One of the key components to the Crew building themselves into a champion, is the success they’ve had developing young players in their system. Crew 2 certainly provided some valuable members to 2023 MLS Cup winners. That developmental system has suffered a major blow with the loss of the guy responsible for bringing along those prospects.
According to multiple reports, Crew 2 head coach Laurent Courtois is heading to FC Montreal as their new head coach. Although he’s been an invaluable member of the Crew organization since 2019, a lot of fans have probably never heard of him but have seen the product of his work. Courtois led Crew 2 to a MLS NEXT Pro title in 2022 and runner-up finish this past season. He’s responsible for producing two of the Crew’s starters in the MLS Cup final (Patrick Schulte and Mo Farsi), along with Will Sands, Sean Zawadzki, and Jacen Russell-Rowe.
It is not a stretch to say Courtois’ exit leaves a very large hole in an important part of the Crew organization. President and GM Tim Bezbatchenko now has a very big decision facing him. Considering how much talent has been developed by Crew 2, he needs to make sure to put someone in place who will keep that pipeline flowing. What better way to do that than to elevate someone who coached under Courtois and knows the system. Crew 2 assistant Kobie Johnson may just be the perfect fit. He spent ten years heading up the Red Bulls Academy before joining the Crew organization, so he has head coaching experience. I’ll be surprised if Bezbatchenko goes outside the organization to fill this position.
Courtois takes over a Montreal club who was knocked from a playoff spot by the Crew on the final day of the regular season. He will make his return to Columbus when Montreal visits Lower.com Field on April 27th.