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First two months in Le Havre: good first impressions all-around

Katriina's interview in Le Havre, September 2023
GK, Katriina Talaslahti, goalkeeper at Le Havre Athletic Club, D1 Arkema season 2023-2024.

Oksana Zarovna

It’s now been a little bit more than two months since Katriina made the switch to Havre Athletic Club of D1 Arkema and moved to the port city in Normandy.

Le Havre has been cool. It’s obviously a little bit smaller than Paris, but I’ve enjoyed my time here. The town is nice. It’s by the sea so the climate is a little bit different. I’ve already managed to get a lot of good friends from the team, so it’s been fun. And my family is now coming here for the two home games in our calendar, Katriina says.

She also been impressed by Havre AC as a club.

– The men’s team returned to Ligue 1 and it’s nice to see how that professional mindset triggers down from the men’s team to our women’s team. There’s been a lot of co-operation. It’s cool that we also play our games at the huge Stade Océane. We don’t talk about it as the men’s stadium, but as the stadium of the whole club, Katriina says.

– Nothing has surprised me here as such, but it’s nice to see how well-organised everything is here. We have a clear schedule, everything takes place on time and with all kinds of small things it is more professional here than at Fleury. That triggers down from the men’s side to us. Our staff just got bigger for this season and there were a lot of changes in the team.

Le HAC started their D1 season with a home defeat against the reigning champions Lyon, followed by a draw from an away game against Bordeaux. The bar is set high for this season.

– Our preseason went well. A lot of wins and just one draw and a defeat. Our goal is to be in the top 6 this season, somewhere between first and sixth. So the expectations are high. The level of the league has of course risen, but we expect to finish high up in the league and make a good run in the Cup too. I also have high expectations for myself this season.

HAC has on paper two first-choice goalkeepers, Katriina (23 years old) and the more experienced Laëtitia Philippe (32). Philippe got the nod for the first two games of the league season, after the duo shared their preseason load pretty equally.

– She has a lot more experience and she’s been here already for a year longer than I have. I’ve been told I will at least play in the cup games, but you never know the season progresses. It’s of course my goal to play as much as I can and I’m ready if the call comes.

She welcomes everyone to see Women’s first league, the D1 Arkema games; And of course you have to see the beautiful Stade Océane in Le Havre.