Binks facing changing faces
Binks facing changing faces

Kent will once again have representation in this season’s MLS as Luis Binks has returned to Canada – but the changes the Gillingham youngster has been met by are startling.

He’s returned to Montreal to find not only a new manager but also a completely rebranded club but sadly one thing that remains from 2020 is that the Canadians will not be “allowed” to play in the own home – all trials and tribulations for Luis to face on his return to Major League Soccer…

We will continue to follow the fortunes of Luis and his CF Montreal team-mates during the campaign, and we caught up with Luis this week at his new “home from home” in Florida at pre-season training…

“Feeling good,” he told us, “I’m eager for the start of the season as pre-season always seems to last forever but no, I’m excited to get back to playing games. Our first game is April 17th against Toronto and it’s a big one as obviously they’re the rivals so it’s a good one to start with and one we are all ready for.”

“The squad is good, we have a lot of youth and competition and having competition can only be good as everyone is fighting for a shirt and trying to hold onto it for as long as possible.”

On the subject of not actually playing in Canada, Luis admitted, “It’s not ideal as we’re not at “home” but for me it’s no different really as I live alone in Montreal and the borders are shut so my family can’t come and visit and it’s the same in Miami when we move.”

“But for players with kids and families it’s that but more complicated as they can’t just totally uproot as they have their families to think about so it’s tough for them.”

The club has completely rebranded over the winter as Montreal Impact are now known as CF Montreal – a decision that didn’t go down to well with some supporters as Luis explained. “It didn’t go down to well at the start but like any change I think it takes time,” he said.

“I wasn’t totally sold on it at the start but the more I’ve been around it, trying on the new kits, wearing the new training kit I can say I’ve grown to like it pretty quickly and I think as soon as we start winning games the fans will love it as well as results are the most important thing and playing well for the badge whether it’s Montreal Impact or CF Montreal.”

Something else for Luis to adjust to will be a new man in charge following the departure of Thierry Henry. “It was a surprise to all of us,” Luis admitted, “but he explained his reasons for going back home and it makes total sense.”

“It’s hard enough being away from your kids and family for short stints but to do it for a whole year on the other side of the world must be difficult. I’m just grateful I had the chance to learn under him and grateful for the faith he showed in me since the day he brought me to the club as he trusted me in a lot of games and for him to do that was a big risk as I had no experience at any senior level prior to coming here.”

“Wilfred (Wilf) Nancy is the new boss, and he was Henry’s assistant coach last year, so he knows the squad, knows how we all work so I think it’s a natural transition for him to take over.”

“He’s been at the club for a very long time and worked under 5/6 managers I think so that just goes to show how many managers have trusted him as every one of them decided to have him as part of their staff.”

With the MLS still a couple of weeks away from their season start, Luis’ footballing thoughts are – for now at least – still here in Kent.

“It’s exciting times for Gills especially if they can make the Play Offs which is well in their sights. I am surprised as they went through a bad patch at the start of the year and like most fans, I probably feared the worst, but I’ve seen some of the last few games and they’re playing really well and they’re a squad that play to their strengths really well, whether it’s pretty or not doesn’t matter as it’s a result driven business and they’re getting results. Good luck to them…”