The web football club
April 30th, 2005

“They are the Web Football Club”,the IHT reports and they claim to be the world’s first soccer team coached entirely by fans over the Internet.”Now in its third season,this amateur club from Normandy in Northern France plies its trade in the second division of the regional Caen league,the lower reaches of the French soccer hierarchy.The squad is made up of area residents who are students,teachers or real estate agents during the week but turn out on Sundays in the blue and gray colors of their team.At the helm are the “entrainautes” -a play on the French words for Web surfer and coach.In the run-up to each match,their online votes decide everything,from the starting lineup to game tactics.By voting for players who perform well,an entrainaute’s influence in subsequent weeks increases.At the top of the tree are those with a proven record of successful voting.Many log on for up to five hours a week.”For the moment there is no other system like it in the world,” Fred Gauquelin, 32,the club’s founder,said before a training session.He runs the club from home,juggling his job as a physical education teacher with maintenance of the club’s Web site, webfootballclub.He films each match, meticulously logging passes, tackles, assists, goals, and selecting highlights for broadcast on the site.Gauquelin says the site has more than 13,000 registered entrainautes,up from fewer than 100 just two years ago.They hail from 87 countries as diverse as Uruguay and Madagascar,and there are five Web logs dedicated to supporting the club.Meanwhile,the players are achieving results on the field.They have won promotion to a higher division in each of their previous two seasons, and they enjoy playing under the system”.
Internet soccer fans coach their team to real success

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