Since joining the Montreal Impact academy in 2010, Maxime Crepeau has quickly risen up the ranks of the club's youth system. In 2013, Crepeau signed his first professional contract as a homegrown player while also being a Canadian international with the U23 team. In 2015, he started FC Montreal's inaugural USL season as the #1 goalkeeper.
And It wouldn't be Montreal if there wasn't the oh so classical and eternal goalkeeper debate. If I haven't lost you with my Montreal Canadiens hockey reference, dear reader and/or Impact fan, then I thank you in advance for continuing.
After literally drawing wave reviews, for an excellent performance for Canada in a 1-0 loss to the United States, Crepeau has come up again on everyone's radar. The 21 year-old's ambitions have never ceased to increase as he aims to naturally become a starting goalkeeper for a professional club. This professional club just happens to be the Montreal Impact and the current starter is one named Evan Bush.
As the Impact family is back in Montreal, after the first phase of training camp in Orlando, Maxime Crepeau has finally joined the team's camp with his other national team mates, Wandrille Lefevre and Kyle Bekker. He quickly said that he '' appreciated every moment from beginning to end'' , talking about his first cap and start as a senior player under Benito Floro.
His communication is sharp and direct as he re-iterates the fact that he wants the #2 spot in the Impact's goalkeeper hierarchy. Having never shied away from expressing his ambitions, how Crepeau can achieve that is another question, the important question.
As Bush is the established starting goalkeeper, Crepeau would need to show the coaching staff that he can be trusted as the go-to guy to play all the Canadian Championship games and a few MLS games. That would mean that the club would need to make a choice between him and Kronberg.
Youssef Dahha , the Impact's goalkeeper coach, knows Crepeau very well as the young man has gone through the rigorous academy program that he helped built. Speaking to the media, Dahha keeps things simple but says something that has caught my attention.
While not committing to say that Maxime should be the #2 goalkeeper, he talks about the importance of having a competitive group of goalkeepers.
Being a goalkeeper is a delicate thing. All 3 goalkeepers need to be #1 whether it's on a tactical, technical or psychological [level].
He also says that the club doesn't want to go too fast in Crepeau's development and one should never forget, the young man is only 21.
Not many clubs need to handle an intense level of competition within its pool of goalkeepers ( ex. Courtois vs Cech at Chelsea FC). Still, expectations need to be managed and it starts with a clear communication of the club's hierarchy, that would be Mauro Biello's final decision to make, if not made already.
There should not be any doubts in the goalkeepers' minds who is #1, #2 and #3.
It permits the players to work in a clear framework in order to avoid any misunderstanding. Evan Bush is a young 29 year-old goalkeeper with only 46 MLS games under his belt. As he continues to try to establish himself among the MLS elites, his status has not been challenged and he has proven his worth in the 2015 MLS season/playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League.
In 2015, Kronberg was brought in as the veteran backup while Crepeau was getting major minutes in the USL. In 2016, choosing between both will be delicate though the financial reality of contracts will probably solidify Kronberg's current spot. He was also brought in to fulfill the role of the older keeper that would not breath down Bush's neck as he tried to establish himself as a starter last year.
Would Crepeau be a fit as the second goalkeeper in the Impact's hierarchy? Possibly as he possesses both the talent and mental toughness to take on a thankless role. But I doubt that it would help his development in the near future.
The good news is that he is surrounded by the same people that saw him grow within the club's academy and will know exactly when he'll be ready to take over.