“When I look at other people, it seems so easy.” After seven years of professionalism in Switzerland, the Valais was knocked out of the middle. He waits for the sequel, retraining, or beneficial phone call to Ham. In the promotion competition.
The sound system in the Eizmoos bar spits out its decibels way too loud for a pre-match atmosphere. Daniel Follonier can still hear his phone ringing. “It’s IKEA!” He answers, rejoicing at his impending order, then puts the device back in his pocket. “You have no idea how good it feels to assemble furniture now. Cham trains at 6:15 PM. The days can then be long. So since we just moved in with my girlfriend…”
The tone of Daniel Follonier is not resigned. It oscillates. The dejection is never completely absent, but hope accentuates every intervention. This applies to his current situation, his missed opportunities, this approaching reconversion. Only 28 years old.
Football said goodbye to him
The Walliser was thrown off the track. The expression may hurt to hear, but the man has learned the importance of looking the situation straight in the eye. Seven years of professionalism, rolling between the Super and the Challenge League, to wait hours, days, months for a phone call since last summer. “I thought I would give myself a little more time. I always told myself that football would not say goodbye to me, quite the contrary.
Then at the beginning of the year came this offer from SC Cham, a middle class club in the Promotion League. Half way between the sting and the golden opportunity. The man admitted to our colleagues from Rhône FM that he had cried for three days. “It’s true. The day I signed my contract, I collapsed on the way home. Legs too fragile to withstand the vertigo that set in.
Caught up in the past
“I don’t really come from a family where studying is an outlet. My mother came from Portugal when she was 20, she always worked, raised me alone. Since I was 15 I only play football. Luckily it worked for me there. Or… unfortunately.” The confession scatters his regret. That of not having covered his back before. So a proposal from a third division club should be regarded as ideal.
After: Gang or attacking midfielder
Age: 28 (January 18, 1994)
debut in pro: May 18, 2014 with FC Sion (3-1 win against Grasshopper, he scored the last goal)
trail: After Sion Lucerne, follow Servette, then Kriens. For a total of 66 Super League games (10 goals) and 69 Challenge League games (9 goals). He joined SC Cham in the Promotion League last February.
It is not with Cham that Daniel Follonier will find the National League. The Zugois have the resources to build a fun team, without being driven by a real ambition for grandeur. On the other hand, the contract of the ex-player of Sion and Servette says everything else. A clause to release him without possible discussion from the first Challenge League team to knock on the door. “I still dream about it. But if the case arises, it will be necessary to take the time to think carefully.
Because, in black and white, the CSC has also committed to finding and financing for its new winger the training of its choice. For a fresh start, not far from final. “Apart from EV Zug in hockey, there are not really big clubs in the region. Cham can therefore count on many sponsors and contacts. The leaders will be able to point me to the right place. I just have to decide.”
The way forward could be physical therapy, like his friend Kevin Fickentscher. Or that of a sports teacher, or even in commerce. Lots of ideas, paths to explore, but still this current vagueness. And this feeling that everything should have been simpler. Because being ejected from the circuit is only a result in the end. Preceded by all who took part in it.
“It’s funny, but when I observe other people, it seems so easy. They find a club, the contract expires, they sign elsewhere. And so forth. Personally, I had the chance to bounce back in the Polish D2. That’s all. The kind of risky bet where you never know when the salary will drop. And even then, if it went well: I played there for three years and returned to the starting point in 2025…”
Daniel Follonier also knows all too well one of his main mistakes. “Sometimes I see myself on video and it’s clear: I’m looking casual. I don’t think so, but the appearance is clear. In countries where playfulness is valued, this is not a tragedy. But in Switzerland, where the culture of effort and suffering is the capital, it does not pass.
So sometimes the Valais stirs the knife through the wound. He thinks back to this conversation with Barthélémy Constantin, the sports director of FC Sion. “He admitted that Eintracht Frankfurt was interested in me. In 2015, after our victory in the Swiss Cup against Basel. Maybe by getting better advice then…” Maybe, yes, a career hangs by a thread. finishing in the lower leagues can also yield his quota of emotions.