MONTREAL — Would you let your kids learn how to swim from someone that doesn’t know how to swim? The Montreal Impact think the same question applies to soccer.
The Impact announced on Tuesday its Centre d'identification et perfectionnement, French for scouting and development center, or CIP for short. With this new endeavor, the Impact aim to share knowledge from their academy with local clubs for both boys and girls. Essentially, Impact academy coaches and staff members will visit each CIP member club and bring the academy’s program to their home field.
“If there is one thing that I’ve noticed, it was that there was a lot of expertise that stayed within the gates of Centre Nutrilait,” said Impact administrative director of soccer operations, Patrick Leduc. “I think we can share that more. One of the CIP’s objectives is to be more accessible to our partners.”
“We need to establish even more bridges with Quebec’s soccer community,” he added.
The first three clubs that will join the CIP are CS Mont-Royal Outremont, AS Saint Lambert and AS St-Lazare Hudson. All three are located either on the island of Montreal or its periphery.
AS St-Lazare Husdon, to the west of Montreal, is the only club that has already started the program. Since May, the club has added training sessions from the Impact academy coaches. For president Kosta Zampanis, it’s “a game-changer.”
“As amateur clubs, we have a bit of a lack of resources,” said Zampanis. “To be able to offer this type of service to our players whether they are 7-, 8-, 9-,10-years-old — boys or girls — is definitely an added value to us.”
Zampanis said he already sees a difference; both of his U-14 clubs have gone from fourth or fifth place a year ago to second.
Leduc and the Impact said that the CIP’s realistic objective is to include 30 of the 250 local clubs within its umbrella. For now, the Impact are focused on the province of Quebec, but Leduc said that they are “not against the idea” of a multi-province platform similar to what the Vancouver Whitecaps run.
“It’s not in our short-term plans,” said Leduc. “There are 250 local clubs in Quebec, and you’ll notice that we’ve started in the Greater Montreal region for now. The academy has already been present in New Brunswick, for example, we could expand that program to create a CIP in New Brunswick. It isn’t crazy to think about it."