taking my license at Dechy then at Auberchicourt, the senior category in the Honors Division.

When did you arrive in Normandy?

At the end of my studies I left Hauts-de-France in 1978 for professional reasons as an engineer at the BP refinery in Vernon (now CNPP) until 1985. When the refinery closed I had the opportunity to join SEP (ArianeGroup today) to stay there for 33 years until 2018, retirement age has come.

Which Norman clubs have you played for?

For two years, I played corporate in a factory club (SFBP Vernon). Then I went to SPN Vernon from 1981 to 2001. I played there for ten years. At the same time, I continued Jean Wanin’s work at the football school coaching rookies. When I stopped playing, I was managing different categories for three years from U9 to U17. This allowed me to gain solid experience with young people and even get very good results, which allowed us to win international tournaments and compete with the best regional clubs such as HAC, US Quevilly, FC Rouen, Evreux and others. After twenty years of training with the youth at SPN Vernon, I needed another project: coaching seniors or leading a club. That wasn’t possible at Vernon, but at Saint-Marcel, Alain Duchossoy, the city’s sports assistant, came to ask me to offer him the position of sporting director. I immediately accepted the club’s proposal. I signed for one season and stayed there for 17 years. I’m a bit of a firefighter on duty: one season in U18, another in senior, then U15 after football school to set up structure, and after stabilization, I turn over the category to a competent educator. Very good years, starting from almost nothing (from Division 3 to Regional 2) and increasing from 180 to 450 licensees really testifies to the quality of this project.

How long have you been honorary president of SMF?

Thierry Michel, former president of SMF, and the board of directors elected me honorary president in 2018, the year I left for Baziège near Toulouse. Distance does not prevent me from attending rallies, matches and tournaments.

How did your role differ at Real Madrid and how did they contact you?

Regarding the Real Madrid Foundation project, I have a certified internship director function in Europe. I was contacted by French and Belgian managers when I left Saint-Marcel Football. Before accepting the position, I did an internship as a trainer near Amiens. With the Foundation, we also ran a course in Saint-Marcel which was a huge success with over one hundred participants. I participated in two training sessions at La Casa Blanca in Valdebedas with wonderful speakers from La Cantera, Castilla and especially Santiago Solari, Alvaro Arbeola and Roberto Carlos. I really appreciate their skills, their humility and Real Madrid’s methodology. I’ll be back at the end of October for the youth camp and European finals for the three years of COVID we haven’t done.

Do you have other activities?

Having spent a lot of time at Real Madrid, I have been studying Spanish for two years. I recently graduated and was validated with a state-recognized training, mental coach training. I am in charge of two elite handball referees in Pro D2 and Women’s D1 which I take regularly on trips and I also have amateur sporting activities on Nordic walks. In my life as a soccer coach, I studied physical, technical and tactical preparation. I still have the mental domain, now I’m done with my training validation.

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