Thierry Henry resigns as coach of Montreal in MLS

MONTREAL (AP) — Thierry Henry has resigned as coach of Montreal in Major League Soccer after one season on Thursday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” Henry said in a statement. “The 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 for several months, (this year) 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.”

The 43-year-old former World Cup champion with France became Montreal’s coach in November 2019. His team had eight wins, 13 losses and two draws in the pandemic-shortened season, finishing in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

Montreal lost to New England 2-1 in the postseason play-in round, its first playoff appearance since 2016.

“We had an impossible year together and to make the playoffs with this group of people is an experience that I will never forget,” Henry said.

Montreal players report Monday for a seven-day quarantine period, medical tests and COVID-19 testing prior to the start of training March 8. The season starts April 17.

“Thierry’s departure is unfortunate and premature because this was 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,” Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said. “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.”

Henry starred for Arsenal from 1998-2007 and returned in 2012 during a career that also included time with Monaco (1994-99), Juventus (1999), Barcelona (2007-10) and the New York Red Bulls (2010-14). He was an assistant coach with the Belgian national team (2016-18) before coaching Monaco (2018-19) and Montreal.

He scored 51 goals in 123 international appearances.

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