The obvious choice

Di Tullio’s appointment came naturally for head coach Wilfried Nancy

There is no place Jason Di Tullio would rather be right now.

When Wilfried Nancy was named head coach just a few weeks ago, we quickly learned that the technical staff would remain the same as last year’s, with the addition of former centre-back Laurent Ciman. When asked whether he would look to make another addition to his staff, Nancy said that only time will tell. Finally, the Club announced that the U23 team head coach Jason Di Tullio would be undertaking his former position as assistant coach to the first team, a role he held during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

For Nancy, it was the obvious move, the two having started their journey with the first team together, six years ago.

“I asked myself whether I was going to take on another assistant coach or not, but I quickly realized that the way I wanted things to work required me to have one,” said head coach Wilfried Nancy. “I wanted to work with someone that knew me, knew the way I worked, and was familiar with my values and with the Club itself.”

At this point, Di Tullio’s name came into the conversation naturally. The former player is part of the Club’s fabric, and was already in the Academy, where he led the U23 team after having served as head coach for the Academy’s U17 team.

“One of the reasons I accepted the role is because Wilfried and I see the game the same way,” explained assistant coach Jason Di Tullio. “But even more than that, it’s about having similar values, on and off the field. For me, football is about intensity, emotion. You need to love what you do. If we do love it and we apply that intensity, it’s easier to understand our identity. That’s the foundation.”

Di Tullio was joined by the team in Florida yesterday, the newly appointed assistant coach having gone to Mexico to represent Canada at the Olympic qualifying tournament with four CF Montréal players in Zorhan Bassong, James Pantemis, Zachary Brault-Guillard and Ballou Tabla. The Reds eventually fell in the semi-finals in a highly contested match against Concacaf favourites Mexico, falling just short of qualifying to the Olympics for the very first time.

Di Tullio served as assistant coach alongside the Club’s former head coach, Mauro Biello, who now leads Canada’s U23 squad.

I had the opportunity to see some of our new players, and also Ballou, whom I know, and James, with whom I’ve already worked,” added Di Tullio. “It helps. They saw what type of a person I am. I’m always honest in everything I do and that will help them understand the way I work.”

The Club will play two friendly games this week, the first coming on April 8 against Tormenta FC, followed by a match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on April 11 at 6pm. Both games will be closed to the public and will not be broadcast, as it will give this new coaching staff a first look at their team in a competitive setting.

CF Montréal will then begin its season on April 17, at 1pm, at Inter Miami CF Stadium against Toronto FC (TVA, TVA Sports, TSN, CTV, 91.9 Sports and TSN 690).