As soon as CF Montreal started eyeing Laurent Courtois, the latter became “obsessed”. Like a thunderbolt whose bursts never cease to tickle you.

“I’m not hiding it, it’s an adult dream that I’m realizing to be in front of you today,” said the new CFM head coach at the Nutrilait Center on Tuesday morning.

Courtois was accompanied by President Gabriel Gervais at the podium, overlooked by large windows overlooking the snow-covered fields of the training center. Note that sports director Olivier Renard, who led the interview process with his deputy Vassili Cremanzidis, was absent from the press conference for “personal reasons”.

“As soon as I set foot here, as soon as I started talking to people, it became an obsession for me,” added Courtois.

“As soon as I got the confirmation, I jumped on the plane,” he joked, causing laughter in the room. The plane was ready, I was waiting. This happened very recently. I’m an old, very old kid. I was obsessed, my children were obsessed, that’s all they talk to me about. […] The minute it was validated, we all jumped for joy. »

For Gabriel Gervais, the 45-year-old Frenchman “ticked all the boxes that [the club] was looking for.”

Gervais praises his “excellent vision”, his “experience with young people”, qualities which “correspond perfectly to [their] sporting project”.

“Laurent comes with his own style, his own philosophy that aligns with ours. »

On the other hand, it does not come with a coaching staff, which will have to be named later. Courtois says he wants to rely on “people in place”, notably Laurent Ciman, whose “great experience” will be able to “guide” him.

We will return to his philosophy in another text – he spoke about it at length. For now, we have to deal with the elephant in the room.

Laurent Courtois arrives from the Columbus Crew reserve team. Crew who took Wilfried Nancy from the hands of CF Montreal in 2022. The two men, two French in addition, must have discussed the circumstances leading to Nancy’s departure before Courtois accepted the Montreal offer, right?


“Actually, people would be surprised,” he said, smiling. With Wilfried, whether by text or face-to-face, we talk more about playlists of Creole songs on Spotify that we like, rather than football. »

Courtois’ parents were born on Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar.

“The worst part, he’s never going to talk about it,” says the rookie technician about Nancy. He is moving forward. He told me three things: “Be yourself, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.” He told me in English too, it was funny. That’s literally the little we discussed. We talked about a lot of things, but not football. I should have taken advantage of it…”

Relaunched a little later on the same subject, Courtois repeated the essence of the point, but in a slightly more concrete way. “I don’t care and he doesn’t care. You know what I mean ? Nobody cares. »

On the club side, do we see his hiring as a certain revenge after the events of 2022? “Not at all,” Gervais replies straight away.

All this has the merit of being clear.

Courtois’ agreement with the CFM is for two years. Does he see himself staying here in the longer term, having arrived at a club that really needs stability in this position?

“I’m here to really get involved in a project,” says the technician. I have been entrusted with a mission, I will try to develop it, I will give everything. […] Talking about the future is pretentious in football today. It’s so relative. »

Gervais states it bluntly: “It’s clear that we want to provide stability. If he can be here for 10 years, we’ll keep him for 10 years. But you have to understand that in modern soccer, there is a fairly high turnover rate in this position, for all kinds of reasons. »

In the short term, at least, the club’s goals – and Courtois’ mission – are clear.

“We want to get into the series,” confirms the president. We want to have the chance to fight for the MLS Cup. We want to win the Canadian championship and return to the CONCACAF Champions League. We are very, very confident that Laurent will help us realize our vision, as well as achieve our goals. »