There is a bit of the Impact in this dream course for Canada in World Cup qualifying. On the field, there is Samuel Piette, but on the sidelines, there is Mauro Biello, who has long been the soul of the Montreal eleven.
For nearly four years, Biello has been one of instructor John Herdman’s assistants. The former player and coach of the Impact (now called CF Montreal) is therefore at the heart of the Canadiens’ progression on the world stage.
Biello was unavailable to reporters on Sunday. Only Herdman addressed the media after the win over the United States. But Le Journal spoke to someone who knows the former midfielder very well: his brother-in-law – and ex-teammate – Nick De Santis.
Photo QMI Agency, Jocelyn Malette
Nick De Santis – Former Impact
The latter had just exchanged a series of text messages with his friend when he took the call from the Newspaper.
“He is extremely happy! launched De Santis. We’re all proud of him. We have a group of former Impact players and coaches and we talk to each other every day. [dimanche], we sent messages from everywhere. We are all proud that Mauro Biello is part of this team which gives us great emotions. »
De Santis explains that the World Cup has always been a dream for his boyfriend, even when he was a player. “He is someone who deserves it, because he has always been humble and honest towards the sport. He gave a lot so that soccer continues to grow, ”he pointed out.
The 54-year-old believes one of Biello’s strengths on the Canadian team is his experience working with talented players. In his role with the Impact, he rubbed shoulders with some big names: Alessandro Nesta, Ignacio Piatti and of course, Didier Drogba.
“John Herdman hasn’t coached much in professional soccer. He did a great job with the Canadian women’s team. When he was named head coach [chez les hommes]he went looking for pieces that could support him, ”explained the man who was notably a midfielder, coach and sports director for the Montreal club.
“Mauro is also a good tactician. He knows the North American players very well. I think it was a very positive addition for the national team. »
A team “on mission”
Nick De Santis left the Impact more than two years ago. But he remains involved in soccer, which has been an integral part of his life for three decades. Today, he coaches the Saint-Laurent team in Montreal, for which his 11-year-old son plays. He also mentors young players and their families.
Photo Chantal Poirier
Mauro Biello – Deputy
And he is happily following Canada’s journey in qualifying for Qatar. De Santis is delighted with the progress made in recent years. But also to see so many new fans following a soccer game involving the national team on a Sunday afternoon in January.
” [L’équipe canadienne] gives a lot of credibility to soccer in the country, he said. They have built a technical staff with John Herdman and with the other coaches around him. This staff has done a huge job to prepare for qualifying. »
To explain the emergence of Canada in recent months, De Santis of course mentions the presence of talented players within the delegation. But this successful shutout on Sunday despite the absence of Alphonso Davies and captain Atiba Hutchinson, in particular, shows according to him “a team capable of gritting their teeth”.
“It shows the tenacity of this group. They are on a mission to qualify and it’s almost in the pocket, ”he said.
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