I Went to Six FC Nantes Matches During My Semester Abroad

Amanda Carrier
January 12, 2022
Stadium audience at night



Stadium audience at night

One of my favorite pastimes while abroad in France was attending home matches of the local football team, FC Nantes. I enjoyed it so much that I found myself going back to Stade de la Beaujoire again and again. In fact, I went to six matches in total over the course of the semester. It was the perfect outing because the stadium is just a short ride away from the center of town on the public transportation bus that I used to traverse the city on a daily basis during my time in Nantes. Additionally, the tickets were a very reasonable price. Even the most inexpensive sections of the stadium offered a fantastic view of the field.

I found all of this to be a refreshing contrast from the lack of accessibility to sporting events in the United States. From my experience with American professional sporting events, the tickets are hard to come by and expensive, and people often plan to go to one specific game weeks, or even months, in advance. Furthermore, the stadiums are not very local, and they are hard to get to.



Group of friends in a stadium audience

Something that I love about FC Nantes matches is the camaraderie among the people in the audience. I always chose to stand in the fan section of the stadium for this reason. Everyone is genuinely excited to watch their local team play and cheer them on. People of all ages gather for these matches, and I was able to feel a strong sense of community amongst the audience members. The fans put their arms around one another and proudly sing and shout the chants of their team in unison throughout the entire match every time, no matter if they are winning or losing. Even I caught onto some of the lyrics and tunes and was chanting alongside the French as best as I could by the end of the semester.

Not only do these matches have a wonderfully energetic ambiance regardless of the scoreboard, but I also did choose a rather good season to follow FC Nantes. The six matches that I saw were against Brest, Troyes, Clermont Foot, Strasbourg, Marseille, and Lens. Of those matches, Nantes won four, lost one, and one ended in a draw. This record is fairly impressive for a team like Nantes, who usually stands somewhere in the middle of the rankings of their league, Ligue 1, which consists of 20 teams based in various cities throughout France. This successful record just made these home matches that much more exciting and memorable.



Stadium audience at night

The most unforgettable experience for me was the last match that I went to before I left France. It took place on a chilly December evening on the Friday before finals week, and Nantes was up against Lens. The fan section was packed, and the crowd was full of enthusiasm. At halftime, Lens had two goals and Nantes still had not scored yet. I started to worry that this final match of my time in France was going to be an anticlimactic let-down for me.

As soon as the second half kicked off, Nantes displayed a level of ambition and determination that I had frankly never seen from them before. Before long, they were tied 2-2 with their opposition. The dynamic of the match had been completely flipped on its head in a matter of minutes, but now I began to stress that it would either end in a draw, or Lens would score one more point, as the clock drew closer to the end.

It was now the 90th minute, and I thought it was surely going to end in a draw. I was instantly proven wrong as Moses Simon, one of the top strikers of FC Nantes, came sprinting up the field and shot the ball powerfully into the top right corner of the net. The crowd was absolutely electric. The match ended just a few minutes later, and Nantes came out on top with a 3-2 win. It was truly an incredible comeback. It was the perfect way to end my time in France, and many people are even calling it the match of the year for FC Nantes.



Two girls in a stadium audience

Now that I am home, I have still been following Nantes, and the Ligue 1 season in general, rather closely. I am grateful to have evolved into an FC Nantes fan while abroad. I am glad that this is an interest that I have taken home with me, and now continue to enjoy while in the United States, even if it does not include chanting “Allez Allez Nantes” with the crowd at Stade de la Beaujoire.

P.S. I posted pictures on Instagram of me at the stadium wearing my FC Nantes jersey with Simon’s name and number on the back. In the caption, I mentioned Simon’s 90th minute winning goal and I tagged him, and Moses Simon himself liked my post!

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Amanda Carrier

<p>My name is Amanda Carrier and I am from Branchburg, New Jersey. I'm a senior at Gettysburg College double majoring in Political Science and French. When I'm on campus, you can often find me at rehearsal with the Sunderman Conservatory Wind Symphony as a percussionist. At home, I love playing with my two cats and going down to the Jersey Shore in the summer!</p>

Home University:
Gettysburg College
Branchburg, NJ
French Language
Political Science
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