Henry steps down as Montreal coach, cites family reasons

Reuters , Thursday 25 Feb 2021

'The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally'

Former French international Thierry Henry has decided to step down as head coach of the Montreal Impact due to family reasons, the Major League Soccer club said on Thursday.

The World Cup winner, who joined Montreal ahead of the 2020 campaign, said the last year had proved difficult as the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic left him unable to see his children.

"It is with a heavy heart that I've decided to take this decision," Henry, 43, said in a news release. "The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally.

"Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the U.S. again for several months will be no different. The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids."

Henry, who helped France win the World Cup in 1998 on home soil, took over a Montreal team that was fresh off a campaign of 12 wins, 17 losses and five draws had missed the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive season.

When he was introduced as coach, Henry acknowledged that he fell in love with French-speaking Montreal, a diverse city where he said he hoped to have a long adventure with the Impact.

In his one season in charge, Henry had a record of eight wins, 13 defeats and two draws, guiding Montreal to the playoffs as well as the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals.

"Thierry's departure is unfortunate and premature because this was very promising, but he informed me of his desire to be back with his family because the situation was and remains very difficult for both him and his family," said Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard.

"I want to thank him first on a human level because he led the players by example last year by being away from his family, but also from a sporting level and for what we have built together since his arrival."

The MLS regular season kicks off in April and Renard said a search for a new head coach was already underway.


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