Can you tell us about the highlights of your career?
I started playing for ASS Brienne-le-Château, in the Aube region, where I come from, before moving on to the Division 1 championship in 2000.
As regards national selection, I joined the Bleuettes (under-19) in 2003, when we actually became European champions. This was a turning point for me, in terms of the top level standards and the extraordinary emotions you experience.
Then, for the first time, I was selected for the French national A team, playing against China on 28 February 2007 (a 2-0 win). This is engraved in my memory: not only was I called on for the first time, but my place was also confirmed immediately, and I scored!
In terms of club [in 2006 Gaëtane signed up to FCF Juvisy, now Paris FC], we had two great campaigns in the Champions League, when we reached the quarter finals in 2011 and the semi-finals in 2013 against Lyon. Meanwhile there was also the Euro championship with the French national team in 2009, 2013 and 2017.
"Somewhat women’s football had acquired a new dimension."
When it comes to excitement, I’d say there was the qualification period for the 2011 World Cup in Germany and the subsequent competition. It was wonderful. Germany was taking women’s football as seriously as men’s football. The TV coverage was perfect, the stadia were full. We, the Bleues, weren’t used to that at all.
We were totally inspired. It was the first time that the French women’s team was emerging from a group phase. We went as far as the semi-finals. There was plenty of emotion, and the French public was won over. Somewhat women’s football had acquired a new dimension.
This is the number of goals scored officially by Gaëtane Thiney, across all competitions, in 599 games*.
As part of the French national team, she has scored 58 goals on 151 occasions.
The following year we found ourselves taking part in the Olympic Games in London. Being involved in this competition among all those athletes was a huge experience! Unfortunately we finished 4th, giving away a bronze medal, against Canada. We had 25 shots at the goal, including the post and a cross-shot, but Canada scored in the 92nd minute! So they stole the show. However, for us, playing in Wembley in front of 50,000 people was amazing: we were used to playing in front of 500 people! So it was a mixture of big excitement and big disappointment.
How did you feel when you weren’t called on to play in 2015 with Philippe Bergeroo as manager?
This experience was both challenging and revealing. At the time I remember tweeting: “I’m keeping in shape even though I’d rather it was in Olympic shape. Objective: 2019 World Cup!” [Gaëtane missed the 2016 Rio Olympic Games].
I tried to stay positive, look ahead, and finally I had a chance to be back for Euro 2017. The whole thing is especially exciting after you’ve emerged from testing times. As in life, I’d say, you have to try to bounce back. That’s what happened, and I’m rather proud of it.
How did you feel about your partnership with Arkema?
It’s wonderful to have support. It’s what ensures we’re still standing. With Arkema, it all came together in no time. And yet chemistry is a world I knew nothing about. But this encounter will allow me to learn so much. I’m looking forward to it.
“With Arkema, it all came together in no time.”
During my last visit, I really enjoyed chatting to people who talk passionately about what they do. I feel that, even though the company has 20,000 employees, it has managed to retain a genuine human dimension. I think that’s great. I hope I can be a credit to this partnership and bring the World Cup back to Arkema!
Gaëtane commands unanimous respect in the world of football. She has fought hard to have the chance to play football at this level. For years she had to practise with men because of a lack of women’s clubs she could join! Gaëtane isn’t just brilliant at kicking a football. With her long-standing experience, she plays a major role in the French national team in particular in terms of integrating younger members into the French squad. Gaëtane’s profile matches our values."