Eullaffroy: "We learned a lot from this trip"
A week after leading his team to a very first participation in the CSL final, Academy director and Impact U21 head coach was asked to pack his bags and join the first team for its postseason tour in Italy.
However, it wasn't Eullaffroy's first overseasons trip this year.
In August, the former head coach of the McGill Redmen took his troops over to France for a similar training tour, including games against some of the reserve teams from France’s top clubs, going undefeated in three games. You could say that he knows firsthand the benefits of this type if experience.
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"A trip like this brings a lot of knowledge," explained Eullaffroy. "It’s not every day that you get to travel to a country where soccer is so important and play against top flight teams like Bologna and Fiorentina."
But this time, his responsibilities were in more of a supportive role as an assistant to interim head coach Mauro Biello alongside Mike Sorber and Denis Hamlett, added to his duties as mentor to the five Academy players that made the trip.
"My responsibilities were to assist Mauro (Biello) in whatever way he needed me to, in any of the aspects an assistant coach might take part," he said. "Whether it was coaching players, conducting drills or doing anything that would have helped Mauro in the best way possible to be as prepared as possible for the game."
A learning experience
Despite Eullaffroy’s vast experience behind the bench, he didn’t take this trip for granted as he, like many of his young players, learned from it.
“For me, I got to see how things were done on the pro side with the Montreal Impact. It gave me a chance to familiarize myself with the players we have here, the way that Biello and the coaching staff run practices and games…so it was very instructive for me.”
And the five Academy players did not only learn from this opportunity, but it also served as a bit of a reward for all the hard work they’ve done.
“It’s a symbolic reward for the five players that made the trip and it was a way to further validate the work that we have done,” he explained.
Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, defender Maxim Tissot, midfielders Zakaria Messoudi and Wandrille Lefevre, along with forward Mircea Ilcu have all been standouts in the Academy for a while now.
“These five players were the logical choice to have taken part in the trip. They have all had experience with the pro team, whether in reserve games or last season in second division, and they have all done well. It was part of their natural progression and it was a chance to insert the Academy players into the first team, to see how it’s done at the pro level and see if they are close. It gave the coaching staff a lot of answers.”
Let’s hope they got all the right ones.