Valerie Gauvin Profile
|Born||Jun 01, 1996|
|Birthplace||Sainte-Clotilde, Réunion, France|
Valerie Gauvin is a French professional footballer who plays for Everton in the FA Women’s Super League. She has previously played for Toulouse and Montpellier.
Born on the French island of Reunion, Gauvin relocated to the south-west mainland of France at the age of four and joined Toulouse at the age of 12.
In 2014, at the age of 18 years, Gauvin joined Montpellier, which was where she truly rose to stardom. She subsequently signed for Everton in August 2020.
Gauvin has also shone for the French senior women's national team since 2015, when she earned her first call-up.
Early years at Toulouse
At the age of 16, Gauvin rose to Toulouse's senior team, who she represented in the Division 2 Feminine. In the 2012/13 season, Toulouse played in the top flight, the Division 1 Feminine, and Gauvin got her first taste of top level French football. However, they were relegated and immediately dropped back down.
The 2013/14 season was an important campaign for Gauvin nonetheless as she scored 32 goals in 20 matches for Toulouse and caught the eye of top flight club Montpellier.
Move to Montpellier
In June 2014, Gauvin moved to Montpellier, where she began to really make a name for herself as one of the rising stars of French women's football. She scored 13 goals in 17 appearances during the 2016/17 season, helping Montpellier qualify for the UEFA Women's Champions League. They made the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2017/18, finally crashing out with a 5-1 defeat to Chelsea.
In the 2019/20 season, Gauvin scored 14 goals in 16 appearances in Montpellier's domestic campaign, subsequently earning a move to FAWSL side Everton in August 2020.
During her time at Montpellier, Gauvin scored at a rate of more than a goal every two games.
Upon signing for Everton on a three-year contract, Gauvin immediately earned high praise from her manager, Willie Kirk.
According to Everton's official website, Kirk said: "Signing Valerie is a real coup for the club and a sign of our ambition.
"For me, she is already one of the top strikers in Europe and taking into account her age and mindset, she will continue to get even better, and I'm delighted to be part of that future development.
"She is going to add a focal point to our attack and will be an important part of what is now a very exciting squad that we have put together.
"Sarvar (Ismailov, Everton Women Sporting Director) has worked tirelessly to get this deal done, and it shows his commitment and ambition to the club with what we want to achieve here."
The presence of France teammate Maeva Clemaron helped Gauvin settle at Everton and she scored four goals in the first seven matches of the 2020/21 season.
"It's nice to have Maeva playing behind me," Gauvin said, according to The Guardian. "It's helped me a lot in terms of understanding the language and in particular the instructions of the coach because it's a different playing system to what I've been used to.
"The role of Maeva has been vital both before I came and after. Before I arrived I spoke to her on the phone and she gave me some advice about what it was like from an insider's point of view."
Gauvin revealed that she had been eager to sign for a club near the top of the FA WSL table and confirmed that Everton had heavily courted her.
"I wanted to come and play for a side that was competing towards the top of the table," Gauvin said. "I knew Everton had shown quite a lot of interest in me for quite a while, they'd made that clear."
With regards to chemistry within the squad, Gauvin said: "I think it helps we're all pulling in the same direction and know what our objectives are. There's a great understanding within the squad. Everyone gets on very well. I think the team spirit is really good. That's when sides do well in big competitions. It is the fact they are strong mentally and together and I think we've managed to find that strength quite quickly."
Although defending FA WSL champions Chelsea emerged as the team to beat, Gauvin scored the winner against Emma Hayes' side in an FA Cup quarter-final clash.
"I think we can draw lots of confidence from the match and the result against Chelsea," Gauvin said. "We just have to work on the details. The higher the standard the more the small details can cost you or win you a game."
At the time of writing, Gauvin has five goals in 13 FA WSL appearances, comprising nine starts and four appearances off the bench.
Career in French National Team
Gauvin shone for France from U16 level, having played at that age level in 2012. After helping France to gold in the 2015 Summer Universiade, she earned a call-up to the senior national team in September of that year. She made her official debut on 23 October 2015 against the Netherlands.
Gauvin was part of the France side which made the final of the 2016 U20 FIFA Women's World Cup, ultimately losing to North Korea.
On 23 October 2017, Gauvin scored her first goal for the France senior national team against Ghana. She followed up with a hat-trick against Nigeria on 6 April 2018. Both matches ended in 8-0 victories for France.
Gauvin was part of the France side which made the quarter-finals of the 2019 Women's World Cup on home soil, ultimately losing to eventual winners the USA.
Gauvin scored in 2-1 victories over Norway and Brazil at the tournament. She recovered after having missed the hosts' opening match of the tournament, a 4-0 win over North Korea, due to disciplinary reasons. She reportedly was dropped as a result of having shown up late on two occasions.
Gauvin has cited her family and particularly her mother as inspiration during tough times. During the course of the 2019 World Cup, she was quoted by FIFA's official website as saying: "I've not had it easy, and when things get tough my mother and my family are there to tell me that you can't give up, whatever life throws at you. There are times when it's really hard, but I'm mentally strong."
Gauvin's net worth is unknown, but she made clear ahead of the 2019 Women's World Cup that she hoped she and her teammates would receive better compensation.
"We would like to get a little bit more. Maybe not as much as the men but a bit more would be great," Gauvin told Reuters.
Her contract with Everton is set to expire at the end of June 2023.