He has been a near constant since the club's inception, but on Sunday that changed. Nick De Santis has left the Montreal Impact.
The former player, coach, sporting director and vice president leaves the club after 26 years, having started his run with the Impact all the way back in 1993 as a player. His most recent position was as the vice president of international relations and technical development.
"We would like to thank Nick for his outstanding dedication, his passion and his relentless work for the Impact over the last 26 years, as he held several functions within the club and left his mark on the history of the club," said Impact president and CEO Kevin Gilmore. "Following recent changes and the new sporting structure being implemented, Nick came to us to discuss his future with the club, and we both agreed the time was right for a change."
"It has been both an incredible privilege and an honor to be part of this organization. I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to represent this club over the years," said De Santis. "I can only wish the Impact all the best for the future, as this club continues to grow."
Nick De Santis played a prominent role throughout the history of the club, in the first and second division, from 1993 to 2019. He has the unique distinction of winning the playoff championship with the Impact in three important roles, triumphing as a player in 1994, as head coach in 2004 and as technical director in 2009. He acted as the Impact's sporting director from 2011 to 2014, and then became director of international business development and vice-president, international relations and technical development.
As the club's technical director from June 2008 to January 2011, he helped build the teams that won the Canadian Championship in 2008 and 2013. The 2008 edition went on to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League in February 2009. After only two MLS seasons, he and the team attained their first objectives, winning the Canadian Championship and making the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2013.
De Santis also coached the Impact for six seasons, from 2004 to 2008, doing so also on an interim basis in 2011, registering 76 career wins, 33 losses and 34 ties in 143 games. He was a finalist for the Coach of the Year award in his first three seasons at the helm of the Impact (2004-2006) and won the award in 2005. He led Montreal to the league championship in 2004 and to regular season titles in 2005 and 2006.
As a player, De Santis played 219 career games in 10 seasons with the Impact, from 1993 to 1998 and from 2000 to 2003. He sits in third place in regular season team history for games started (210) and minutes (18,303), fifth for games played and game-winning goals (11), sixth for most assists (28) and in seventh for goals scored (21). He helped the Impact win the league championship in 1994 and three regular season championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997