Montreal Impact Promotes David Choiniere to the First Team
19 year-old Becomes First FC Montreal Player to Sign Pro Deal with MLS Side
It was through a screen that FC Montreal midfielder David Choinière found out he would be the first player from the Impact United Soccer League affiliate to sign with the bleu-blanc-noir.
Choinière was in Dallas, Texas to play in the United States Soccer Development Academy playoffs with the Impact’s under-18 side. He got a FaceTime alert on his phone.
Facing him on screen were Montreal Impact head coach Mauro Biello, technical director Adam Braz, and FC Montreal head coach Philippe Eullaffroy ready to break the historic news.
They told me that it was the right moment for me to train with the pros. – David Choinière
“We wanted to speak with him and he was with the u-18 team and I think he was happy,” said Biello. “This is a kid that has grown up in the academy and it was a big moment for him, this meant a lot to him.”
“They told me that it was the right moment for me to train with the pros,” said Choinière. “That I have a lot to learn and to work on to get to be a good player with the first team so they thought it was the best time to sign my contract.”
Despite knowing, he made the work to get there, Choinière remained a little surprised given he only played a few months with FC Montreal in the 2016 USL season.
“Surprised? Maybe a little but I’m happy to have got there,” said Choinière. “I made all the categories with the Impact Academy, I was training regularly with the pros so I got there step by step and I’m really happy.”
For Braz, it wasn’t about the last few months. Choinière is not only the first FC Montreal player to have signed a Major League Soccer homegrown contract, but he is also the first player that has been with the Impact academy since it was established in 2010.
He also believes that the time was now for Choinière to get to the next level. Instead of waiting six months to sign him at the end of the USL season, Braz chose to release defender Maxim Tissot in order to free up a roster spot for the 19 year old.
“I think for us it was more about accelerating his development and putting him in a first team environment as soon as possible rather than waiting six months,” said Braz. “I think it’s going to help him out and going into preseason next year he’s going to be much more ready and comfortable to make a put and a case for himself.”
Freshly arrived in Montreal from the southern United States, Choinière swapped his old number 67 for a brand new number 17, heading to his first practice as a member of the Impact first team Wednesday morning.
For Biello, Choinière now has the best of both worlds to help him develop as a player. The head coach and technical staff plan to continue making him play with FC Montreal.
“Getting the minutes and playing time of the USL but also training every day battling against a Laurent Ciman or a [Hassoun] Camara or a [Victor] Cabrera,” said Biello. “This is how you make your bones as a young player and and we want him in this environment so that next year when we go into preseason he’s experienced six months of what it is to be a pro.”
Braz added that no pressure will be placed on Choiniere. All he has to do is work his way towards playing a few minutes with the team and slowly adding to this. A system of loans back to FC Montreal, previously used with players such as Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé, Maxime Crépeau and Anthony Jackson-Hamel, is expected.
“That’s the better way to look at things,” said Braz. “Rather than setting a target of ‘he must play x amount of minutes by next year.’”
The signing is also great news for the Impact academy who sees its first player that grew through each level, sign with the first team. It is a memorable moment for the growing Impact Academy going forward according to Braz.
“I think everyone should be conscious that the academy is young, it’s only been four or five years that it has been in existence,” said Braz. “Now we are starting to see young players that were with us since the beginning when they were 12,13,14 years old, and in the next five years we will be able to better judge the work of the academy.”
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