Montreal Impact introduces star-studded coaching staff

Remi Garde isn't the first foreign coach to land on North American soil to coach in MLS.

No other coach, though, has brought with him a star-studded staff like the Frenchman has assembled and introduced to the media on Wednesday. Garde, the former head coach for three years at Lyon, has brought with him from France:

-- Assistant coach Maxence Flachez;
-- Goalkeeper coach Joel Bats; and
-- Fitness coach Robert Duverne.

Bats was France's starting goalkeeper when it won the 1984 European Championship and finished third at the 1986 World Cup. At the press conference, Bats was asked about playing Canada in its only World Cup appearance in 1986 but he said the only thing remembered from the 1-0 win was the heat in Leon, Mexico.

Bats, who often travels to the United States on vacation and dreamed of finishing his coaching career in MLS, was briefly the head coach of Paris St. Germain, but he made a name for himself in French coaching as the goalkeeper coach at Lyon, where he worked with current French national team captain Hugo Lloris, French-born Anthony Lopes, who plays for Portugal, and Gregory Coupet, who had 32 caps for France and will replace Bats as Lyon's goalkeeper coach.

Duverne has worked as a fitness coach for more than a quarter century with stints at clubs in France and England and with the French national team. He is most famous for throwing his whistle in disgust and walking away after an argument with French captain Patrice Evra -- the image that everyone remembers from the French player strike during training at the 2010 World Cup.

After retiring as a player, the 45-year-old Flachez worked for Lyon's television network and spent the last five years working in Lyon's youth system, regarded as one of the best youth systems in the world.

The big news from the introduction was that Garde said Swiss midfielder Blerim Dzemaili won’t be returning in 2018. He was on loan from Bologna in the Italian Serie A and expected to return in 2018, but he would return to Bologna -- owned for Impact owner Joey Saputo -- for what Garde described as “sporting and personal” reasons.

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