Kirk Wilson joins Impact

Wilson, who led the Rochester Raging Rhinos in scoring last season and was their team MVP, signed a two-year deal with the club, to become official pending international clearance. He became a free agent at the end of the 2005 season.

Midfielder Mauro Biello, who in 2005 was Montreal’s team MVP for the fourth time of his career, signed a new two-year deal with the club.

The Impact also announced that head coach Nick De Santis and goalkeeper Greg Sutton had signed new three-year deals, thus extending their association with the club until the end of the 2008 season.

In Wilson and Biello, the Impact now has two of the three finalists who were up for the 2005 MVP award in the First Division of the United Soccer Leagues.

“We are truly happy to make such an addition to our line-up,” said Impact head coach Nick De Santis about Wilson. “He is a complete midfielder with great offensive and technical qualities, and with an excellent work rate. He never hesitates going to the net and he should adapt easily to our style of play. He wanted a change and he is highly motivated to be part of our organization.”

Wilson, who tallied nine goals and five assists in 1,748 minutes of play last season, finished fifth for points, goals and assists in the USL D1. The 28-year-old American was proclaimed Rochester’s Team MVP after helping the Rhinos finish second in overall standings, behind the Impact. He was selected on the First All-League Team. The 28-year-old midfielder, who was a finalist for the 1998 Rookie of the Year award when he made his USL debut with the El Paso Patriots, has played the last five seasons with Rochester.

Nick De Santis’ contract extension comes two years after he was first hired as the club’s head coach. He has since led the Impact to two titles in two years — the league championship in 2004 and the regular-season title in 2005. He was proclaimed USL D1 Coach of the Year this season, after being a finalist in that same category the previous year. In two seasons under his direction, the Impact boasts a 35-9-12 record over the regular season and is 4-1-2 in post-season play.

“I’m very happy to have this opportunity to continue what I started to build with my coaching staff in 2004,” said De Santis, age 38. “It’s great because it shows that the management has confidence in me. I’ve always had passion for the club and I want to help the team to succeed.”

“With two titles and a series of new club and league records in only two years, Nick De Santis and his coaching staff have an impeccable record,” said Impact President Joey Saputo. “Also, I believe there is no better person than Nick De Santis to lead this club when it will move into its new home, Saputo Stadium.”

As a player, De Santis was part of the Impact’s inaugural team in 1993 — his first of 10 seasons with the club — and helped Montreal win its first league championship in 1994, as well as the regular-season titles in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

The new deals with Biello and Sutton will allow the Impact to have stability at both ends of the field. Biello will be playing his 13th season with the team in 2006 and Sutton, his sixth.

Biello, 33, is the Impact’s all-time leading scorer with 65 goals and 60 assists. He was the club’s leading scorer for the fifth time of his career in 2005, his nine-goal and three-assist performance (21 points) giving him seventh place for points and fifth place for goals in the league. He was picked on the First All-League Team, his sixth career selection, which ties a USL record. Last summer, he became the first-ever player to reach the 20,000 minutes played mark with the Impact.

Sutton, 28, holds the Impact all-time goalkeeping records for career shutouts (58), victories (66), games played (118) and minutes played (11,049) over the regular season. In 2005, he was picked USL D1 Goalkeeper of the Year and on the First All-League Team for the third straight season. His goals-against average of 0.458 (11 goals in 24 games) was the best in the league and the best-ever by an Impact starting goalkeeper. Last summer, he became the first ‘keeper in club history to reach the 10,000 minutes played mark in a Montreal uniform.

The Impact also announced that the 2006 season-ticket packages are now on sale.

Each package will include 13 regular-season games and two playoff tickets. Prices are $225 in the Gold section. Tickets in the Prestige and President’s Club sections are already sold out.

Season ticket holders will have until February 15 to renew. After that date, tickets will be put on sale to the general public. All season ticket holders who renew will automatically have priority on their season tickets at the new Saputo Stadium.

For further information, please contact the Impact ticketing office at 514-328-3668 or at


Source: Patrick Vallée, Montreal Impact
Info: 514-328-3668 (ext. 27)