“The secret is not the ideas,” Losa said in a telephone interview this summer. “It’s the people who execute the ideas.”
One of the latest moves toward that vision is Bordeaux’s newest addition, Ève Périsset. At 25, she has already competed for France in the World Cup and spent time with Lyon and P.S.G.
The changes at Bordeaux, she said, were reminiscent of Lyon’s integration of its men’s and women’s teams throughout club facilities. It’s one of the many ways Bordeaux has modernized, and professionalized, in recent years.
Three years ago, only half of Bordeaux’s players were playing full time, said left back Delphine Chatelin, who joined the club in 2017. Many washed their own uniforms and training gear and weren’t considered professionals. But as the team directed more money and interest to the women’s team leading up to the 2019 World Cup, which France hosted, playing soccer became the primary occupation of every member of the squad.
“I think,” Losa said, “it’s a work in progress.”
Périsset agreed. The French soccer federation still falls short in requiring all women’s teams to professionalize players’ contracts in accordance to their elite status, she said. “To have this professional step, it would change things,” she said.
While investments in salaries and facilities have helped transform women’s teams at several top European clubs, a wide gap remains between established powers like Lyon, Chelsea and Barcelona and their domestic rivals. Despite its recent focus on its women’s team, for example, Bordeaux still operates under a budget estimated to be three times smaller than that of Lyon and P.S.G. Many other French teams, including some in the top division, still field teams with amateur or semiprofessional players.
France’s professional players’ union said talks initiated after the Women’s World Cup were an effort to encourage competitive parity in France and “to avoid widening the growing structure of other European countries.”