It is in London that one of the hottest talents for the Canadian soccer team is to be found. And yet, this Quebec defender has never lived in the Belle Province or even in the country shunned by Taylor Swift.

17-year-old Luc de Fougerolles is turning heads internationally. The Premier League side Fulham FC is part of a long line of renowned prospects at the academy.

Last season, he certainly played with the under-18 team, but also got starts with the reserve team, the under-21 team. He is also the youngest player with the said U-21 team. What’s more, Fulham is one of the most prestigious academies in England. His reserve team – to which De Fougerolles contributed – notably finished ahead of those of Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.

The talent, progression and potential of Luc de Fougerolles not going unmentioned, Fulham quickly granted him a professional contract in April. “It was a great moment for me,” he said in a virtual interview with La Presse. All I wanted was to be a professional footballer. »

Nevertheless, everything is still to be done before evolving with the first team. With the exception of a few gifted youngsters, youngsters have to go on loan to gain senior experience before making the leap to the Premier League. It’s a practically imperative rite of passage for those who really want to make it at the highest level.

De Fougerolles is aware that he will not be able to skip the stages and that leaving the comfort of the London academy with which he has been with since the age of 8 will be precious.

If he’s on Fulham’s first-team radar for years to come, he’s just popped up on Canada’s.

Luc de Fougerolles has Canadian citizenship through his father, Jean, who was born and raised in Montreal. Passionate about hockey, the father moved to England for his university studies. He finally stayed there.

That said, Luc is not a complete stranger to Quebec. He came there on several occasions to visit his family on his father’s side and to spend holidays there. His father also made an effort to teach him the language of Plume Latraverse, although he has lost some of it in recent years due to his busy schedule. “I still speak French a little bit,” he laughs.

He needed little more to be eligible to represent Canada internationally.

Fulham have kindly handed over video footage to the Canadian team and academy coaches have also been in contact with Canadian leaders to preach for their colt. The phone rang pretty quickly afterwards.

The full-back was called up in April 2022 to represent the Under-20s and, unsurprisingly, he was the youngest player called up. However, COVID-19 prevented him from joining the Canadian selection for the camp.

It should be noted, however, that representing Canada at this age does not commit De Fougerolles to anything for the senior team. He could decide to wear another uniform when the time comes, for example that of England.

However, he does not want to close the door to the English selection at this point. Or even to an as yet unknown selection.

“Maybe if I dig a little deeper, I could get another [nationality],” he blurts out.

Admittedly, there is a certain quality to excel on the pitch, but De Fougerolles stands out also away from the lawns. In June, the Canadian was awarded the title of student of the year at Fulham thanks to his grades.

“It’s hard to find a balance between home, homework, rest and recuperation,” he admitted. It’s tough, but I got used to it because I’ve been doing it full time for a year. So I can definitely live with that. »

The main interested party gave almost all the credit to the club for his academic successes.

“I found a balance, but I have to admit Fulham helps me a lot. They have everything at the club so I can train in the morning and then in the afternoon focus on school. There are even teachers at the club, so it’s like everything is there for me. I just need to get to class on time, listen to the lessons and do my job, but it’s all handled for me, which is good,” he said.

De Fougerolles is currently completing a degree that will allow him to work in the world of sport in addition to taking two other courses in psychology and business that can lead him to university.

Whether his future is in the heat of the moment or elsewhere, it couldn’t be brighter for the teenager.

From an early age, De Fougerolles knew he was going to play a defensive role. It’s always what pleased him. First defensive midfielder, he then repositioned himself at the heart of the central hinge in defense and as a side. “Right now I’m more of a full-back, but you never know,” he explained.