Michelle de Jongh and the life in France
Michelle de Jongh now lives in a French suburb 30 minutes south of Paris. When she got the chance to try the professional life and play in the French league, she did not hesitate.
FC Fleury 91, a relatively young club, a middle team in Division 1 Féminine, became Michelle de Jongh’s new club address in early January. The 23-year-old Swede left Vittsjö GIK and moved to Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, a town close to Fleury, and she likes her new life.
– At first I was mostly confused, but now I feel more curious and try to communicate my thoughts by showing over and over again what I mean.
Language is still a challenge and she has struggled hard to learn enough French to understand exercises and to be able to keep in with team meetings, but it is still problematic for her to be able to have some deeper tactical conversations with her teammates.
– At the very beginning, someone translated into English during the training so that we understood, which made it easier, but now I have to focus on the most important things so that I know, for example, how many touches there should be in the exercise or in which direction to go. At first I was mostly confused, but now I feel more curious and try to communicate my thoughts by showing over and over again what I mean, she says.
She has been given a lot of playing time and the coach has used her in most offensive positions, against Le Havre in early March, de Jongh scored the decisive 1-0 goal, her first for the club. She thinks she has developed a lot in the short time she has been in France, both on and off the pitch.
– I am constantly outside my comfort zone, which has made me become more aware of my capacity. I have gone through quite a lot in this short time, I see it mostly as an experience and have no major problems with anything. I have gotten a taste for this life, to have football as a full-time job and it is instructive to be abroad, so I can imagine continuing with that.
Michelle feels at home in the team, Fleury has only played in the highest league since 2017 and the club is still working to build everything around the investment. Julia Spetsmark, who played with Michelle in Kif Örebro, is also in the team.
– There are two Danes, a Norwegian, an American here as well, it’s nice to have them to talk to, says Michelle.
– I am constantly outside my comfort zone, which has made me become more aware of my capacity.
Her boyfriend has also lived there in recent weeks, which is also a security for her. She rents an apartment on the ground floor of a two-family house and has a patio. Most of the time she spends on football and recovery, but Sundays are completely free and in recent weeks she has gone to Paris to enjoy the capital’s offerings.
– Most recently I was finally in the Swedish store so I had to buy lingonberry jam. I have not found it anywhere when I have shopped. I cook a lot of food myself and if you make meatballs, sauce and potatoes, for example, you want that jam.
The contract with Fleury extends to June, Michelle de Jongh wants to take advantage of that time to continue developing. She is craving more, much more.