After graduating from high school in 2018, Lenny Cidolit, trained at Montpellier Hérault Sport Club, must make a decision for the rest of his football career, but also for his studies. Supervised by a former footballer father and a mother in business, strict on studies, the young man, with the help of his parents, will fly to Florida, in the United States, to integrate the prestigious University of Central Florida in Orlando.
- Who are you Lenny Cidolit?
My name is Lenny Cidolit. I’m 21. I was born in Bordeaux. And I moved very early to Montpellier. I am a soccer player. I play as a central defender. I can also play right back. And I passed my BAC in 2018.
Lenny Cidolit with his jersey
- When did you join the Montpellier-Hérault football training center?
I arrived at the Montpellier-Hérault Training Center when I was 17. I did my classes there from U-19 to National 2. In Montpellier, I learned a lot. That’s why I have a good football, tactical and technical background. My contract ended in June 2020. There was the coronavirus epidemic in March. It was a mess for everyone. And in addition I was at the end of the contract with Montpellier and I had to bounce elsewhere.
When you leave a training center like the one in Montpellier, you hope to immediately become a professional footballer and live from your passion. Shortly after my contract ended in June 2020, I tried out for clubs in France and Switzerland. It went very well. But in the same time frame, I got a call, from a platform called FFFUSA – a partnership between the French football federation and Major League Soccer, which brings French players to American universities . As I was coming out of a French training center, I was lucky enough to receive a request. With the possibility of becoming a professional footballer and at the same time studying there with a great diploma.
Lenny Cidolit with his team
- A great opportunity?
Thanks to the help of my parents, I decided to go to the United States, to achieve this ultimate goal. And I continue my studies because if football does not work, I will have at least obtained a diploma. Today, I am super happy and fulfilled. I don’t regret my decision to come to the United States at all.
- However, at the beginning, you were not at all excited?
I’m not going to hide from you that at first it wasn’t my first choice. But after several constructive discussions with my parents, I believe I made the right choice. That is to say, leave. They found me a team in Florida, installed in the American Top 10. It was super fast. But I wasn’t totally ready in my head. This first year, moreover, was not easy.
- Why was it so difficult to adapt to the United States?
I was still young in my head. Very attached to France, its culture, rhythm, training and the French way of life. Adapting was extremely hard.
I arrived in a Covid context. I quarantined in a hotel alone. When you don’t know anyone, or the country, it’s obviously difficult. I’m coming out of quarantine… We train one day and then someone has the Covid again and another quarantine. You understand that the beginnings do not go very well.
However, I do not regret this sequence. It was a good experience living at the University Of Central Florida in Orlando. The year was difficult. That’s why we decided with the university to separate. And I had an opportunity in New Jersey at Rider University Athletics, I didn’t hesitate.
- After a complicated year, how are things going?
I have since regained a taste for football and my bearings on the field. I’m super happy and having fun. It is the best. We are five French people there. There is also a Saint-Martinois, a Moroccan and a Belgian who speak French. We are a great bunch of friends. We like each other and we play very well. Our championship is divided into several conferences. Our team easily competes with the best teams in the country. There is the regular season and then the play-offs. In the regular season, we finished in 5 th square. We went to the final of our conference, but alas, we lost on penalties.
- What are your goals ?
There, it works like basketball or American football. There is a draft system. That’s my goal: to be chosen. Even if I know it’s very complicated like in France. Because not everyone has the chance to get drafted and play at a very high level. I have fun while paying attention to my collective and personal performances, to my lifestyle to try to go after my dream. I am 21 years old, I continue to work hard. I keep dreaming and I don’t close any doors or set myself any limits. What I want is to be able to look at myself in the mirror at the end and tell myself that I gave my best and that if it’s done, great. And also have a diploma in my pocket to allow me to enter working life just in case.
- What degree are you preparing for?
I chose a Bachelor which is prepared over four years. There is a panel of study choices here. For my part, I am studying International Business and Sports Management. I plan to do a Master’s after obtaining my Bachelor’s degree. In the United States, you can do it in a year.
- Your dad is Guyanese and played for Guyana, the Yana Doko. A goal for you?
Honestly, I didn’t really ask myself the question of one day playing for the Guyana team, the Yana Doko. My father is indeed Guyanese, my mother Israeli. I attach great importance to the roots of my parents. Regarding Guyana, my father’s native land, I went there several times. And representing the colors of Yana Doko would be a huge honor for me. To imagine myself following in the footsteps of my father who wore the colors of Guyana would be beautiful. Besides, he rooms me saying ” you will never be better than me, with the prestigious Yana Doko jersey”. I am their results. There is a new coach, the former professional Jean-Claude Duncan Darcheville, a new project that is being set up. It’s always in the back of my mind. You have to perform well where I play. And if I have to be called, well, I’ll be the first to be happy. It will be a great honor to wear the colors of Guyana.
Lenny Cidolit playing