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Columbus Crew announces new coach from CF Montreal

Wilfried Nancy AP photo
Chris Szagola/AP
FR170982 AP
CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy looks on during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Philadelphia Union, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Chester, Pa. The match ends in a 1-1 tie. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Columbus Crew has hired a new coach. Wilfried Nancy, who led the CF Montreal team this year, will take over. The Frenchman and 2022 MLS Coach of the Year finalist, says Columbus made a big impression when he visited.

"When I came the first time, here in the stadium, when I stepped on the field, I had goosebumps, simple as that. Why? Because I come from Europe also and this stadium is like, it's better."

Nancy, 45, says he brings passion for soccer and that he wants to develop players with physical and mental intensity.

"We want to be able to be an aggressive team, to be able to win the ball back as soon as possible, to be difficult to play against,” says Nancy. “For me this is a key point."

Crew President and General Manager, Tim Bezbatchenko says Nancy also offers compassion to players.

"From the very beginning, like I said that we identified someone like Will with his background in player development who understands the player, understands that they're going to have flaws and weaknesses, but let's focus on their strengths,” says Bezbatchenko. “Let's hire based on strengths. Let's bring them along and then work on other elements of their game."

Bezbatchcenko says Nancy has already made decisions about potential players.

"He's detail oriented in the way he looks at the game, his approach,” says Bezbatchenko. “We've already started talking about players and he's turned down I think two of the three players I've already presented because they're not exactly a fit for how he sees the game. And that's what I like about that is he's, he's very comfortable in saying no."

The Crew's former coach for four years, Caleb Porter, was fired after missing the MLS playoffs for the second year in a row.

Debbie Holmes began her career in broadcasting in Columbus after graduating from The Ohio State University. She left the Buckeye state to pursue a career in television news and worked as a reporter and anchor in Moline, Illinois and Memphis, Tennessee.