One of MLS's all-time greats has returned to this side of the Atlantic.
The Montreal Impact announced Thursday that the club has hired Thierry Henry as their new head coach. Henry signed a two-year deal, with an option for 2022.
“It’s an honor to coach the Montreal Impact and return to MLS,” said Thierry Henry, who holds a UEFA Pro license. “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.”
After one of the most decorated careers in the history of professional soccer, including four-and-a-half seasons in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, the 42-year-old began his coaching career in the academy of English club Arsenal in February 2015.
In August of 2016, Henry became assistant coach of the Belgian national team alongside Roberto Martinez and he helped the Red Devils advance to the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, eventually finishing third after defeating England in the third-place match.
In October 2018 he got his first opportunity as a head coach of a club team, replacing Leonardo Jardim at Ligue 1 club Monaco, where he started his professional career as a player. After an unsuccessful three-month spell, he was let go after 20 matches.
The opportunity with the Impact will represent Henry's return as head coach. He succeeds Wilmer Cabrera, who in turn replaced Remi Garde in August 2019 after a run of one win in eight matches. Garde, a Frenchman like Henry, had been in charge of the Impact since the 2018 season, compiling a 24W-29L-8D record including 10W-13L-4D in 2019. Cabrera helped the Impact win the Canadian Championship which automatically qualified the club to the Concacaf Champions League.
“We are extremely happy to announce the nomination of this legend of the game,” said Montreal Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore in a statement. “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.”
Henry arrived in MLS as a player in 2013, starring for the New York Red Bulls and scoring 51 goals with 42 assists in 122 games (118 starts). He notably won the Supporters’ Shield in 2013, he was chosen three times on the league’s Best XI, and he was selected to play in the MLS All-Star game four times.
A Ballon d’Or finalist in 2003 and 2006 and FIFA World Player of the Year finalist in 2003 and 2004, he climbed to the top of Arsenal’s goalscoring charts with 228 goals in all competitions, where he won two Premier League championships, three FA Cups, while also taking part in a UEFA Champions League final. With FC Barcelona, he won La Liga in 2009 and 2010, as well as winning the UEFA Champions League, the Copa Del Rey and the FIFA Club World Cup.
On the international scene, he played in four FIFA World Cups with the French national team (1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010), winning the tournament in 1998, in France. He also won the Euro in 2000. He is France’s all-time leading scorer with 51 goals in 123 games, in front of Michel Platini.