Olympique Lyonnais's Antoine Capinielli: "First of all the aim is to develop as a person"

FIFA, 16 Mar 2023


Antoine Capinielli, Head Coach of Olympique Lyonnais women's U-20 side, explains why there is a gap between the top of the youth system and the elite senior game, and how the club are trying to close it.

Antoine Capinielli started his coaching career as a fitness trainer before switching to football management. He has worked at every level of Olympique Lyonnais women's youth set-up, so he was perfectly placed to give us the lowdown on the challenges of working with young, female players, as well as pinpointing the most important attributes a youth coach needs to build a successful team.

Capinielli's core areas of focus include:

  • supporting young talented female players through the transition from youth to senior football; 

  • understanding the menstrual cycle's impact on player performance and factoring this understanding into training;  

  • instilling the right balance of creative freedom and discipline in his players.

Watch interview

Part 1: Capinielli's career path and countering the transition phase
Part 2: The impact of menstrual cycles on training
Part 3: The balance between creative freedom and discipline

Read summary

Part 1: Career path and countering the transition phase
After outlining his route into football management, Capinielli explains that France's most prestigious competition for female youth players is the national U-19 league, and there is a gap to be filled between the U-19s and the senior game. To address this, Olympique Lyonnais have restructured their youth system to include U-17 and U-20 groups. The club has also proposed the creation of a national third-tier league that would allow youth sides to compete beyond U-19 level.

Part 2: The impact of menstrual cycles on training
In this section, Capinielli describes how the expert support staff attached to the U-20 women's team have analysed the demands of football on the female body and how to manage training around the menstrual cycle. This is a particularly complicated task in a team sport, given that every woman's cycle is unique. Moreover, the younger a woman is, the more variable her cycle is likely to be, which presents another challenge to youth coaches. 

Part 3: The balance between creative freedom and discipline
Finally, Capinielli highlights what he considers to be the most important attributes for a good coach. In broad terms, he believes the key is finding a balance between giving players the freedom to be creative and maintaining the cohesion of the team. Good players like to push the limits, and they can win matches for you by doing so. At the same time, though, they also have to play for the team and respect the club.

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