With a mixture of regret and hope, CF Montreal president Gabriel Gervais confirmed the departure of head coach Wilfried Nancy on Tuesday. The 45-year-old will now lead the Columbus Crew.
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Although he would have liked to continue the adventure with the Frenchman, the CEO broached the subject with a touch of relief. After all, Nancy had made it clear that she wanted to leave the club that she had been leading since March 8, 2021, and Gervais said that he wanted to continue with people who really wanted to be a part of the organization.
In addition, he will not be the only one to set sail for Ohio, as he will be followed by assistant coach Kwame Ampadu, physical trainer Jules Gueguen and video analyst Maxime Chalier.
“My wish was to continue with Wilfried, Gervais said at a press conference. I really appreciate him as a “coach”, he is a very good “coach”, and as a person. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get along and lost three deputies who grew up in the Academy family. We can’t say it’s an ideal result, but given the circumstances, it’s a good result for us.
It’s a beautiful chapter ending as Nancy led CF to second place in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Eastern Association in 2022. However, her men relinquished the flag against New York City FC in the semifinals of the East.
Problems with Saputo
As the saying goes: better to be alone than in bad company. A conflict between Nancy and the team would have led to her departure and we retain a particular date in this file. On July 9, after a loss against Kansas City Sporting, the driver reportedly got into an argument with owner Joey Saputo. He would have wanted to leave immediately, but he changed his mind to end the season, according to Gervais.
CF Montreal tried to rebuild the bridges with Nancy in the months that followed, but you have to believe that their decision was made a long time ago. Even Saputo would have tried his luck late in the season, given the organization’s unparalleled success in 2022.
“After the game against New York, after the elimination [le 23 octobre]Joey went down to the locker room to talk to the players. He had asked Wil for permission to do so. He spoke very honestly to say that the team had exceeded his expectations. He took turns thanking different members of the organization, he thanked the players and specifically Wil for his work. Previously, he had even extended his hand to her, but it was not reciprocated. When you hit a wall like that, you have to keep going,” Gervais said.
It wasn’t about the money either. CF Montreal would have opened his wallet if Nancy had wanted to stay.
“It was not financial, confirmed the president. I personally told him that if he had an offer, we were ready to match him. He said no. We didn’t even get a chance to get there.”
On the research
Consequently, the Montreal organization will have to find a ninth head coach since its MLS debut in 2012.
Gervais said the hiring process for the next coach is already underway, stressing that speaking French will be an important criteria.
“It is absolutely our desire to have stability here,” he said.
“We want a coach a bit like Wil, who is good at developing players, a good teacher. We want a “coach” who believes in our project and in our philosophy. We are not like other big organizations that will bring in big names,” Gervais said, saying in passing that MP Laurent Ciman would remain in office.
The organization will surely want to find someone for several years. In fact, Mauro Biello has been the longest-serving head coach since he joined MLS. He was in charge for two years and two months.
Wilfried Nancy wants to transmit his passion to the Crew
The Columbus Crew introduced their new head coach, Wilfried Nancy, at a press conference Tuesday, expressing his joy at joining an organization where he feels loved.
Nancy left CF Montreal after managing it for two seasons and her departure from metropolis Quebec, which came at the end of a successful campaign, left many speechless. Also, the CF topic was completely evacuated during the press conference, Crew sporting director Tim Bezbatchenko sometimes uttering the words “old team”.
Regardless of the mood of the Montreal club’s supporters, however, Nancy is ready for a fresh start with a team that missed out on the last Major League Soccer playoffs.
“I am very happy to be here. I love my job and I am passionate about my sport. I love people and I care about them. Yes, I am a coach, but for me it is essential to understand others and thus we will achieve a great result”, he said.
“It is an honor for me to be the next Crew driver. My family and I are excited to be a part of the Columbus community,” he said in a statement.
For his part, Bezbachenko highlighted the qualities of his new acquisition.
“During the hiring process, it became clear to us that he is an innovative instructor with the right knowledge and vision to work in the world of North American soccer at various levels. We know he’s the right person to lead this team back to the playoffs and fight for a championship.”
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