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Klopas becomes Impact's sixth coach in six years
by Paul Kennedy, December 19th, 2013 12:13AM

TAGS:  mls, montreal impact


[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Former Chicago Fire coach Frank Klopas was given the  Montreal Impact head coaching job, becoming its sixth coach in the last six years dating back to its days in the USL First Division. His hiring comes less than a year since Impact owner Joey Saputo said the club needed a European -- in the form of Swiss coach Marco Schaellibaum -- and was wrong in hiring an American Jesse Marsch.

Montreal Impact:
Eddie Firmani (1993)
Valerio Gazzola (1994–1997)
Paul Kitson (1998)
Tasso Koutsoukos (1998–2000)
Zoran Jankovic (2000)
Valerio Gazzola (2000–2001)
Nick DeSantis (2001)
Bob Lilley (2002–2003)
Nick DeSantis (2004-08)
John Limniatis (2008–2009)
Marc Dos Santos (2009–2011)
Nick DeSantis (2011)
Jesse Marsch (2012)
Marco Schaellibaum (2013)
Frank Klopas (2014)

There had been no previous announcement that Schaellibaum would not be returning to the club in 2014. After a fast start, the Impact limped into the playoffs -- only qualifying when Klopas' Fire lost on the last day of the season. Montreal fell to Houston, 3-0, in a play-in that featured three red cards to Impact players.

“We always said we wanted to get a European,” said Saputo in January in dumping Marsch and his American assistants Mike Sorber and Dennis Hamlett. “Getting into MLS, we were told that it’s different, that you need to have American experience, so that’s what we went for. We moved away from what we really believed."

Schaellibaum had no MLS experience and frequently ran into trouble for outbursts with referees.

Mauro Biello (assistant coach), Youssef Dahha (goalkeeper coach) and Paolo Pacione (fitness coach) will all remain part of the coaching staff. Philippe Eullaffroy will remain as academy director while overseeing all aspects related to youth development and the club’s new U-23 PDL team.

Former Impact goalie Matt Jordan was promoted from director of soccer operations to technical director and will continue to report to sporting director Nick De Santis, who has had three different coaching stints with the Impact, most recently in 2011 before its entry into MLS.

In dumping Marsch, Saputo said Montreal fans wanted a different kind of team than the one Marsch, a former Bob Bradley assistant, put together for its first season in MLS.

“We’re a very European-type city,” he said. “We’re different from Toronto and the American cities. The culture is different. Our fans didn’t accept that we brought in so many American players. They wanted to see European and South American players. When we talk about the philosophies not being the same, that’s what it was.”

Montreal was led by Italian Marco Di Vaio, who earned MLS Best XI honors with 20 goals. Di Vaio will be back in 2014 but must begin the season by serving a three-game suspension for his role in the end-of-game melee at Houston in the play-in.

Former Italian great Alessandro Nesta has retired, while fellow Italians Daniele Paponi and Andrea Pisanu, both on loan from Bologna through the end of the year, won't likely be back. Pisanu had three days ago tweeted his thanks to Saputo and Impact fans for the "fantastic life experience."

1 comment
  1. Peter Skouras
    commented on: December 19, 2013 at 8:57 p.m.
    Oh boy...Ray LaMontagne, "Trouble!"

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