(Soccer America continues its countdown to the 2015 Women's World Cup with the sixth of 20 profiles of the women to watch in Canada.)
It was clear
at a very young age what Eugenie Le Sommer wanted to do.
When she was 2, she asked her mother for a pair of soccer shoes. Her parents tried to
dissuade her from playing soccer by enrolling her in martial arts at the age of 4. Le Sommer was Brittany champion in judo, but soccer was her passion.
She grew up playing with boys and was so eager to play she'd often arrive at the game an hour beforehand. The fact was, she was better than her teammates but was too humble to show
EUGENIE LE SOMMER: Country: France Age: 25. Position: Forward Club: Lyon Twitter:@els_9_france
"One Saturday," her mother told Ouest France, "she returned home without telling me the score. He asked
her, and she finally said that she won, 5-0. But I had to press her to find out that she had scored all the goals."
At 18, Le Sommer entered the French residency program in Clairefontaine
but stayed there only a short time before signing with Saint-Brieuc, where she made about $700 a month on a semipro contract. She scored 35 goals in three seasons before leaving in 2010 to join Lyon,
where top players earn more than $100,000. Le Sommer has won five league titles in five seasons. Her career totals at OL: 101 appearances, 102 goals.
Le Sommer was only 19 when she made her debut for the Bleues and six years later has
already reached the century mark in caps.
Le Sommer has scored 15 goals in 24 goals since Philippe Bergeroo took charge of the national team,
double her scoring rate under Bergeroo's predecessor, Bruno Bini. She has established herself as the second forward in France's 4-4-2 attack after playing on
the wing under Bini.
"She brings so much to the team," says Bergeroo. "She knows how to ask
for the ball and get free and the quality her final pass is exceptional."
The 5-foot-3 Le Sommer is also very dangerous in the air, as was evident when she scored in the 2-0 win over the
USA in February in Lorient, where her father was a policeman.
"We not only won, we won with style," Le Sommer said afterwards. "We are very happy."
The win gave a big
confidence boost to the Bleues, who had developed the reputation of being underachievers under Bini.
"It's good to play big teams in friendlies beforehand," said Le Sommer. "Now, they
know we can beat everyone. I don't know if we will be favorites, but we want to do beautiful things at the World Cup."