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Large format. From the family farm to En Avant Guingamp, Pierre Lemonnier has charted his own course

Pierre Lemonnier, in Guingamp (Côtes-d’Armor), is 86% of matches without defeat, against 40% without him. ©EAG

son of farmers Bazouges-la-Perouse (Ille-et-Vilaine), Pierre Lemonnier always clung to his dream to become, one day, professional footballer.

Trained in Rennais Stadiumbut not retained by the club, he charted his own course.

Like my journey in the world of football, there is no one and only way to achieve your goals.

Pierre LemonnierCentral defender of L’En Avant Guingamp

Passed through the reserve of Dijon (N3) then by Granville (N3), he discovered his first professional championship at 26 years with Le Mans (N2, National then Ligue 2).

Today become a taulier to Guingamp (Cotes-d’Armor), in the space of just one year, he wants to keep dreaming and hopes to play at the top of the table this season. While League 2 resumes this Saturday, July 30, 2022back on his journey.

His clubs

US Bazouges-la-Perouse: 1997–2003
Stade Rennes (training then reserve team): 2003–2014
Dijon (CFA 2): 2014–2015
Granville (CFA 2, CFA): 2015–2017
Le Mans (CFA, National, Ligue 2 then National): 2017–2021
EA Guingamp (Ligue 2): 2021 — now

Football, a family affair

Pierre begins to play football with his older brother, Antony, in the closed of his parents, pig farmers and grain farmers.

When Antony takes his license at theUS Bazougesat six years old, Pierre “absolutely” wants to join him, but he is still too young, being aged four years. Luckily, his aunt is the coach of her brother’s team. She offers him to play goalkeeper, a vacant position he will occupy until his eight years.

Pierre Lemonnier is 91 goals for his last season with the colors of US Bazouges-la-Pérouse.
Pierre Lemonnier scored 91 goals for his last season with the colors of US Bazouges-la-Pérouse. © Lemonnier Family Archives

This is the beginning of the beautiful story. A few years later, a coach of Bazouges advise parents to bring Rock and Anthony perform a test at Rennais Stadium.

“We warned them from the start: ‘you both need to be taken.’ We couldn’t afford to go back and forth to Rennes for just one,” remember Marie-Paule and Marc, Pierre’s parents.

With an activity as demanding as that offarmerthe couple reorganize their schedule to bring their two champions training three to four times a week 50 minutes from Bazouges.

We got up at 5 a.m. to go see the pigs and we finished later. We worked on Sundays and we didn’t take vacations. I prepared snacks and things beforehand to take them directly after school. When we got home, we had dinner and then we did our homework. A real family adventure with peace of mind, even their little sister Estelle took part.

Marie-PauleMother of Pierre Lemonnier and farmer

Of the sacrifice fully consented to best support their children in this new world.

“I spent my confinement on a tractor plowing the land”

If Pierre Lemonnier had to leave the family farm to become a footballer, he has not forgotten his roots. “I often come back to my parents, especially since I’m not very far. Besides, I even spent my confinement on a tractor plowing the land”, says the central defender of Guingamp, who remained very close of his family, whom he has on the phone at least once a week.
“We go to see his matches when we can go, otherwise we watch him on TV”, explain his parents. “For their Coupe de France quarter-final against OM, we even met up with family and friends to watch it together,” continues the couple.
Sometimes chambered or even mocked for being the son of farmers, especially when he was younger, Pierre proudly claims his origins: “When I was a teenager, I did not understand this mockery because I am proud to be. is clearly a strength, an advantage.”

“He was the outsider, never the favorite”

Peter passes ten years to Rennes, from 2003 to 2014, but does not obtain a professional contract. “He was the outsider, never the favorite,” noted his parents, who remember one anecdote in particular.

When he was 12 or 13 years old, his coach hesitated to select him for a tournament in Corsica. He took it at the last moment and once there, the goalkeeper was injured. Pierre, who was an outfield player, replaces him, secures in the cages and wins the tournament.

Marie-Paule Lemonnier
Pierre Lemonnier at Stade Rennes.
Pierre Lemonnier (second from left) spent ten years at Stade Rennes, from 2003 to 2014. © Lemonnier Family

In 2014, he tries to bounce back to Dijonthen in League 2but finds himself playing with the reserves in CFA 2 (N3 now, Editor’s note). “I was bothered by an injury, but that’s no excuse. I was not yet mature enough,” analyzes Pierre.

He will play a game of Ligue’s cup as holder, his first minutes with a professional team.

The following season, he joined Granvillethen in CFA 2 and rises in stride in CFA (current N2). He even offers himself a French Cup quarter-final against theOlympic Marseille (L1) to Michel d’Ornano Stadiumin Caen.

Against OM, we only lost 0-1. For me, it’s the best game of my life.

Pierre Lemonnier

If his second year at the club ends a few points from a new climb, he lets himself be seduced by the project offered to him Le Mans F.C..

The Le Mans epic, with “buddies”

“Playing in a stadium with 27,000 seats in the CFA is not common,” smiles Pierre. With Le Manswhich has just risen in CFAhe joins “a team of friends” with whom he will live “the most beautiful adventure of his life”.

For his first season with the Blood and Gold2018-2019, it rises in National. But the epic has only just begun. The following year, the Sarthois club won its ticket for the League 2 at the end of a crazy match and finds the professional world, left six years before, in 2013. The opportunity for Pierre Lemonnier to taste it for the first time, 26 years.

His debut is going pretty well. Even very well. the captain from Mans finishes Ligue 2 defender having won the most duels and collected the most balls.

Conversely, his team ends up doing the lift. Pierre returns for a year in National, but the Ligue 2 call is not long in coming. He joins Guingamp for the 2021-2022 season.

Ligue 1, a “dream”

Incumbent in the Guingampaise defense (29 matches) and 6th of League 2Pierre Lemonnier intends to keep up the momentum and assert himself as one of the best defenders in the league.

I have a good heading game, but I don’t score enough. It’s an aspect of my game that I hope to improve this season, by scoring 3 or 4 goals from set pieces.

Pierre Lemonnier

His ambitions for the future? play in League 1, certainly: “It’s a dream that I would like to realize with Guingamp. I love this club, its supporters and its values, close to those passed on to me by my parents. »

So, even if time is pressing, even if it’s a bit short, Pierre Lemonnier will go after his dreams. At the end of his dreams.

Pierre Lemonnier’s En Avant Guingamp (forfeited because of his adductors) receives Pau, at Roudourou, for the first match of the Ligue 2 BKT 2022-2023 season, Saturday July 30, at 7 p.m.

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