The Montreal Impact have appointed Frenchman Remi Garde as the fifth head coach in their MLS history, the team announced Wednesday.
A veteran of the English Premier League and France's Ligue 1 as both a player and a manager, Garde was presented to reporters in a news conference at the Impact's Nutrilait Training Facility on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are very happy and proud that Remi Garde is joining the Montreal Impact,” Montreal Impact president Joey Saputo said in a team statement. “As player, assistant coach and head coach, he excelled by demonstrating his qualities as a leader and his knowledge of the game.
“His vision and his experience, also in the development of young players, will allow us to continue to improve our methods and work process at the Academy. It really is a fresh start on many levels.”
Garde, 51, most recently managed Aston Villa in the English Premier League. He took over the struggling club in November 2015 but left the Villans by mutual consent after 20 games in charge in March 2016.
Prior to his time in England, Garde served as manager of Ligue 1 powerhouse Olympique Lyonnais. During his three-year tenure at Lyon from 2011-2014 he led the club to a Coupe de France title. Their best league finish came in the 2012-13 season, when they finished third. He left the team following the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, citing personal and family reasons.
Prior to his time as head coach at Lyon, Garde worked as an assistant for the club during their run as one of the dominant teams in French soccer in the 2000s, and was also a pundit on French television. He has also worked extensively with Lyon's academy and has had a hand in the development of a number of prominent French internationals including Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona).
As a player, Garde spent the majority of his career at Lyon after coming up through their academy before moving on to Strasbourg and finally to England, where he spent three seasons with Arsenal and helped the club to the 1997-98 Premier League title. He also made six appearances for the French national team and was a member of Les Bleus’ squad at Euro 1992.
The Impact are coming off an 11-17-6 finish in the 2017 regular season that saw them finish ninth in the Eastern Conference. Following the conclusion of the campaign, the team parted ways with club legend Mauro Biello after three years.