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Football: Wilfried Nancy, the little-known French coach who led Columbus to the MLS title

2023-12-10T10:00:08.205Z

Highlights: Wilfried Nancy is the first black coach to win an MLS title. The 46-year-old French coach is currently the only one at the helm of a franchise. The Columbus Crew beat Los Angeles FC 2-1 in the final on Saturday night. This is the third trophy for the team, and the first with Nancy in charge. The French coach was Thierry Henry's assistant in Montreal before taking charge of the first team in 2021, then joined Columbus at the end of 2022.


In the final of the North American championship, Columbus Crew defeated Los Angeles FC (2-1) on Saturday night. This is the third trophy for the team


The Columbus Crew, coached by Frenchman Wilfried Nancy, won the North American Soccer (MLS) championship on Saturday at home, beating defending champions Los Angeles FC 2-1 in the final. A penalty from Cucho Hernandez (33′) and a goal from Yaw Yeboah (37′) crowned the Ohio players, despite the reduction of the score by former Saint-Etienne player Denis Bouanga (74′).

The Columbus Crew won their third league trophy after 2008 and 2020, the first with their 46-year-old French coach Wilfried Nancy. On Saturday, he became the first black coach to win an MLS title. Although several black coaches have previously officiated in MLS, including French soccer stars Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, Wilfried Nancy is currently the only one at the helm of a franchise.

Historic.

Wilfried Nancy is the first Black head coach to win MLS Cup. 👏 pic.twitter.com/OFKjgBrx9l

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 10, 2023

"I'm very proud of that. Because it rewards a lot of hard work, and a lot of courage," he replied, when asked about this state of affairs. "But I'm not happy at the same time. Because it's not normal. I'm proud to be a representative, to be the only black person. But I'm not happy about it. This is something that needs to change. I know MLS is trying. It's not just a problem in MLS. »

"Impossible is only an opinion"

The North American championship has taken several initiatives to improve opportunities for Black coaches, which Nancy applauded. The 46-year-old, who has played in France's lower divisions, has spent his entire coaching career in North America since 2005. After being Thierry Henry's assistant in Montreal, he took charge of the first team in 2021, then joined Columbus at the end of 2022.

"After the final whistle I was very emotional, I thought about those things (his unusual journey). My family came here for this project, it's a life project," he added. "My players have grown as players and as people. At the beginning I told them impossible is only an opinion, please have fun and we will grow together. It's unbelievable," he said.

🗣️ "Impossible is an opinion." — Wilfried Nancy.@ColumbusCrew // #MLSCup pres. by Audi pic.twitter.com/kBV8n35D4h

— Major League Soccer (@MLS) December 9, 2023

In a packed stadium with 20,802 people and a magnificent atmosphere, with chants started more than two hours before kick-off, the Columbus Crew showed their qualities as a possession team, against Los Angeles' counterattacks.

Source: leparis

All sports articles on 2023-12-10

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