At age 20, the volleyball player bastia Romain Bregent has just completed his first full season at the professional level in the ranks of theAS Cannes. A collectively complicated exercise, but individually rewarding for this precocious talent who does not intend to stop there
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Sometimes there are fates that no one can expect. While some are scrambling to become professional athletes, Romain Bregent became a high-level volleyball player by force of circumstance.
Then a defensive midfielder in the Pieve di Lota football team, the young man pushes the door of the Cosec de l’Arinella one evening by accompanying his little sister Sharon to her volleyball training.
Aged 13, but already culminating at 1m91, he does not go unnoticed. “I was asked to stay to make opposition to training, because there were not enough licensees. One day, I went up to Corte to accompany my sister to a tournament. A player was missing, I was offered to play a match. I got caught up in the game, never suspecting that I was going to make it my job. For me, volleyball was a beach sport. I told myself that it was an opportunity to miss classes to play sports (he’s laughing). »
“I had no technique”
He doesn’t know it yet, but his destiny is already mapped out. Helped by his size and his athletic physique, the boy already has a predisposition for volleyball. It must be said that for the Bregents, sport is second nature. His father Christophe played amateur volleyball, while his mother Mariama practiced athletics and handball at a good level. And then at the age of six months, his father took him to see the matches of Sporting Club Bastia.
Very quickly, the young man gave up football and prepared for Volley-Ball Bastia for a year and a half. History of acquiring and solidifying the bases of this sport much more complex than at first sight. It was at the age of 14, after his years at Montesoro college, that he decided to try his luck at the training center in Cannes, one of the jewels of French volleyball.
“It was complicated, the Cannes basin brings together a lot of very good young players. As I was above the lot in Corsica, I thought that I was going to be also in Cannes. No way ! I had to work a lot to reach the same level. I had no technique, I didn’t know how to make the right calls. »
The giant hangs on, works more, improves, continues training and continues to grow, literally, reaching 1m99 today. With the reserve, he won the silver medal at the Coupe de France 2018 (flagship national competition for young people in volleyball), then the bronze medal the following season. Finally, he participated in the UNSS world championships in 2018 with France and was even selected with the French U18 team.
French Champion and European Cup
During the 2019-2020 season, he finally touched the professional world by participating in specific training by position with the first team. He ended up winning the Grail by making his first professional matches in his training club, during the 2020-2021 season.
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Bits of matches, essentially, but which allow him to win his first title. AS Cannes wins its tenth title of champion of France, the first trophy of the young Roman’s career.
But it is really this season that the young man will find a place in the Cannes team. AS Cannes is unrecognizable, between the loss of some of its best elements and the recruits who pass through. Back to the wall, coach Arnaud Josserand decides to trust his young guard. Romain took his chance and ended up winning. He even won his few selections with the French Espoir team, and participated in the qualification of his people for the next U22 European Championship.
“It’s the paradox of my season. Individually, it was great, to play in the Champions League, with his training club, at 20, against the big names in this sport. As in the league, chaining meetings, even if the results were not there. These are my first professional matches, it matters a lot. I also had my first selections with the France Espoir team. On the other hand, collectively it was complicated. »
In the Champions League, the club fails to compete in the heart of a very tough pool, made up of Fenerbahçe, a solid Istanbul club and stronghold of Turkish volleyball, as well as Perugia and Trento, two Italian leaders. AS Cannes did not measure up and finished last in their group. If Cannes did not expect to win the competition anyway, the situation is identical in the league, in which the players of the Croisette do not manage to extricate themselves from a badly embarked situation. The defending champion finished dead last in Ligue A with only three victories on the clock. But Romain still has good memories of this exercise, the most important of his young career.
Become an executive
“From this season, I remember two matches. My first titular match in the European Cup, at Fenerbahçe, in a room full to bursting. A prestigious poster with a lot of pressure and challenge. I play it with my friend from the academy, with whom I was roommate for years, Alan Tschupp. Then as a second memory, my first starting match in Ligue A, in Montpellier. It was not easy, the club relied heavily on young players and a new role had to be taken on overnight. »
Cannes finds itself relegated, but nothing is yet lost, since the French Volleyball Federation is considering an overhaul of the League A championship. Thus, the group would go from 14 to 16 teams, allowing the Dragons to be drafted, while the last team to enter the championship would be… the national team of China, which would pass a hell of a check to the Fed, unheard of!
But regardless of the division, Romain Bregent will be in Cannes next season, the young man wishes to continue the adventure with his training club and has the confidence of his new coach, the Canadian Jason Haldane, a former Cannes player who knows the Corsican.
The most successful club in France is at a turning point in its history and Romain does not intend to miss this chance. Renewed for a season (plus one optional), the central is well aware of the chance offered to him, and wishes to establish himself as central number one. At almost 21 years old (he will be on July 23), the boy still has a ton of challenges to face, the future is reaching out to him to rise to the top.