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The Impact named their new head coach on Thursday morning and it’s a huge name in the world of soccer.
Thierry Henry, a Ballon d’or finalist in 2003 and 2006 and a FIFA World Player of the Year finalist in 2003 and 2004, has signed a two-year deal to coach the Impact with an option for 2022.
Henry scored 228 goals in all competitions as a striker with Arsenal — the most goals ever with that club — while winning two English Premier League championships, three FA Cups and playing in a UEFA Champions League final. With FC Barcelona, he won La Liga in 2009 and 2010, along with the UEFA Champions League and the Copa Del Rey. Henry played in four FIFA World Cups with the French National team (1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), winning the championship in 1998. He was also part of the French team that won the Euro championship in 2000 and is France’s all-time leading scorer with 51 goals in 123 games.
Henry, 42, became assistant coach of the Belgian national team in 2016, reaching the FIFA World Cup semifinal in 2018 before beating England in the third-place match. In 2018, Henry was promoted to main assistant coach of the national team and then became head coach of Ligue 1 club AS Monaco, where he had a 4-11-5 record.
“We are extremely happy to announce the nomination of this legend of the game,” Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore said in a news release Thursday morning. “Henry will bring a new energy to our club. He shares our vision to elevate this club and will help us achieve our goals on and off the field. He is a competitor and a leader who has proven himself at the highest level throughout his career. He now brings these qualities with him to Montreal, a place he wants to be.”
Added Impact sporting director Oliver Renard: “We are extremely happy with the arrival of Thierry Henry. Young and dynamic, he’s very familiar with MLS and meets the qualities we were looking for in our search. This nomination, two months before the start of camp in January, will give us a chance to build our squad with the man that will lead it.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante also welcomed the news — and Thierry.
Henry holds a UEFA Pro coaching licence.
“It’s an honour to coach the Montreal Impact and return to MLS,” Henry said in a statement. “It’s a league I know well, in which I had some very nice moments. To be in Quebec, in Montreal, which has an enormous multicultural heritage, it’s extraordinary. I’ve always kept an eye on the club and now I’m here.”
Henry replaces Wílmer Cabrera, who was fired after the Impact failed to make the playoffs this season with a 12-17-5 record. Carbrera replaced Rémi Garde, who was fired on Aug. 21. The Impact have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Henry becomes the seventh head coach with the Impact since the club joined MLS for the 2012 season, following Jesse Marsch, Marco Schallibaum, Frank Klopas, Mauro Biello, Garde and Cabrera. Henry will meet with the Montreal media for the first time on Monday.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019