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One Step From Glory

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Le Havre Athletic Club (HAC) training center is one of the best and most demanding in Europe, the oldest club in French football. Paul Pogba, Benjamin Mendy or even Dimitri Payet are the predecessors of the interns who hope to follow in their footsteps.

Abdel, 18, is entering a decisive year; the last in the center for this young footballer. Its future is decided now, in just a few months. The challenge: sign his first professional contract and see the promise of glory open up—or go back to square one in his city of Saint Etienne du Rouvray, without a diploma and without perspective.

Around him, the pressure mounts, his trainers, his father, and his agent discuss. The young man is talented but rebels against authority. He is a free electron who carries within him a deep revolt, that of developing since childhood as an athlete with a mother who became multiple handicapped following her childbirth, that of the pressure put on him by this father who has fulfilled all the roles and all the functions and who has placed all his hopes of possible social success on this son.

Today, Abdel must meet the expectations of the coaches, he must prove that he has his place at the highest level. But he is criticized for not respecting the instructions, for doing as he pleases. However, on the field, it is the one who makes the difference. But will that be enough?

It is this vertigo that One Step From Glory tells about, that of the all-or-nothing attitude that our society engenders. Football, in its excess, is its most dazzling reflection; it crystallizes one of the most potent issues that fractures it: money. And with it, the tensions it carries: the quest for social ascent and the urgency of success for these young people, most of whom come from the second generation of immigrants; these "heroes" of the social divide that characterizes our society.