CF Montréal names former Crew 2 manager Laurent Courtois 10th coach in MLS history
With the start of their preseason right around the corner, former Columbus Crew II manager, Laurent Courtois, was named CF Montréal's head coach this week, becoming the club's 10th manager in their MLS era.
After Montréal's previous head coach, Hernán Losada, was let go after he and the club mutually parted ways following a mixed 2023 campaign, the 45-year-old Courtois will look to bring Montréal back to the heights that they hit not that long ago, such as when they finished 3rd in MLS in the 2022 season under head coach Wilfried Nancy.
Given that Courtois then got to work alongside Nancy last year at the Crew, where Nancy became first team head coach ahead of the start of the season, winning an MLS Cup title in just his first campaign at the club Courtois will look to emulate some of the success that Nancy has been able to have since he got his first MLS job in 2021.
Plus, Courtois, who also coached in Lyon's academy, comes to Montréal with a strong record of his own, too.
In just two seasons as the Crew II's head coach, he's led them to two MLS Next Pro finals, winning one and losing one, making his Crew II side by far the most successful team in the league's short two-year existence. All while playing some entertaining soccer, he quickly became a fan-favourite at the club, and could've been prime to take over the club's first-team operations had they not hired Nancy the year prior.
Because of that, he attracted interest from elsewhere, leading him to this Montréal opportunity.
There, he'll have his hands full, as Montréal is looking to rebound after a tough season, one where they failed to live up to the heights of 2022, missing out on the playoffs and failing to win a trophy, which compounded with some falling-outs between Losada and some players, including star player Victor Wanyama, led the club to look in another direction.
Despite that, the expectations remain rather simple for Courtois at his new club - return to the playoffs, win trophies and continue to develop young talent, as the club has had a great record of pushing youngsters into MLS over the last few years, such as Ismaël Koné, Nathan Saliba, Jonathan Sirois and more, all while playing a fun brand of soccer.
It might seem like a lot at first glance, but seeing that was exactly what Courtois did in Columbus, which was to entertain the fans while competing for trophies, all while developing young players such as Jacen Russell-Rowe, Mo Farsi and Patrick Schulte, he'll be equipped to handle this latest challenge.
Through that, he'll look to find a bit of stability in a job that hasn't had all that much of it, seeing that he's the sixth manager at the club since 2019, with no manager having managed more than three seasons at the club since they joined MLS.
It'll be tough, as Montréal hasn't splashed out as much cash as some of the other teams around MLS, only employing one of a possible three DPs last season, but as Nancy showed in 2022, that doesn't mean it's an impossible task, one that Courtois is eager to tackle.
"I'm honoured to be joining the club and embarking on this new adventure in Montréal," Courtois said in a club statement. "I'm very proud of this responsibility."
"I'm looking forward to working with everyone at the club and contributing to the team's success. I want to continue the development work, beginning with our young players, while offering a dynamic style of play and emotions to the fans."