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François Sterchele

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François Sterchele
Date of birth(1982-03-14)14 March 1982
Place of birthLiège, Belgium
Date of death8 May 2008(2008-05-08) (aged 26)
Place of deathVrasene, Beveren, Belgium
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Playing positionStriker
Number23
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
2003–2004Union La Calamine29(23)
2004–2005Oud-Heverlee Leuven31(32)
2005–2006Charleroi31(9)
2006–2007Germinal Beerschot32(21)
2007–2008Club Brugge31(11)
Total154(96)
National team
2007–2008Belgium4(0)

François Sterchele (14 March 1982 – 8 May 2008) was a Belgian footballer who played for Germinal Beerschot and Club Brugge. The striker was the top scorer of the Jupiler League in 2006-07. Sterchele died in a single-person car accident on 8 May 2008.

Club career

Sterchele started his career at FC Loncin, a small team from the Belgian Provincial leagues in the province of Liège. At the age of ten, he moved to R.F.C. de Liège where he stayed for ten years before moving to R.F.C. Union La Calamine. After three seasons, he was signed by Oud-Heverlee Leuven, a team in the third division, where he scored 21 goals during the 2004-2005 season, finishing second in the topscorers list. In the subsequent playoffs, he scored another eight goals which would help earn the team to promotion to the second tier.

As a result, Sterchele was able to secure a transfer to the top division in Belgian football, the Jupiler League, when he joined Charleroi, where he was trained by Jacky Mathijssen, who would become a considerable influence in his development as a footballer. After just one year, he went to K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot and became the league's top scorer.

On 19 July 2007, Sterchele returned to the tutorship of Mathijssen when he moved to Club Brugge; he scored 2 goals on his league début against Mons.

Death

In the early morning of 8 May 2008, Sterchele was killed instantly when he crashed his Porsche Cayman S into a tree.

The previous day, Sterchele had visited some friends in Antwerp and was supposed to meet with Jurgen Cavens and Vicenzo Verhoeven. While travelling home on the N49 between Antwerp and Knokke, at around 03:00 on 8 May, Sterchele lost control of his Porsche while speeding and veered into a ditch before hitting a tree. No other vehicles were involved in the accident.

Tributes

Club Brugge, Sterchele's last club, decided to retire the number 23 in honor of their deceased striker. The fans of Club Brugge also start singing his name in the 23rd minute of every game their team plays. While playing against them in the Europa League, the fans of Birmingham City FC clapped to show their respects, and also carried the tribute out at their home ground, St. Andrews. Also there is the "Coppa Sterchele", each year two of his ex-teams play a friendly match to honor him.

References