Football. How Uzel-Merléac’s gardener coach turned his land into a “billiard table”



The tension was not very long. Of the few hundred votes of internet users we received to choose the most beautiful Breton lawn among amateurs (keep voting here), two thirds showed the name of the Uzel-Merléac club or its stadium, Parc Mail in Uzel, in the heart of the Cotes d’Armor. Because the reputation of this “billiard table in summer and winter”, writes us a surfer, is not new. It endures, defies the years, the seasons, the drought and the showers, under the constant impulse of one man: Yannick Roncin.

“When I saw the thing playing on social networks, I couldn’t believe it,” laughs this 51-year-old municipal official, who has been in charge of the city’s sports complexes for 25 years. Three fields – honor, annex and that of training -, three “babies” spoiled by the one who is trained in green spaces, who mainly works on “feel” and relies on his experience as a former player. His daily mission: that they are “always playable”.

“National level 2 terrain! †

They are often more than that. Controlled mowing, a well-filled lawn, soil that is never too dry or too greasy, has its effect, both for the Uzelais and for the opponents, who like to evolve on such a “pie” at this level. Lately, it was JS Cavan and her trainer Ludovic Le Mat who fell in love: “Beautiful, incredible, top quality… I go back every day, it’s a National 2 level course! †

The traditional youth tournament, at the end of May, also contributes to its regional fame, as do the Coupe de France matches against the superior teams or the visits of professional clubs, such as the FC Lorient U15s a few years ago. “He is recognized everywhere,” said club president Daniel Baudic. We are fortunate to have someone who is knowledgeable, loving and invested. It’s all thanks to him.”

“During my trial period, there were not many herbs left! †

“Not everything was won beforehand”, assures Yannick Roncin, of Plémet. “When I arrived, the ground was catastrophic. There were not many herbs left during my trial period! It was then necessary to change habits. “To have beautiful land, you have to set rules, strict schedules on the adjacent field…”

Of course, we couldn’t resist the temptation to ask him his secret: “Take care of it every day. It is a daily check, in relation to the weather and the seasons, knowing when to let it rest, when to do mechanical work, to fertilize at the right time… Over the year I spend 50 to 60% of my time , I am addicted to the weather on my laptop. I’m sure there are people who think I spend too much time there, but it’s the municipal profession that wants that! †

The famous ground of Uzel. (Photo Joel Galiot)

To another project

Great satisfaction: the Costa Rican is happy to reap the benefits of his work as coach of the reserve team. “The show, the players have the resources to do it! After all, they always do it right, that… (laughs)”. In any case, he sees that the appearance of “his” lawn contributes to the development of the club. Between the quality of the grass and the sporting results of these cities of about 1,500 inhabitants between them, there is only one step that Yannick Roncin crosses: “It was a trigger to go to R2, players from Loudéac come here, we drew a many people”. “It is inevitably a fight, even if we don’t have stands,” added the club president.

It is enough to see the many neighbors walking around, curious and jealous of this green garden: “I often get calls from the clubs in the area explaining how I work”.

Under the leadership of Yannick Roncin, Parc Mail has become a reference. However, Uzel-Merléac will soon have to do without him. “In June I was called to join Plaintel, which has another great complex. The site manager, Cédric Le Helloco, left for Stade Rennais. I’ll stay with the Uzel-Merléac club, but anyway, whoever takes over from me is trained.” The transfer window isn’t just for the players…

SPORT - CDA - FOOTBALL - Le Terrain d'Uzel (Photo Joël Galiot)
“A pool table” in Uzel-Merléac according to internet users. (Photo Joel Galiot)

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