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How Thierry Henry is trying to resurrect his coaching career in MLS

Thierry Henry is annoyed. He grimaces. He extends his hands for emphasis, palms to the sky. It is a look the world has seen before.

Since the start of a 20-year playing career that included spells at some of the world’s most important football clubs, Henry has held his teammates, the journalists who covered him, and even his managers to the highest standards. He has been quick to express frustration with anyone who wasn’t good enough, didn’t try hard enough or, once, who didn’t push in his chair after a news conference.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Whether he responded with a word or a gesture, it was never hard to tell what he was thinking. He packed an entire narrative into a turn of the hands, a roll of the eyes. “He could score an amazing goal,” says Dennis Bergkamp, who played alongside Henry at Arsenal, “and then a moment later he’d be angry with someone for not passing the ball correctly. That’s the way he was.”

Henry experienced exactly that disappointment with the New York Red Bulls, where he spent the final 4½ seasons of his career. In 2013, the Red Bulls amassed the best regular-season record in MLS. Then they immediately lost their home-and-home conference semifinal to bottom-seed Houston. It wasn’t fair, but it was the system. “Those are the rules,” he says.nfl nike jersey cheap

So too is the structure that allows teams to sleepwalk through the regular season and flip a switch when the playoffs start. Or worse, lose every game and show up the next year ready to play again, rather than getting relegated as in nearly every other league in the world.3

“What happens if you lose?” he asks. “Nothing! Nothing happens. You’re still in MLS, or the NBA, or NFL, or whatever. The rules allow you to just let it go. You shouldn’t let anything go. In Europe, it’s unacceptable. It would never happen. It shouldn’t happen.”

He sighs. “But you have to know where you are,” he says.

A little more than a year ago, Henry was in Monaco, ending a managerial stint that was as short — three months — as it was disappointing. He’s back in MLS now, trying to rehabilitate his reputation while managing with a distinctly different frame of reference. Henry won nearly everything a player can win, but the Impact have been the model of a mediocre franchise, with only three trips to the playoffs in eight MLS seasons, and seven head coaches during that time.

Henry’s task is clear. If he can do a credible job for a couple of years, he’ll put distance between Monaco and his next job. “It could take him back on the managerial ladder in Europe,” says Craig Burley, the former Scotland international and current ESPN commentator.