After joining Ligue 1, the coach looks back on this extraordinary season

By winning last weekend in Nice, the “Rafettes” got their ticket to the women’s Ligue 1 three years after leaving it. “We are lucky enough to meet such girls!”. Ruthenian coach Mathieu Rufié looks back on this wonderful season and is preparing to meet PSG or Lyon next year.

The previous entry into Ligue 1 was on 2 May 2010. The Rafettes then drew against Muret. Long mistreated during the meeting on the lawn of their Nice runners-up, the Ruthénoises bravely won 1-0 at the end of the meeting.

Barely recovered from this win with pincers after a brilliant season, the women’s coach from Rodez prepares for the next match against Grenoble.

Mathieu Rufié, this Ruthenian by birth, prefers to taste before projecting himself on the next season. “There is satisfaction, pride too. I am happy for my players, the club and for my staff. A surprise? Maybe not… Coincidence? Certainly not! The staff, the Rodez club, we are lucky to be together working with girls likes that! We’ve shown great consistency.”




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The female RAF



©Aveyron Press Center

14 wins for just one defeat and three draws, the record is extraordinary. With 11 points ahead, the rise is in the pocket. But still…

After two cut seasons due to the pandemic, not everything was easy for the women’s RAF. Mathieu Rufié was not spared for his 3rd season. “In October we were not in the position of a team that can move up. A defeat and 2 draws.” The coach and his assistant Patrice Ranc were robbed from the bench after being shown a red card in 2 different games at the start of the season.

The club showed solidarity and the staff persisted. With no real experience at this level, Aveyron’s coach, who spent 7 years in Canada with experience at the U15s and universities, remains on the cutting edge.

The Rafettes have not suffered a defeat since September 28, 2021: “We changed things because we had trouble finding bindings in the game. We changed our animation, we changed the system. We competed and our players were in a better position to build something.”




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The RAF for women reaches Ligue 1



©Aveyron Press Center

Most Rafettes play as amateurs, forced to work together, except for 3 foreign players and a few young shoots from the training center.

So next year we will have to compete against the girls from PSG or Lyon who are shining in the Champions League. “I want to enjoy it before I think about it. I know very well that the demands are higher. We will have to work quickly. I am impatient of course. That is what we wanted to go for!”

Unless there is an unexpected turnaround, Mathieu Rufié will sit on the Romanian bench, even if his contract is renegotiated every year. Are models? “A French coach fascinates me: Christophe Galtier (OGC Nice, ex-LOSC). He has evolved a lot since his debut. But I also appreciate a Simeone (Athlético de Madrid) or a Sampaoli (OM), who express their identity, their values and pass it on to their team.”

When success is on the side of the girls, the boys have more trouble. This Tuesday evening they will play a crucial game in Paul Lignon for their maintenance against Nancy, the last in Ligue 2. The Rafettes and their coaches will be there. Laurent Peyrelade’s men will give them a guard of honor before the match. At halftime, Mathieu Rufié’s players return to the field for a deserved ovation.

The same goes for the retention of Rodez players in Ligue 2 and the successful entry of players into Ligue 1: trusting the club’s values. “We have to guarantee the identity of the club. These are the values ​​of a city and a territory: the RAF is a family of humility and courage.”

After the Rafettes’ victory in Nice on Sunday, if the RAF for men were to beat Nancy tonight, the week would be perfect for the Aveyron club.

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