FCC’s Antoine Hoppenot hurting for home country of France

The building excitement for FC Cincinnati’s international friendly against Premier League foe Crystal Palace on Saturday has been tempered for midfielder and France native Antoine Hoppenot in light of Thursday’s attack in Nice that killed 84 people.

“It’s incredibly sad, and it’s frustrating to see these things happen,” said Hoppenot, who was born in Paris and moved to the United States when he was 2.

“I used to go back every summer, and my whole extended family still lives there,” he said. ” It’s always rough when I see things like this happen. That’s where I was born. I’m French through and through.”

Hoppenot said he doesn’t have any family in Nice, but Thursday’s attack brought back difficult memories of the November attack in Paris when attackers killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more during an attack in and around the Bataclan Theater.

“That was really nerve-racking trying to find out if my family was OK and everything’s fine,” Hoppenot said. “It hits you a little harder when your family’s in the line of danger.”

Hoppenot said he was proud of the way the French people rallied in wake of the Bataclan tragedy and said he has no doubts they will again. He just wishes they didn’t have to.

“French people rebound well,” he said. “We’re very prideful people. We come together when something like this happens. If you want to come at us, we’re going to do what we can to come back at you and make sure this doesn’t happen to innocent people.

“That’s what’s so sad, and especially on Bastille Day, which is supposed to a day of celebration and a national holiday,” he continued. “It’s just a really sad moment. I try not to think too much about it and just focus on today and hopefully make the world a little bit better.”