Thierry Henry - visiting Red Bull Arena for RBNY vs. DC United
Courtesy of New York Red Bulls

Montreal Impact president: Thierry Henry reached out first, was our only candidate

Many clubs tout the number of candidates evaluated when they hire a new head coach. But when Thierry Henry calls you, sometimes it only takes one.

That was the message from Montreal Impact president Kevin Gilmore, discussing the appointment of Henry as their new head coach on Thursday.

"Interestingly enough, he reached out to us," Gilmore explained to Montreal 690 TSN Radio. "Olivier [Renard, Montreal's new sporting director] had joined and we were starting to compile a list and we were contacted because Thierry was interested in coming back to Major League Soccer and specifically wanted to look at Montreal. So you get that phone call, you do some homework, you go out, [we] met with him, spent a lot of time with him and came to the conclusion pretty quickly that he was our first choice."

After Henry's initial approach, the Impact evaluated the former New York Red Bulls star and decided he was the man for the job. Gilmore was asked how many candidates the club had to be the next head coach.

"That we had discussions with about the position? There was only one," Gilmore said. "Yeah, we decided to see if we could make this happen before moving on to other candidates."

Henry, of course, enjoyed an illustrious career on both sides of the Atlantic as a player, but after obtaining his coaching badges and working in the youth ranks and as an assistant for the Belgium national team, his only previous pro head coaching experience was an ill-fated stint at former club Monaco, where the Frenchman lasted just 20 games.

Gilmore said questions about Henry's rocky tenure at Monaco had been "asked, answered and [we were] comfortable with the answer."

The Impact president said Henry's vision fit neatly with the club's objectives.

"Olivier and Thierry connected immediately and basically concluded there was perfect alignment there in terms of philosophy going forward," he said. "When you find the right person and do your homework and conclude that is the person you want and that is the fit we want going forward in what we want to do, our view was let's pursue this and see if we can make it happen and why even drag this on any longer? It was important from Olivier's standpoint that he bring someone on board as he's making important decisions in the coming weeks and months, and so we put all of our focus on getting this done."

Ultimately, Gilmore argued Henry's appointment is a signal of intent by the Impact in MLS and beyond.

"We are a major league club in a big market and we need to start acting that way," he said.

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