February 28th marked the annual members assembly for the 2018 season. Four days away from the first game of the season Saputo, Garde and Legendre addressed the members of the Impact.
Message from the Owner
Saputo started off by saying that the new acquisitions have brought a new energy is in the dressing room. Saputo then explained that the growth of the club will be highly dependent of the support of businessmen, politicians and supporters; comparing the Impact’s situation to that of Atlanta, Seattle and Kansas City. He did although explain that fans will need to be patient with the club more than ever.
The Words from the Coach
After Saputo said his part Garde took to the podium to explain his plan going into his first season. Speaking as eloquently as always Garde explained that in reference to recruitment and finding new players he is looking for a specific style of play and personality that matches his plan. He wants players that are ready to embark the challenge of the MLS and when speaking of European players he wants to ensure that they really want to make the move to North America.
Garde then went on to speak of the academy players. Upon his arrival with the club he explained that he wanted the academy players to have a chance to prove themselves. He wants them to keep working with the first team and explained that he prefers that they train here instead of Bologna (which was done on a few occasions in the past). He believes in his abilities to develop the players to the MLS caliber.
In continuation, Garde covered the intentions of the team for the Canadian Championship. He explained that they will be taking it very seriously. He believes that it is an important challenge and that the CONCACAF Champions League is something he wants to attain.
An interesting little point he did make was the similarities he sees in the MLS with the playing style found in the Premiere League; it is a physical league with many duels.
Events and Changes Explained by Legendre
Finally, Richard Legendre took the stage and explained the events that will happen this season:
- March 14th: Fundraiser for Impact Foundation
- March 17th: Wall of Fame “Mur de la Renommée” (instead of retiring jerseys the Impact will honor players with the wall of fame)
- April 21st: 25 statues around the stadium will be revealed to honor the 25th anniversary
- May 21st: In 1993 the Impact played their first game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies and will celebrate their debut as a club and do an hommage to the 4 championships they’ve collected over the years.
- June 13th: The Impact will celebrate local talent
- July 14th: The Impact will celebrate international talent
Furthermore, Patrice Bernier was named the ambassador for the 25th anniversary season. Legendre then got into a more nitty gritty topic and explained that an extension to the stadium is not in the plans as of right now the priority is filling the seats they already have. Some other questions were asked (pre-selected by the club) but were not really answered.
Post assembly the players answered some questions the most notable answers are those on Diallo’s subject. The players (Samuel Piette and Evan Bush) see the lost of their teammate as substantial as the fans have but they are optimistic in the solutions that management are working towards.