After a catastrophic first experience as a coach with AS Monaco, Thierry Henry became Impact Montreal’s new coach.
Henry is facing a new challenge. The former Arsenal striker and the French team found a base on our side of the Atlantic, in Montreal. After a failure in Monaco that ended last January, Thierry Henry will lead the Impact in MLS for the next two years, with an optional year. An announcement that took everyone by surprise, since virtually nothing was out in the press about it. A big challenge for the one who will have to relaunch the Canadian team, who finished the regular season in the ninth position of the conference is MLS. This Monday, he was introduced to the press as a new Impact Montreal coach.
Of course, he was first asked about the motivations that drove him to make this choice. “There are things done in the rules of art, everyone knew that I did not have a job. I met Olivier and Kevin (Olivier Renard, sports director, and Kevin Gilmore, president), there was an agreement and a mutual desire to work together. I came here in 2011 for a friendly with my last team, and I fell in love with the city. I also have an attachment to MLS, so it was very fast for me. This way of seeing the game here, and mine, it was fast, as I often say it’s an extraordinary city and a big market, not many people are aware of this but I am, “he began, while Olivier Renard confirmed that the first contacts between the two parties back in mid-October.
If he refused to extend in length on his nightmare Monaco adventure, he said “to have learned a lot” in Ligue 1, he especially wanted to insist on the fact that he does not want to be seen as the savior, nor to be overemphasized: “there is a lot of things that I do not control, I know that I have lived here but it is part of the past. When I arrived at the airport I was told that there were people, I was expecting colleagues from you but there were more people than that. What I can control is trying to get so many people doing something great here. It is not easy to leave an inheritance, it’s not what I have in my head in general. I am a normal person, I have lived, as a coach it starts, but we are there for the club, it is not my story“.
An established game plan
Then he talked about the direction he wants to give to his new team. A philosophy based on attack, he will still have to adapt, especially because of the football practiced in the United States, more direct than in Europe. “In general, the face of the team is often a reflection of the coach, but I would like players to feel what is happening in the city. For me the financial side is not a problem, if we can do something better, but the teams that win are not always the ones who have the biggest budget in this league. This season everyone was thinking about a final at LA FC vs Atlanta, in the end it was not. To create this identity and this team, finances or not, big players or not, it is important, it is necessary to create a balance. I know it from my past in MLS and what I saw recently. When you look at Seattle for example, it’s a good team, no Carlos Vela or Zlatan, but they won. A project, an identity, a philosophy in place; with that, it becomes clearer, “explained Henry, who continued to follow American soccer despite the distance.
More or less the same speech that he gave at AS Monaco. Inter Miami CF is most likely going after a coach that knows how to make his team win. That has not been Henry’s case so far.