Player to Player with Sam Piette

RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL ‘SAM’: PIETTE’S JOURNEY BACK TO MONTREAL


To understand just how much grit and determination it takes to reach the top of the game, look no further than the story of Sam Piette. In the latest episode of Player to Player, Stevie talks to the Montreal Impact and Canada midfielder about the long journey through three European Leagues that finally brought him back to the MLS, as the hometown hero at his boyhood club.

At only 14 years of age, when most kids are thinking no further than summer break, Piette packed his bags and moved to France, to follow the chance of a footballing dream at FC Metz:

“It was tough, the two years I was there to be honest with you, because […] it was the first time when I was in an environment of, you know, competition. So, yes, you train and you play games, you practice with other guys but the ultimate goal is to get a professional contract or, you know, to go from the U15s to the U17s. And it was really competitive over there and that’s where I realized – ok football is something very serious, and French people, you know, are taking this very seriously, which we didn’t really do back in Montreal.”

Afer leaving France to spend two seasons in the Bundesliga with Fortuna Düsseldorf, Piette eventually signed for Deportivo de La Coruña in La Liga. But a lack of opportunities led him to drop two divisions in search of first team football:

“It’s a bit funny because, you know, you go from being in the environment of Deportivo de La Coruña who’s a first division club, so you know facilities are great […] they’re treating you very well and then you go to a third division club.”

“In the 1st division you have […] clubs that are able to pay players 10,000 euros a month and then you have clubs like Club Deportivo Izzara paying, you know, 500 per month per player. And you know it wasn’t the greatest city but the people I met over there were really amazing […] I had teammates on my team that had other jobs, so I had some that were teachers, stuff like that. So it was a really different environment from what I’d experienced before but I’m really grateful, you know. I made very good friends over there but obviously after a year I wanted to get out of there to find, you know, a more professional environment for me and to continue to progress as a footballer.”

That move came in the form of a return to Canada, after a series of stand out performances for the national team:

“The gold cup in 2017 was a massive turn around for me […] But even before that I remember we had a game in Montreal with the national team against Curaçao, and it was the first time I was able to play professionally in Montreal in front of my friends and family. I had 500 people coming over just for me […] I think people realized – ok he is a professional footballer and we’ll follow whatever he’s doing – and right after that we had the Gold Cup where we had a good run with Octavio [Zambrano].” 

“Octavio had a lot of confidence in myself [and] the players I had around me as well. I was playing with Pat Bernier in the middle and Scott Arfield, who are amazing players, obviously really helped me to play my football […] That team, you know, was really confident and had a lot of liberty to play with freedom. So I think that’s why we had a good run, and I just did my job you know – breaking plays, playing simple […] and I think that’s when people started to notice me and obviously I got on the radar of Montreal lmpact.”

Catch the full interview to learn how Sam couldn’t say no when the Impact came calling, as well as discussing the influence and belief of manager Mauro Beillo, and what the future holds playing under Thierry Henry and John Herdman.

Edwin Tubb
edwin@homestandsports.com