CF Montreal Under-23 head coach Nicolas Gagnon is a very interesting man, thinks a bit outside the box and deserves to be known.

At 36, Gagnon has been involved in soccer most of his life. In particular, he was a player he describes as fairly average who nevertheless reached the university ranks with the Vert et Or de Sherbrooke.

As a coach, he had his first experience at age 13 with the U7s of the Sacré-Coeur district, in Saint-Hyacinthe, where he grew up.

“Around this time, my parents asked me what I wanted to do in life and I said I wanted to work in soccer,” he recalls. At that time, there were hardly any people working full time in soccer. »

Constant ascent

What we notice throughout the conversation, which lasts a good hour, is that he thanks each of the people who have marked his journey. We also see that he is a student of the game. He quickly rose through the ranks of soccer in the Montérégie and the South Shore of Montreal.

“At 17, I got my provincial coaching diploma and was the youngest in Quebec for a few years,” he says without boasting.

Because you should know that Nicolas Gagnon is incredibly calm and very measured when he speaks. He says he admires clubs where the staff is chosen with care. He chooses his words with equal care. It’s a character trait.

Otmane Ibrir is one of the coaches he met. As luck would have it, he succeeded him with the reserve of CF Montreal. Ibrir was sometimes confused by his student’s maturity.

a bitten

“At 17, I was serious, probably more than now. Otmane told me that I thought like a 40-year-old. »

Nicolas Gagnon is a soccer fanatic. As proof, he started his own school at the age of 18. And in the summer, soccer took over.

“A year ago, I coached two teams in the A, I was an assistant in the AAA and an assistant in the regional selection. And I was doing four practices a week with the two A teams.”

Despite everything you are told about him, it is not necessarily reaching the highest level that stimulates him. He finds his motivation elsewhere and it is noble.

“Changing the perception we have of Quebecers is more important to me than my career as head coach,” he says.

“What I want is to try to open doors for our Quebecers, whether players or coaches, continues Nicolas Gagnon. My ambition is not to coach in MLS or in the Premier League. »

He also made several stays in Brazil which we will tell you about in another text.

A model

The Maskoutain has been with the club since the 2012 season when colleague Olivier Brett asks him if he wants to replace him as assistant to Philippe Eullaffroy with the reserve. The Academy is then in gestation.

During his career, he had the opportunity to meet Wilfried Nancy, a man for whom he has great respect, it is easily decoded in the words he chooses, with care once again.

“Wilfried is a source of human inspiration before being a coach. He has exemplary emotional control, he is basically a good person. »

Does Nancy seem friendly to you, but also thoughtful and structured during her press briefings? In any case, Nicolas Gagnon sees in him a role model.

“He has a lot of qualities that I drew inspiration from and I still have a lot to develop before I approach him. He’s been an inspiration for a long time, long before he was an assistant in the pros. »

“As humans, we all have things to work on and having someone like that help me see the tools they’re using, I think that’s helped me a lot on my journey as a coach. »