It had been a long time since Samuel Piette got to call Montreal home. Born and raised in Repentigny, the Impact’s new number 6 left his natal province at the tender age of 14 to go and join French club FC Metz, in a partnership with the Quebec Soccer Federation.
“Leaving alone at 14 really helped me mature,” said Piette. “I moved to my first apartment alone at 17. It was special. I had to finish two and half years of high school at a distance. Finishing school alone brought me a lot of things; a lot of perseverance, because it was very difficult. You’re alone… you have no family, no friends there to help you. But it made me the man I am today.”
In 2012, Piette left FC Metz and moved to Germany to join Fortuna Düsseldorf. He would stay with the German club for two years and would then move to Spain, signing a one-year contract with Deportivo de La Coruña and playing with their reserves in the Tercera División. He was then loaned to Racing de Ferrol for the 2015-16 season, before joining CD Izarra in July of 2016.
“The fact that I experienced three different types of football was very positive for me,” explained Piette. “Every country I played in touched a different type of football. In France, I learned more about technique and individual soccer. In Germany, it was much more physical, almost robotic. I learned a lot about hard work and discipline. After that in Spain, I saw much more of the ball, and learned about tactics, positioning, and team work.”
These experiences helped make the Samuel Piette that Impact supporters were so quick to love, on and off the pitch.
“I’m a good mix of all three,” added Piette. “I’m not the most technical player but my work in France made me a very clean player. I’m very physical and aggressive and win a lot of balls, I would say that’s my German side. Tactically, I’m good in my positioning. I’m usually in front of the defense always trying to cover the spaces when we don’t have the ball, and I position myself well to always receive the ball. Learning tactics and angles, that was from my time in Spain.”
The result is a complete player that is very responsible on the pitch; a good trait, since his position, centre defensive midfielder, requires the utmost responsibility.
“It was always my favorite position,” said Piette. “It was back in the day at the Quebec Games, I was center attacking midfielder, but my coach saw that my game was very clean. It’s a position that’s much closer to our own goal, so it’s important to be as clean as possible because one mistake can easily cost us a goal. It’s a lot of responsibility, and I appreciated the position. I started slowly liking it more and more, and today I think it’ll be my position for the rest of my career.”
The Quebec native joined the Montreal Impact in August of 2017 and was named to the MLS Team of the Week after his first game with the bleu-blanc-noir. His integration into MLS was very smooth. For Piette, being back home is a big part of that.
“I have a sense of belonging with the community here,” said Piette. “In Europe, I was always the stranger, from a strange country. Here, I cross people on the street and they recognize you and show their appreciation, it’s a lot of fun. Playing for Montreal, it’s an honor for me. It’s the team I’ve always wanted to play for.”