The Impact launches its sport-études program

A total of 81 players from across the province of Quebec will make up the first edition of the sport-études program, the first of its kind in Canada.

It’s the first time a professional club partners with a school by offering youngsters the opportunity to evolve in a professional club environment. The fee for the first two years is minimal and then the third school year is free.

“This is an extraordinary day that will forever mark the history of this club, as well as the young players who will be joining us,” declared Impact director of player development Philippe Eullaffroy. “We’re kicking off this adventure of developing these young players with plenty of enthusiasm, ambition and humility. We’re also reinforcing the foundation of our club, in an effort to make this a major hub for soccer in North America.”

On November 17, 2010, the Impact unveiled its new development structure with the addition of two new teams, U16 and U18, which joined the club’s U21 team. The U16 and U18 teams will play within the US Soccer Development Academy, while the U21 team will once again play in the Canadian Soccer League.

The Academy's program will unfold over a 12-month cycle, according to the club’s philosophy, values and principles of play. The program will allow student-athletes to benefit from a schedule that is balanced between training (daily at the Marie-Victorin Sports Complex) and competition, all in an environment where education remains the number one priority.

A total of 64 players will study at Édouard-Montpetit High School, 10 will attend the English-language Lester B. Pearson High School, while seven others will stay at their respective schools to complete secondary 5.

Under the supervision of Philippe Eullaffroy, who is also the head coach of the U21 team, the players will be trained by Olivier Brett (U21 assistant coach), Wilfried Nancy (U18 head coach), Jason DiTullio (U16 head coach), Eduardo Sebrango (responsible for secondary 2 players, U16 assistant coach and Academy forwards coach), Antoine Guldner (responsible for secondary 1 players as well mental preparation), Owen Braun (Academy goalkeeper coach) and Yannick Girard (responsible for physical preparation).

The Academy staff is rounded out by Jean-Yves Grenouillat (scout), Louis-Philippe Grenier (family-relations counsellor) and Julie Bertrand (head therapist).

More than 700 players took part in a five-day tryout camp, in Montreal and Quebec, with 180 taking part in the final camp this past January.

The next tryouts for the Under-21 team will take place on November 5 and 6, 2011, at Marie-Victorin Sports Complex, while the sport-études tryouts will take place on January 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, 2012, also at Marie-Victorin Sports Complex.