French legend Thierry Henry has stepped down as head coach of CF Montreal due to family reasons, the club announced on Thursday.
Henry spent one season as head coach of the Major League Soccer (MLS) team after taking over ahead of the 2020 campaign. He had an 8-13-2 record in MLS, guiding his club to the playoffs last season.
“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” Henry said in a club statement. “Last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally. Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children. Unfortunately due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the U.S. again next season will be no different.”
“The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave CF Montreal,” the 43-year-old added.
The announcement came on the eve of the team’s training camp. Players will report next Monday for a seven-day quarantine period, medical exams and COVID-19 testing prior to the start of team training on March 8. The MLS regular season kicks off on April 17.
“Thierry’s departure is unfortunate because the team is very promising, but he informed me of his desire to be back with his family because the situation was and remains very difficult for both him and his family,” said sporting director Olivier Renard.
“I want to thank him, first on a human level because he led the players by example last year by being away from his family, but also from a sporting level and for what we have built together since his arrival. We wanted to elevate this club and we are on the right track. The process of finding a new head coach is already underway and I will be looking for someone who is aligned with the philosophy we have implemented.”
After one of the most decorated careers in the history of professional soccer, including four-and-a-half seasons in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, Henry began his coaching career in the academy of English club Arsenal in February 2015. In August of 2016, Henry became assistant coach of the Belgian national team. Ahead of the job in Montreal, he also coached French club Monaco.