Installed in the United States for nearly a decade, Aurélien Collin, the child of Fontenay-le-Fleury (Yvelines), has forged a good reputation in MLS. The title with Kansas City in 2013 marked the peak of his career. At 34, he now brings his experience to Philadelphia. A keen observer of American society, he denounces certain abuses and also expresses his opinion on the presidential election (Editor’s note: the result was not yet known during the interview). Escorted by an intact passion for his profession, he defends a championship sometimes criticized and speaks freely about his relationship to religion.
How do you cope with this interminable electoral suspense?
AURELIEN COLLIN. I keep informed. In our locker room, this election is the subject of much discussion among the players. As I speak to you (Editor’s note: Thursday, November 5), I am in my car in front of a supermarket in Philadelphia. Police are everywhere in the streets. The shop windows were protected by wooden planks in order to guard against possible incidents related to this election. For now, it’s calm. The only current knockout is in political quotes, with this uncertainty hanging over the name of the next president.
Do you understand that, seen from France, Donald Trump’s hyperactivity on Twitter as well as his calamitous management of the health crisis has generated a lot of criticism?
Everyone is shocked by this character. It is legitimate to wonder how it has been able to represent the world’s leading economic power for 4 years. He has no filter and is not a diplomat, he likes provocation. It caused a scandal at one point, but now it’s only the people who watch TV who will react. We are going over that.
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How to succeed in extinguishing or at least calming the racial tensions particularly exacerbated in the United States since the death of George Floyd in the spring of 2020?
The United States has a particular history with regard to racism. It has been going on for centuries. It is a much more communal country. Everything is there, all the time, multiplied by ten. We do not find in France or in Europe, the same story as that lived by African-Americans and in particular slavery which is, here, unfortunately still in the mores of some. However, there is only one human race and it is sad because society tries to teach us otherwise. For my part, I try to fight all inequalities or injustices. Education can help change mentalities a bit. But it is a vast project. Parents have an essential role to play by placing safeguards intended to avoid, if possible, certain abuses.
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In this context, what can the possible election of Joe Biden change?
Biden reminds me a little of François Hollande. He talks a lot, he says amen to everyone and I don’t know if he will be a real actor in politics. Trump didn’t respect much, but at least he was taking action. Afterwards, a change of presidency will inevitably have positive effects. Compared to Trump, Biden is more reassuring, less divisive, and he stirs up less hatred. He wishes to re-establish relations with many countries. We’ll see. I can’t wait to know, if he is elected, how he intends to go about governing.
How did the discovery of the Protestant religion change your life in 2013?
The night of the final won against Salt Lake, supposed to be a great moment of joy, I found myself all alone and I felt an emptiness in my heart. My happiness was always defined by the performance of the team on the pitch. I then felt God say to me, “If you want to be happy, whatever the results and what happens in your life, you need me. »People guided me in my process. I got closer to God. I devote my life to him. It was the best decision of my life.
Are you honored to be the only Frenchman, along with Thierry Henry, to be among the 137 players who have marked the history of MLS?
To be frank, I wasn’t even aware of this MLS initiative. Personally, I feel real pride. This distinction also reflects a little on my country. Usually, we distinguish more players with an offensive vocation. It’s even more rewarding for a central defender like me.
What do you think of the arrival of a player like Blaise Matuidi, who arrived this summer at Inter Miami?
Even at the end of his career, Blaise remains a very great professional. His style of play is perfectly suited to MLS. He runs a lot and doesn’t mind making contact. While continuing to welcome older players, the championship has, however, been focusing for some years now on training. The objective is to promote the emergence of small nuggets intended, then, to flourish in Europe.
How do you judge the level of the North American championship today?
One thing is true: we are no longer dealing with a two-speed competition. There is now greater homogeneity between the clubs. The technical quality is present, but it still lacks tactical thinking. It is linked to the presence on the benches of many American coaches more concerned about the physical challenge. This is the major difference compared to the major European championships
How does it feel to be better known in the United States than in your country of birth?
France is my country to which I remain very attached. I tried in my youth to break into it. But I didn’t have my chance. It’s a little regret. Afterwards I accept this situation. My destiny was to go to the United States and flourish there as a footballer.
After your title with Kansas City in 2013, you never had offers from French clubs?
In MLS, I had already acquired a certain notoriety, a good standard of living. There was no question for me to come back to Europe at any cost. There were contacts, discussions, but it never went further. I didn’t get the offer that could have tipped me off.
In the United States, women’s football trustees the rewards. Is it hard to live in the shadow of the girls?
It is a very European view of things. The American selection is the best in the world. On the other hand, the women’s league is catastrophic. Girls deserve a whole different championship. There is, at this level, a rather inexplicable form of immobility.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr