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Thierry Henry, citing family, steps down as CF Montreal head coach

CF Montreal lost a head coach and Major League Soccer said goodbye to a marquee name with news Thursday that Thierry Henry was stepping down.

Citing family reasons, the 43-year-old former star striker said he was quitting the club after one season at the helm to return to London. Kevin Gilmore, Montreal’s president and CEO, called it a “difficult day” but said Henry was leaving on good terms.

“I’m surprised but given the circumstances it doesn’t shock me that this has happened given what he went through last year,” he told reporters.

Separation from his children plus the prospect of having to spend another season on the road due to pandemic-related travel restrictions contributed to Henry’s decision.

“Last year was very difficult on this club across the board,” said Gilmore. “But especially with those that had to spend the last four months of the season outside of Montreal. And the prospect of starting a season like that again is very difficult. And it’s taken its toll on a lot of people. Obviously it’s taken its toll on Thierry and his children.

“He made a difficult decision — although I keep saying when you make decisions based on family, they’re always good decisions — to stay in London and give up his position as the head coach of the club in order to be close to his family.”

‘Heavy heart’

The announcement comes on the eve of training camp. Players report Monday for a seven-day quarantine period, medicals and COVID-19 testing prior to the start of team training March 8. The MLS regular season kicks off April 17.

Montreal said it will take a committee approach to coaching led by assistant coach Wilfried Nancy until a successor is found. The new head coach will take charge of a roster that has been radically changed since last season with 11 players having left and eight new faces.

Henry spoke to the Montreal players and staff Thursday via video but not the media.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” the French native said in a statement. “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, [this year] will be no different. The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave CF Montreal.”


Henry was hired in November 2019, succeeding interim coach Wilmer Cabrera on a two-year contract with an option for the 2022 season.

Henry has been linked to the managerial opening at England’s Bournemouth in recent days. But Montreal officials said there had been no contact with the Championship side, which recently handed the manager’s job to Jonathan Woodgate through the end of the season.

“Bournemouth was nothing more than a rumour,” Gilmore said.

Still, Montreal says it will be entitled to compensation if Henry takes a position with another club in the near future.

Gilmore said Henry was not focused on a job hunt. “Right now his sole and only focus is his children and his family.”

But Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said he hopes Henry returns to coaching as soon as possible.

“He deserves it. I can say that I was very proud of him last year ΓǪ You could see he was in difficulty about his family, about the players. He was the leader of the team.”


Henry, seen taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Henry led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. Montreal, which finished out the 2020 campaign based in Harrison, N.J., exited in the play-in round in November thanks to a 95th-minute goal by New England’s Gustavo Bou.

Gilmore said Henry flew home for the holidays, returning to Montreal the last week of January. After finishing quarantine in early February, he told the club he had to fly home to deal with some personal issues.

“His children were struggling with him having just left,” said Gilmore.

Last Thursday, Henry indicated he was leaning toward not coming back. Gilmore said while the club tried to find ways to ease his burden, Henry told them Monday he was stepping down.


“Is it perfect timing? Absolutely not. But like I said there is no deadline or prescription date on personal decisions and we fully understand where he’s coming from,” Gilmore said.

“Of course it’s a loss when you lose a person like Thierry Henry, who’s a football legend known worldwide and is associated with your club,” he added. “The thing is he’ll always be associated with this club.”

Gilmore said the team is in the process of finalizing where in the U.S. it will play home matches this season while the border restrictions continue. A return to New Jersey or Florida are possibilities.

Toronto FC is also looking at Florida, with Orlando and Tampa possible venues. Vancouver is reportedly looking at Utah.

Henry was an elite forward whose playing resume includes Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and France. He retired in December 2014 after a 20-year career that saw him score 411 goals in 917 matches.

Henry was an academy coach at Arsenal and an assistant coach with the Belgian national team before taking charge of AS Monaco and then Montreal.

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Controversy over airborne transmission of COVID-19 ‘a tempest in a teapot,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C.’s provincial health officer says the controversy over airborne transmission of COVID-19 has been overblown, after hundreds of scientists signed a letter calling for the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations.

In an open letter to the WHO, 239 scientists in 32 countries have reportedly argued particles smaller than what has previously been reported can carry the novel coronavirus and infect people. According to a story in the New York Times, those scientists want the global health body to begin treating COVID-19 as an airborne illness.

But Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested Monday that the letter was designed “to foment a bit of controversy,” and the disagreement is part of an ongoing discussion about how coronaviruses and other illnesses like influenza are spread.

“I actually think it’s a little bit of a tempest in a teapot in that we all agree on the extremes and we’re fussing a little bit about how much we need to focus on the bits in the middle,” Henry said during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing.

With airborne viruses like the measles and smallpox, tiny disease-carrying particles can float in the air for hours, even travelling down hallways and through ventilation systems.

The WHO and Henry have maintained since the beginning of the pandemic that the coronavirus is spread through droplets expelled from the mouth and nose, which fall from the air comparatively quickly.

“We know that there’s a gradation of how droplets come out when somebody coughs or sneezes or talks,” Henry explained Monday.

WATCH | Scientists call on WHO to update guidance on airborne transmission of coronavirus:

A group of 239 scientists from around the world say there is enough evidence that the coronavirus can spread by airborne transmission and urged the World Health Organization to revise its guidelines, but there is debate within the scientific community. 1:55

“It is the smaller ones that can be breathed deep into the lungs, and it’s the larger ones that can often be deposited up in the back of the throat or in the back of the lungs.”

‘It’s not transmitted long distances’

The novel coronavirus appears to spread predominantly through larger droplets, according to Henry. She said that, generally, transmission of this virus requires more moisture and closer contact between people.

‘It’s not transmitted long distances in the air column. We’re all on the same page about that,” Henry said.

“Where there’s a challenge is how much of it is transmitted through the small droplets that are transmitted when I’m close to you.”


The WHO has said the coronavirus mainly spreads through larger droplets, like the ones captured in this image of a sneeze. (Lydia Bourouiba/MIT/JAMA Networks)

She said B.C.’s approach to COVID-19 depends on implementing several different layers of protection that prevent transmission of both small and large droplets. That includes several types of personal protective equipment in health-care settings, along with personal measures like physical distancing and masks in crowded settings.

“It is important to continue to look at the data, to look at where we’re seeing transmission events and adapt if we need to and put in additional measures,” Henry said.

That could include stricter rules around face masks.

“I really hope that this stimulates more innovation in things like more effective and easier to wear masks that we can use repeatedly that are much more effective,” Henry said.

“It discourages me that we’re here after SARS in 2003 and H1N1 in 2009 and we still don’t have a decent fitting mask that can be used easily in all health-care settings.”

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B.C.’s top doctor Bonnie Henry says 2nd wave of COVID-19 inevitable, but current lessons will guide response

British Columbia’s top doctor says that a second wave of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is inevitable in Canada, but that the lessons learned over the past few months will help inform future responses.

“The optimist in me would like to think that maybe it will go away, and the virus will mutate and won’t become worse,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in an interview with Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s The Current.

“But you know what? We’ve never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave.”

Henry, who was on the front lines of the country’s SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2003, has led B.C.’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. She has been praised for her response to the pandemic that successfully flattened the curve ahead of many other regions.

B.C. was the second province with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and with strict physical distancing measures, new infections and hospitalizations have steadily decreased.

On Tuesday, the province entered the second phase of its pandemic response with many businesses and public spaces, including restaurants and beaches reopening with restrictions.

“Now is our time to regroup, learn as much as we can over the coming weeks and months, and prepare,” Henry said.

WATCH | ‘We’re not going to get everything right,’ says Henry:

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there might be some confusion about Phase 2 of B.C.’s reopening and it will take some time and patience to iron out.. 1:25

Testing, contact tracing crucial

As the country slowly reopens, Henry said that testing will continue to be crucial, particularly when the flu returns in the fall.

“We need to be able to understand the difference between influenza and COVID, and we’ll need to have testing in place to rapidly expand our testing if needed,” she said, adding that contact tracing for diagnosed cases will also play a role.

However, Henry pushed back at the idea of COVID-19 surveillance systems, such as those launched in China and Hong Kong, arguing they’re “probably not that helpful.”

“That one-on-one public health investigation is incredibly important, so if there [are] some applications that help us do that more efficiently, then that’s what we’re looking for.”

With the potential for a second wave, Henry said B.C. is already considering what measures may return — without delivering another blow to the economy.

“What I hope we can do is create a level of safety so that we can get our economy going, our schools going, work going — but not to the level that we were in December [before the virus],” she said.

“We’ll be looking at what were the measures that worked best to prevent transmission, and if we start to see increases in COVID, those are the things that we can put in place rather than the blanket shut everything down as we did before.”

B.C. schools to reopen in June

The most effective measures will be tested as the provincial economy reopens, and starting on June 1, students can voluntarily return to classrooms.

“We want to make sure that there’s not a long period of time where [students] don’t have that direct contact, but we need to do it in a way that’s safe,” Henry said.

While schools have remained open throughout the pandemic for some students, including children of essential workers, they will now be open to all.

WATCH | B.C. schools to reopen part-time in June:

In-person attendance is voluntary, and schools will have to follow rigorous cleaning procedures and health guidelines. 2:06

When they reopen next month class sizes will be small, and students will stay with one teacher for the full day.

Several provinces have already announced plans to keep students at home until at least the fall. Henry said that B.C.’s blueprint for schools is what students across the country might expect for the next school year.

“We’ll be learning from the experience that we have in June to make sure that we have things that are working both for the staff and the educators … as well as the students and the family,” she said.

Make seniors’ care ‘part of our whole health-care system’

Changes to other sectors, including elder care, will be further off, however.

Long-term care homes, which have faced outbreaks across the country, remain off limits to residents’ relatives in the province.

“As soon as we think it’s safe, we will be allowing family members in, but it won’t be in the same way,” she said. “We won’t be able to have those group experiences right now and probably for a number of weeks or months.”

When asked whether the pandemic would lead to a reckoning for how elder care is handled in this country, Henry said that it has highlighted “challenges” that public health has “recognized for a long time.” She included annual influenza outbreaks and a precarious workforce among the difficulties.

“All of these highlight the vulnerabilities that something like a virus can cause when it gets into a care home and we don’t have those essential pieces in place that support people,” she said.

“I’m hopeful that we will redo how we think about providing care in seniors’ homes.”

Henry said that while the federal government’s role in long-term care needs to be “worked out,” there is “a justification for making seniors’ care — particularly in the long-term care homes that we have — making that part of our whole health-care system.”

Be kind, be safe

Throughout the pandemic, Henry has encouraged British Columbians to “be kind, be calm and be safe.”

“It may sound corny, but I do believe that kindness and support and working together is what will get us through this, particularly things that last as long as an outbreak like this,” she said.

WATCH | Henry concerned for families and health workers affected by coronavirus:

Dr. Bonnie Henry is concerned for families and health workers affected by the coronavirus. 2:11

A return to pre-COVID-19 life remains a long way off, she said, telling Galloway “the types of contact, the things that we did in December,” could remain off limits until a vaccine is developed.

But Henry is hopeful that some of the positive changes that have come out of the pandemic will stick around well beyond COVID-19.

“There’s new ways of approaching things … the fact that we need to clean our hands regularly and the fact that we need to respect people’s safe distance, particularly if we’re feeling unwell ourselves … and how do we support people to be able to stay home from work if they’re sick?” she said.

“Those are things that I hope won’t change.”


Written by Jason Vermes. Produced by Idella Sturino and John Chipman.

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Canadian Doneil Henry settling into life, soccer in South Korea

A Jan. 7 Instagram post shows Doneil Henry sitting on a stacked luggage cart — at Vancouver International Airport en route to South Korea.

The adventure was about to begin.

The 27-year-old defender from Brampton, Ont., is in uncharted territory for a Canadian, playing for the Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the K-League — one of the first soccer leagues around the world to return to action during the pandemic

‘It’s all positive’

“It’s definitely an experience. I am enjoying it … I’m happy,” said Henry, a former member of Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“So far so good. It’s all positive,” he added.

Henry’s new home is Suwon World Cup Stadium, a 43,959-capacity venue known as Big Bird because the cover on one stand — seen from above — looks like a bird stretching its wings.

Suwon hosts Ulsan Hyundai on Sunday in its second league outing of the season. Ulsan blanked Sangju Sangmu 4-0 in its opener.

Henry started in two AFC Champions League games — a 1-0 home loss to Japan’s Vissel Kobe on Feb. 18 and a 2-1 loss at Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim FC on March 3 — before the K-League opener March 8.

The visiting Bluewings lost 1-0 to defending champion Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on a rainy night in an empty Jeonju World Cup Stadium.

Suwon, down a man when Australian midfielder Terry Antonis was sent off for a harsh tackle, conceded the goal off an 84-minute corner with 41-year-old Lee Dong-gook beating Henry and other defenders to a header off a corner.

The goal celebration was modest with fist and elbow bumps.

Substitutes, off-field officials and photographers wore masks. The Joenbuk players came out to “We are the Champions” as Bluewing players applauded. A giant message saying .CU Soon Stay Strong was spelled out in one empty stand.

“It was almost like a closed-door training [session],” said Henry.

But while the stadium was empty, the contest was shown around the world via TV and social media feeds.

“Although there weren’t people in the stadium, there were people watching,” said Henry.

“Honestly I was just very hungry and couldn’t wait to get back on the pitch and be playing some meaningful games.”

Strict health measures

COVID-19 checks remain strict there. Henry has a fever check the day before and day of a game. Only the 18 players selected for the game are allowed in the stadium with substitutes having to wear masks.

The Bluewings finished eighth at 12-14-14 last season but qualified for the 2020 AFC Champions League group stage as Korean FA Cup winners.

Starting at the heart of the Suwon defence, Henry has been impressed by the level of play in Korea.

“I think that the players are very sharp and technical and very direct. They play very very very fast. That’s something that I’m not used to. I like to slow down the game, taking it in spurts where you can change the tempo of the match. Whereas they are always full out, 100 per cent.”

Comparison with MLS

He says his early take is the K-League is like Major League Soccer but “without some of the DP [designated] players.”

Already Korea is meeting his expectations.

“I want to be valued wherever I play,” Henry said. “I didn’t feel like I was getting that in MLS, so basically it was my time to go. I always had in my head that if anything pops up and I can go back to Europe, I’m gone.

“I just want to go where I’m getting that exposure that I need, because I have a bittersweet taste in my mouth about how everything ended in Europe. Because of lots of injuries, I didn’t get a chance to fully show myself.”

“My vision is still clear when it comes to that kind of stuff.”

Henry was 21 when he signed with West Ham in January 2015 on the recommendation of former TFC manager Ryan Nelsen. The defender had played 70 games for Toronto, with the last matches coming while he was officially on loan from Cyprus’ Apollon Limassol.

He never actually played for the Cypriot side and then-Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko took months to announce the mysterious loan deal.

Three surgeries, including a long-term knee injury, in 2 1/2 years delayed Henry’s progress. He saw limited action in Europe with Blackburn Rovers and Denmark’s AC Horsens on loan before joining Vancouver in 2018. He played 39 games for the Whitecaps.

In Korea, Henry is back wearing No. 4. It was his original number with Toronto FC before he ceded it to Michael Bradley in 2014. He has gone on to wear No. 2, 5, 15, 23, 25 and 93.

Initially Henry stayed closed to home in Korea because of the pandemic, not wanting to take chances.

“Even though everything was open, it was like you didn’t want to go outside. Especially for myself, for a lot of time I didn’t know where I should go, what I should do.”

He stuck to his routine, knowing where the nearest grocery store was. “I just had two or three places. I wasn’t really exploring.”

Situation improving in South Korea

But with the situation improving, he has ventured outside more this month — including a visit to Seoul.

While life may be returning to something more normal he says people continue to follow COVID-19 protocols. Masks have been commonplace in Korea for some time, he said.

Seoul closed bars and clubs after another outbreak of the virus. But Henry says most everything is open.

Henry flew back to Canada, arriving early to go through self-quarantine, ahead of a March national team training camp and two friendlies against Trinidad and Tobago in Langford, B.C., Sadly the March 27 and 31 games were called off and Henry had to go through self-quarantine again upon arriving in Korea.

Antonis and fellow Australian Adam Taggert have helped ease his transition with the Bluewings.

“Everything’s been class. Everybody’s been good. The club’s been really good, taking care of us,” said Henry.

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Montreal Impact’s Victor Wanyama excited to play for coach Thierry Henry

The star power of Thierry Henry is already paying dividends for the Montreal Impact.

New designated player Victor Wanyama signed a three-year deal with Montreal on Tuesday on a free transfer from Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League.

The 28-year-old defensive midfielder admits he could not resist the appeal of playing for a high-profile coach like Henry, a former soccer superstar whose career includes high-profile stints Barcelona, Arsenal and the French national team.

“It was easy for me,” said Wanyama at Wednesday’s introductory press conference. “He’s the best manager for me. He understands the game very well. I thought I could learn from him, what he’s achieved and the career he’s had. It’s just a no-brainer to want to work with him.

“He made it clear to me what the project is, and what he wants. It was very clear for me to come here and join the team.”

Impact sporting director Olivier Renard began discussions with Tottenham last week, knowing Wanyama fell out of favour under new coach Jose Mourinho. He played only 24 minutes in two Premier League appearances this season, both off the bench.

Once that initial contact was made, Renard’s recruitment tactic was putting Wanyama directly in touch with Henry.

“It would be crazy not to use everything Thierry Henry has to offer,” Renard said. “High-level players like Victor know what kind of career he’s had. It’s important for them to speak to him. His name is awfully helpful when it comes to attracting players.”

The six-foot-two Wanyama is a big-bodied midfielder, very physical, strong on the ball and a good dribbler. He becomes the Impact’s second designated player after central midfielder Saphir Taider.

Top flight experience

Wanyama comes to Major League Soccer with more than a decade of experience in Europe’s top leagues.

He played three seasons in Belgium, two in Scotland with Celtic and another three with Southampton in the Premier League. He joined Spurs in 2016 where he made 97 appearances for the North London club.

Wanyama is also the captain of Kenya’s national team, scoring seven goals in 56 caps.

“I bring passion,” he said. “I love the game. I love helping my teammates. I bring fight. I’m willing to do everything to get the win. On the pitch, I demand a lot because I love to win.”

That mentality and top-flight experience could be bad news for Canadian international Samuel Piette, who plays the same defensive mid position. Unless Henry makes a formation change, Piette may find himself relegated to a depth role.

Familiar face

Wanyama took part in his first training session on Wednesday morning where he impressed his new teammates. There was one familiar face in Luis Binks, a former Tottenham academy player who joined Montreal two weeks ago.

“It’s a very good addition to the team,” the 18-year-old Binks said. “You see what he has done at Tottenham and at Southampton in the Premier League. It’s a big name and a big player to come.

“He can bring a lot of physicality, a lot of experience. He’s also good on the ball. You could see today in training how calm he is on the ball.”

Durability concerns

The main drawback to signing Wanyama, especially to a three-year contract, is the midfielder’s recurring knee injuries over the past three seasons. But Renard says the team’s medical staff gave the green light.

It’s unclear when the Kenyan international will make his Impact debut though. He is still waiting for his visa papers.

“I can’t wait for the papers to be ready,” said the designated player. “I didn’t play for a bit of time but I’ve been training hard. I’m physically fit. I leave the rest to the manager. My job is just to work hard and impress him.”

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Thierry Henry looks to add defenders after 1st practice with Impact as head coach

Thierry Henry is fully aware the Montreal Impact are lacking depth on defence after just one practice.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona star, who was hired as Montreal’s head coach in November, says the Impact are contemplating roster moves after losing key defensive players in the off-season.

The MLS club did not re-sign regular starters Daniel Lovitz, Bacary Sagna and Victor Cabrera.

“We’re working behind the scenes to see if we can add some reinforcements,” Henry, 42, said after his first practice on Tuesday. “But as a coach, I need to work with the players I have.

“We have a good number of wingers and forwards. Ideally we would need to acquire two or three defenders, if possible.”

WATCH | Henry with only positive things to say about Impact, MLS:

42-year-old former Arsenal star Thierry Henry takes over Montreal side that missed MLS playoffs. 1:10

Twenty-eight players are at training camp, which moves to Orlando, Fla., later this week. Only four of those are defenders with any MLS experience: Rod Fanni, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho and Jorge Corrales.

On Tuesday, the Impact acquired Canadian centre back Joel Waterman following a transfer from Calgary-based Cavalry FC of the Canadian Premier League. The native of Aldergrove, B.C., signed a two-year contract with Montreal with options for 2022 and 2023.


Henry’s first practice was very light and lasted about an hour. The former French international did not want to overexert his players.

“After an hour of training, very good so far,” said the retired striker, who signed a two-year deal with an option for 2022. “Application was good and the guys trained with the right intensity. We need to be careful about that because they haven’t done anything for a very long time. But I’m happy with the first day.

“It was nice to see the players [in person] because I’ve been watching a lot of video but it’s different to be here, to see who plays and how.”

‘Starting from scratch’

Henry, who previously coached AS Monaco in Ligue 1, has his work cut out for him with a new season fast approaching.

His first match as coach will be Feb. 19 when the Impact travel to Costa Rica for the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League round-of-16 series against Deportivo Saprissa. The return leg is Feb. 26.

Montreal then begins its MLS campaign three days later at home to New England. The Impact are looking for their first post-season berth since 2016. They went 12-17-5 last season.

“This team hasn’t made the playoffs in three years. That’s no accident. We have to work on that,” Henry said.


Henry says his players “have to prove they belong on this team.” (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press )

That gives the Premier League legend four weeks to make some crucial roster decisions. Maxi Urruti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel are battling for the team’s main striker position. In goal, Evan Bush and Clement Diop want the starting job.

“Everyone is starting from scratch,” said the new Impact coach. “Everyone has to prove they belong on this team. Yes there’s a goalie battle right now. Whoever deserves to play, will play.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Ignacio Piatti was back in an Impact uniform, putting an end to constant off-season speculation. Piatti’s future was seemingly up in the air when he failed to meet reporters at the end-of-season press conference last October.

It was rumoured Piatti wanted to remain in Argentina with his family, even though the Impact exercised the option on his contract for 2020.

“Last year, after speaking to [sporting director Olivier Renard], I left and had things to do and forgot about the media,” said Piatti, who first joined Montreal in 2014. “There’s no problem. It’s a new year and I’m here.

“My family is there [in Argentina], so it’s going to be a difficult year for me. But I’m under contract, so I’m here.”

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Henry Cavill on His Vision for How Superman Would Come Back (Exclusive)

Henry Cavill on His Vision for How Superman Would Come Back (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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Thierry Henry hopes to learn from past mistakes in new role as coach of Impact

The Montreal Impact introduced former Arsenal and France star Thierry Henry as its new head coach Monday. 

Over the 42-year-old’s illustrious 20-year playing career, Henry became the all-time leading scorer for both Arsenal and France, and led his country to a 1998 World Cup title at home, followed by a EURO 2000 win.

Henry spent four-plus seasons in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, scoring 51 goals and adding 42 assists in 122 games. He won the Supporters’ Shield in 2013 and was a four-time MLS all-star.

Henry retired in 2014 and quickly moved into coaching, beginning with the Academy of English club Arsenal, then as an assistant with Belgium’s national team. 

WATCH | Henry with only positive things to say about Impact, MLS:

42-year-old former Arsenal star Thierry Henry takes over Montreal side that missed MLS playoffs. 1:10

In 2018, Henry accepted a coaching position with French side AS Monaco, the club he joined to start his professional playing career, but was eventually dismissed in January.

“It’s about fighting all the time, this isn’t only my story it’s the story of everybody in life. You are going to fall but it’s how to get up,” said Henry.

Loves Montreal

Henry will be at the helm of his new team as of mid-January when training camp begins and takes over a Montreal squad that went 12-17-5 this year and missed the MLS Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive season.

Henry said he long ago fell in love with French-speaking Montreal, a diverse city where he hopes to have a long adventure with the Impact.

“If you take the best part of Europe and the best part of North America you will arrive in Montreal,” said Henry. 

Henry needs no reminder about his brief stint in charge of AS Monaco but the former France striker said on Monday he hopes the experience will benefit him in his new role as coach of Montreal Impact.

Henry failed to spark a change in fortunes at struggling Monaco and was sacked in January after just 103 days but is not about to let his first head coaching role define him as he gets set to take charge of a Major League Soccer club.

‘Became better player in the darkness’

“You guys always remember the good stuff, but I became a better player in the darkness,” Henry, who won a World Cup in 1998, said at his introductory news conference in Montreal.

“Hopefully that’s going to help me to become a good coach.”

During Henry’s stint as coach of French Ligue 1 side Monaco, where he also played five seasons and won the league title in 1997, the squad lost 11 of their 20 matches.

But despite Henry’s turbulent introduction to being a head coach, the Frenchman said it would be a mistake to just give up and not try to show what he has learned.

“It didn’t work out in Monaco. I can give you a lot of excuses but at the end of the day it didn’t work out and I am here as a coach of Montreal,” said Henry.

“I learned a lot there. The only mistake you can make is not learning from what happened. You have to confront it.”

Henry, who scored 51 goals in 123 appearances for France and played at four World Cups, is eager for the chance to show the world he has what it takes to be a successful coach.

With the Impact, Henry succeeds Wilmer Cabrera in the position. The team announced last month that Cabrera’s contract had expired and would not be extended.

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Impact hire former Arsenal star Thierry Henry as head coach

The Montreal Impact have named former Arsenal and France star Thierry Henry as head coach. Henry will join the club on a a two-year deal, with an option for 2022. 

Over the 42-year-old’s illustrious 20-year playing career, Henry became the all-time leading scorer for both Arsenal and France and led his country to a 1998 World Cup title at home, followed by a EURO 2000 win. 

Henry retired in 2014 and quickly moved into coaching beginning with the Academy of English club Arsenal, then as a assistant with Belgium’s national team. 

In 2018 Henry accepted a coaching position with French side AS Monaco, the club where his professional playing career began but was eventually dismissed in January.

Henry will be formally introduced on Monday and will be at the helm of the team as of mid-January when training camp begins, the Impact said in a release.

“We are extremely happy to announce the nomination of this legend of the game,” said Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore. “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.

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.”

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Amandine Henry rescues France in extra-time to knock out Brazil

As the score remained tied in extra time and the clock ticked toward a penalty kicks shootout, France’s stress kept increasing. Hosting the Women’s World Cup, Les Bleues are expected to win the title or at least come close.

“It’s not simple. We’re playing on our home turf,” coach Corinne Diacre said through a translator. “There’s a constant reminder that we have this pressure to perform.”

France survived its first knockout match and advanced to the quarterfinals when captain Amandine Henry redirected Amel Majri’s free kick for a tiebreaking goal in the 107th minute of a 2-1 victory over Brazil on Sunday night at Le Havre.


Brazil forward Marta and France’s Eugénie Le Sommer react during their round-of-sixteen match on Sunday. (Loic Venance/Getty Images)

“I didn’t remember what happened,” Henry said through a translator. “I had my teammates jumping on top of me,”

The World Cup hosts, in the quarter-finals for the third straight time, will play the defending champion United States or Spain at Paris on Friday.

“France has everything that it takes to win,” Brazil coach Vadao said through a translator. “France is absolutely prepared to win this World Cup.”

France joined England, Germany and Norway in a thus-far all-European quarter-final field.

“We know that there will be pressure, We know that there will be this burden to bear,” Diacre said. “You have to understand that when you’re playing in front of such a huge crowd, even when you’re on your home turf, it’s not something that’s easy to get your head around. I think that we can be a little bit patient. I think we can allow our players to crumble under pressure, albeit for a couple of seconds.”


Valerie Gauvin, left, of France celebrates her game-opening goal. (Srdjan Suki/EPA-EFE)

Valerie Gauvin, whose first-half goal was disallowed in a video review, put fourth-ranked France ahead in the 52nd minute before a crowd of 23,965 at Stade Oceane, but Thaisa tied the score 11 minutes later for No. 10 Brazil.

Henry scored on a left-footed shot from 7 yards, getting ahead of Monica for her 13th goal in 86 international appearances, her second goal of the tournament.

Brazil had a chance to go ahead near the end of the first extra-time period when Debinha broke in alone and beat goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi, but her shot headed toward goal was blocked in front of the line by defender Griedge Mbock Bathy.

“We weren’t at our best. … I didn’t recognize my team,” Diacre said. “There is something that is not jelling. Why? Because people are unfortunately not hitting their potential on an individual basis.”

This marked perhaps the final World Cup game for 33-year-old Brazilian star Marta, a six-time world player of the year who scored a record 17 goals in five tournaments. And it likely was the last game in the showcase for 41-year-old Formiga, who appeared in a record seven World Cups.


Thaisa of Brazil celebrates her game-equalizing goal against France. (Srdjan Suki/EPA-EFE)

“It’s very unlikely that we will see another Marta,” Vadao said. “It’s unlikely that we still see another player like her for her talent, her professionalism, her character, everything.”

France appeared to go ahead in the 23rd minute when Kadidiatou Diani lifted a cross in front of the goal. Brazil goalkeeper Barbara got her hands on the ball and Gauvin crashed into her. The ball went off Gauvin’s shoulder and into the net as both players fell to the ground. After they recovered, Canadian referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin signaled for a video review, and the goal was disallowed because of a foul.

Gauvin did score a goal that counted early in the second half. Diani sped down a flank past Brazilian defender Tamires and crossed. Gauvin slid in ahead of Leticia Santos and poked the ball past Barbara for her 12th goal in 22 international appearances, her second of the tournament.

Bouhaddi prevented an equalizer minutes later, leaping to tip Cristiane’s long-range shot off the crossbar and over.

Thaisa tied the score with her sixth goal in 82 appearances. The score at first was disallowed for an offside call on Debinha in the buildup but was reversed in a video review. Wendie Renard’s attempted clearance of Debinha’s cross went to Thaisa, who scored with a left-footed shot.

“Obviously, I know my players inside out. I know that we weren’t 100 percent today and the objective is to hit that 100 per cent for the next game,” Diacre said. “Will this happen? I don’t know. I don’t have a magic wand. I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t see into the future. But it’s something that we’re working on.”


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