COLUMBUS, Ohio Exactly 368 days ago, Wilfried Nancy turned the page on an important chapter in his career. His departure from CF Montreal was confirmed amid turmoil, and he joined the Columbus Crew to open a new chapter in his career and life, following his arrival in Montreal in 2005.
When Nancy was introduced to the Columbus media, Crew athletic director Tim Bezbatchenko praised Nancy’s innovative qualities and said he had full confidence in the vision Nancy presented.
Twelve months later, the decision proved to be the best: the Crew were crowned MLS Cup champions with a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles FC on Saturday night.
“I learned to stick to the vision and trust the process. It was difficult for me and my staff emotionally. We lost a lot of points this year, but I know we can win games. The important thing is to trust the process. This is why my team has improved so much,” Nancy said proudly in a press briefing after her victory.
Nancy didn’t shy away from her answers on Saturday night. He believed in his vision and did not deviate from the route he saw for his team, thanks also to the qualities of his group of players.
“I have no words. My players are brave. What pride when you have a plan in mind, but you don’t have all the tools, Nancy told our colleague Antonin Besner. It’s always trial and error. But we have the same vision, and we remain strong even though it is difficult. Now, I’m super proud because yes, we won, but what interests me is how we won. We played our soccer, but we were very good mentally and defensively. I am so proud of this, I have no words.
The Montreal experience ended in chaos after more than 10 years in the organization; leaving Nancy was still a big decision for Nancy and her family.
“My wife, my children…” Nancy answered emotionally when asked what was going through her mind a few seconds after the victory. “This is a life choice because we are a team. My whole life has been a happy coincidence because I have always believed in it. My wife and I are trying to educate our children about it. My family , my mother, my relatives, my mother-in-law and my in-laws are unbelievable.
By guiding the Crew to the title on Saturday night, Nancy became the first black coach to lift the MLS Cup. If it is a feat of arms that will contribute to the development of this issue, Nancy admits that it is still difficult for her to be happy about it.
“I am very proud. There is a lot of work behind this achievement. Have courage. At the same time, I’m not happy because it’s not normal. I’m proud to be the first black coach, but I’m not happy. This is something that needs to change. I know MLS is trying to do this, but it’s not an MLS issue. It’s everywhere.
Nancy will certainly spend the next few days celebrating, but she remembers that she will always look for improvement in the coming seasons.
“In my life, I see it this way: we want to compete every time. That’s why I will compete next year. The idea is to become a better coach because I know it will be more difficult. I always want to get better, like my players. I don’t know if we will win or not, but I know my staff and I will do everything to help the players get better. Then we will see if can win.