Nîmes Olympique: discovering the revelation Tao Paradowski, 19 years old, starting goalkeeper for the Crocos in National

Nîmes Olympique: discovering the revelation Tao Paradowski, 19 years old, starting goalkeeper for the Crocos in National

Tao Paradowski, 19 ans, gardien titulaire en National. Midi Libre – MiKAEL ANISSET

National/31e journée. Avant Nîmes Olympique – Red Star, lundi 29 avril à 21 heures aux Antonins, le gardien des Crocos, titulaire à tout juste 19 ans, s’est confié à Midi Libre. Une riche et belle découverte. Sur le terrain comme en dehors.

Tao Paradowski has broken through. A video we made of him at Le Mans on February 2, after a second match in a row without conceding a goal (0-0), had been viewed 332,000 times on X, ex Twitter. It had been spotted and relayed by the influential account “Espoirs du football”. Because yes, the aptly named Paradowski has become a football hopeful in just a few months. In March, at just 19 years old, he was preselected for the French U19 team, but ultimately not called up. Discovery.

From Réunion to Nîmes, via Lorraine

Tao, named after the hero of the cartoon The mysterious cities of gold of which his parents were fans, was born on February 27, 2005 in Saint-Paul, on Reunion Island. "A life choice of my parents, explains- he.They spent ten years there. Then we returned to France, to Lorraine, their region of origin. I was 4 years old. I did judo and football at a club in Jarville. I started as a guard. I was born with a ball in my hands, and my big brother Djibril (today in Beaucaire in N3, Editor's note) in my feet: He was shooting, I was stopping. Sometimes he scored, but not often (laughs). We are fifteen months apart."

Spotted by Nancy, the goalkeeper takes part in a tournament with the ASNL in U12. It is preserved. He will progress regularly there, learn a lot alongside coach Nabil Tighazoui and former professional goalkeepers Bracigliano or Grégorini, and enjoy another tournament, in São Paulo, Brazil, with the training center. Until the national U17s, with whom he started despite his small size.

Except that at the end of the 2021-2022 season, "I was just offered one more year as an amateur. Nancy is my heart club, from my city, that I supported in Picot with the Ultras. But I decided to leave, says Paradowski. I had requests for N2 and N3, but I wanted to finish my training. I did a first try in Nîmes, it went well and I signed without trying my luck elsewhere. I immediately liked the atmosphere". The whole family then moved to Gard, where one of their grandmothers already lived.

From number 4 to number 1

U18 Regional 1, Gambardella, training with Ligue 2 from fall 2022, the small (for a goalkeeper, 1.80 m for 70 kg) but reliable last rampart seduces the crocodile coaches and particularly Frédéric Bompard, ex-D2 goalkeeper. After obtaining his STMG baccalaureate, he was invited to the resumption of the pros, who went down to National, at the beginning of July. "Already, just that, I enjoyed it!"

But there is still a way to go to keep the big players' cage: in front of him, there is Nazih, French youth international; Dias, 4 L1 and 17 L2 matches; and Ondoa, Cameroonian international trained at Barça and winner of CAN 2017, who arrives at the end of the summer transfer window. Just that…

However, it will go from n° 4 to n° 1. And remain so depending on the poor performances and injuries of the other three. He enters a friendly against Istres at the end of July 2023, "with my coach Antho Babikian behind me behind the goal to channel me, like my father when I was a child&hellip ;" And begins in the championship on September 8 against Châteauroux (2-2).

9 clean sheets will follow in 24 National matches, which is strong. With him, Nîmes has a balanced record of 8 wins, 8 draws and 8 defeats. Without him ? Zero successes, 3 draws and 3 setbacks… And, last Friday, this masterpiece in Orléans: 9 stops for a score of 9/10 in Midi Libre, a success 1 -0 while the expected goals (xG, number of expected goals conceded, this stat’ which now refers to goalkeepers) rose to 2.2…

Nîmes Olympique: discovering the revelation Tao Paradowski, 19 years old, starting goalkeeper for the Crocos in National

24 National matches, 9 clean sheets and a balanced record for NO of 8 wins, 8 draws and 8 defeats Midi Free – ALEXIS BETHUNE

The mind, faith, work, the future

"One of my strengths is being able to switch, to bounce back, like after my shitty match in Niort. What I do, I knew I was capable of doing. Afterwards, it’s a question of serenity, of mentality. I have a mental trainer, Karim Achour, who takes care of the French karate teams and other athletes in preparation for the Olympics. I work with him by video. It’s like my height: I managed not to make it a hindrance. When I was young, I heard: it’s small, you have to shoot high. I told them: “go ahead !” And it didn't fit", confides this admirer of Janot and Pickford.

It's all him: like these knives with their mechanism which prevents the blade from folding, Paradowski, it's guts and stops. And a faith, too: a fervent Christian, the young man always went to mass with his family. He continues with his companion, Anaïs.

Next Saturday, the day after the match at Chasselay against Goal, it will be Eucharist and confirmation for him at Nîmes Cathedral! While waiting for the footballing sacrament: becoming professional. Because of the regulations, NO cannot have him sign before he turns 20, in February 2025, because the crocodile training center no longer has approval. & ;quot;My goal is to sign professionally for Nîmes. Besides, I thank everyone who trusted me in the club, “Babik”, coach Bompard, Adil (Hermach), Jérémy Struffaldi (youth goalkeeper coach)… But if it can't be done here, we'll see elsewhere."

In any case, the Jonquières-Saint-Vincent school, where he still works sometimes because he does not have a salary to play in the National – he nevertheless receives match bonuses – will have to find a new after-school leader between noon and two…

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