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.
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.
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.
Club Brugge, Sterchele’s last club, decided to retire the number 23 in honor of their deceased striker.