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Four Academy players promoted to Impact first team

The Montreal Impact announced on Friday that four players from its Academy, midfielders Jean-Aniel Assi, Sean Rea, Nathan-Dylan Saliba, and Rida Zouhir, have all signed their first professional contract as Homegrown players for the 2021 season. Each agreement is assorted with a three-year option. 

The contracts come into effect immediately, which will allow them to be available for the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal second leg against CD Olimpia, on December 15 at 8pm EST (RDS, TSN, 98.5 FM, TSN 690), in Orlando, Florida. ​

“Even though the season was quite disrupted, we continued to follow the development of our young players,” said Montreal Impact sporting director Olivier Renard. “We are very happy to be able to give these four talents from our Academy the opportunity to join the first team.” 

Assi is a 16-year-old winger who played for Royal Beauport before joining the club in 2017. More recently, he was part of the Academy's U23 group and participated in the 2020 first team training camp. He was named on the Concacaf U15 tournament All-Star XI in 2019. Full stats in US Soccer Development Academy. 

Saliba, 16, played for CS Longueuil before joining the Academy in 2017. He also played with the Impact's U23 team. He was selected to represent Canada at the Danone Nations Cup in 2016, in Paris. Most recently, he was a member of the U15 national team at the Concacaf tournament in 2019. Full stats in US Soccer Development Academy

Rea, an 18-year-old Laval native, was at the Academy since 2014, having joined from St-Léonard, and played with the U23 group. He represented Canada in the U17 World Cup in Brazil, in 2019. Full statistics in US Soccer Development Academy. 

Zouhir, a 17-year-old Montrealer, is part of the club's Academy since 2016. He played for the U17 team in 2019, then joined the U23 squad last summer. He represented the Braves D’Ahuntsic before joining the club. Full statistics in US Soccer Development Academy. 

“These young players have come a long way in the past year and have the potential to join the pros,” said Montreal Impact Academy director Patrick Leduc. “Jean is a very fast winger with impressive athletic qualities. In addition to having a lot of speed allowing him to dribble past his defender on a one-v-one situation, he also has a good shot. Nathan-Dylan can play any position in the midfield. He’s shown a very steady progression since joining the Academy. A complete player, he is an athlete capable of adapting to every situation, thanks to his winning mentality. Sean is creative and can be an attacking spark. Able to make the last pass, he also has the ability to dribble. He’s faced adversity in the past year and has responded in an exemplary manner. Finally, Rida has the character and personality to make his mark in the midfield. Good with both feet, he asserts himself with his professional attitude.” 

Transaction: Midfielders Jean-Aniel Assi, Sean Rea, Nathan-Dylan Saliba, and Rida Zouhir have signed their first professional contracts as Homegrown players for the 2021 season. Each agreement is assorted with a three-year option.  

JEAN-ANIEL ASSI 
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’10’’
Weight: 74.4 kg (164 lbs)
Date of birth: August 12, 2004
Place of birth: Adzopé, Ivory Coast
Place of residence: Blainville, Canada
Last team: Impact U23
Date of acquisition: December 4, 2020

SEAN REA 
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’5’’
Weight: 62.8 kg (138 lbs)
Date of birth: May 15, 2002
Place of birth: Montreal, Canada
Place of residence: Laval, Canada
Last team: Impact U23
Date of acquisition: December 4, 2020

NATHAN-DYLAN SALIBA 
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’8’’
Weight: 71.3 kg (157 lbs)
Date of birth: February 7, 2004
Place of birth:  Longueuil, Canada
Place of residence: Longueuil, Canada
Last team: Impact U23
Date of acquisition: December 4, 2020

RIDA ZOUHIR 
Position: Midfielder
Height: 5’10’’
Weight: 72.8 kg (160 lbs)
Date of birth: November 23, 2003
Place of birth: Montreal, Canada
Place of residence: Montreal, Canada
Last team: Impact U23
Date of acquisition: December 4, 2020 

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