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Montreal’s Schallibaum backtracks; Arnaud still captain

Jan 22, 2013, 1:44 PM EDT

San Jose Earthquakes v Montreal Impact Getty Images

Am I the only one who giggled a little when I read that new Montreal manager Marco Schallibaum needed exactly one day into preseason training camp to get himself into a little hot water with the fans?

Not that I wish the veteran Swiss manager or the Impact any ill will. But this is precisely what teams get when they are bound and determined to go fetch a foreign voice as head coach, one who has no history with the vagaries and peculiarities of Major League Soccer.

Schallibaum may turn out to be the nicest guys in the whole history of nice guys. As a coach, he might be Rinus Michels, Guus Hiddink and Sir Alex Ferguson all rolled into one for all I know.

I truly wish him nothing but the best.

But I also know that he’ll bump up against a learning curve in MLS. And some of the low hanging branches on which he’s bound to conk his noggin won’t be the kind that Montreal heals with a quick press release saying, effectively, “Whoa! That’s not really what he meant!”

Yesterday, after the team’s first practice under the man who replaced Jesse Marsch, Schallibaum indicated that Davy Arnaud’s captaincy was up for review. And as one of my pals likes to say, that went over about as well as a fart in church.

A press release went out. Arnaud (pictured, left), a fan favorite, an emotional leader and a man who wears the captaincy quite well, is likely to keep the arm band, Schallibaum now says.

Meanwhile, we’ll man the watchtower for the next possible misstep borne of cultural inexperience.

  1. georgesdr - Jan 23, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Steve Davis, I’ve read a few of your articles and find your opinions very biased towards all that is American. A Cdn club hiring a European coach, having a more significant number of European or European-bred players, a la Martins, Rivas or Bernier; these things tend to irritate you and yesterday’s miscommunication conc. Arnaud as captain or not by the head coach indicates – for you – a spiraling problem for the Impact.
    I believe that 1) perhaps you should learn French and understand better what is REALLY going on in Montreal and 2) like your cohort Twelman, get over Marsch’s release in December.
    JS, NDS and the whole coaching and technical staff have chosen to return to where the Impact come from, i.e. a blended European and N.A. approach in all that is soccer.
    Because the Impact are going against the grain w their MLS choices doesn’t mean they are right nor does it mean, should they have some bumps in their quest, that they have failed and the N.A. approach is the only one that works.
    Bull….t! For over 15 the Impact have won season championships and league titles, quite a few btw, w this blended approach of home-bred, European style players w an Italian connection, people such as yourself should pay attention w a dose of respect and much less cynicism.

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