Butler: Impact head coach Schällibaum balances work, family

Noel Butler
7/26/2013 8:10:49 PM
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Not sure what Marco Schällibaum has on shuffle on his iPad or watches on the TV, but it's very evident that, although he is best known as the head coach of the Montreal Impact, Schällibaum is so much more 'Family Guy' than he is a 'Swiss Volcano.'

Living alone in Montreal, it is golf and socializing with new friends that provides the perfect distractions away from the pitch for the 51-year old Swiss native.

The wider grin this week is down to the fact that his wife and daughter are in town.

"It's so very positive. I'm the family guy - a man who really enjoys being together with my family and to be able to do things together as a family." Schällibaum disclosed to

Positivity is something that has been in short supply for the Impact over the last six-weeks.  

A little under two-weeks removed from an erroneous report stating he would be leaving the club, it still irks him that such reporting would even have legs.

 "Of course it was not a good feeling, I was surprised because what we have done till now is very positive," Schällibaum revealed. "We are towards the top of the league and we won the Canadian Cup. The work together as a team is very good. I think we have good ways."

Mired in a five-game winless streak, the table though provides relief as he looks out on his club who are second place in the Eastern Conference on the eve of welcoming the outright best in the East, Sporting KC.

"I think every team has a little passage like this," Schällibaum said. "You can't be good always and get three points every game.  It was a very good performance against Dallas and now we all try all the things to win against Kansas with the same attitude and fighting spirit from the team."

"I know I have the team to do all the things to bring success. We have this pressure of course but I know I have a team that can do it which is very important for a coach."

Schällibaum has already charted the Impact's road this season and he's not about to alter course due to a midseason slump.

"No I think we work very good together. I can't change all the things which were good before. All teams like us they have periods where they don't win many points."

"The important thing is we are still at the top. Now we have a big game against Kansas who are first in the standings. We are 100%, like every game, very motivated to win this game Saturday night."

The Impact's head coach doesn't even feel a need to have to revise the message to his team.

"The message this week is very easy. I'll come back to the Dallas game where I saw this fighting spirit to be for the club, to win for the club and for the supporters. It's very, very good. The first thing I said at the beginning of the week this attitude must be the same and never give up."

Having arrived in Montreal back in early January, Schällibaum had adequate time to chart his social pathway.

Not surprisingly for such an engaging character, he has had little problem meeting new acquaintances from the old country.

"It's good to now know some Swiss people and it's also really nice to go out to drink and eat together with these people outside of football."

"You know I'm very calm and I certainly don't need some party everyday but it's nice just to go out and eat with friends, speak about things going on around the world is also nice."

"I'm starting to know lots of people with lots of qualities. It's very nice to spend time with these persons."

Schällibaum is able to mix business with pleasure when he hits the golf course, which comes with the additional benefit of shifting the football clutter away from his thought patterns.

 "I think it is one of the things I can come out a little bit from all day work. I need, at times, to get completely away from football. I like golf because you are outside, you have fresh air."

"Importantly for me it is recuperation for the head, to be ready and full of energy again to approach my work every day"

When the conversation touched on Hernán Bernardello, Schällibaum could appear to be aiming a shot directly across the bow of Toronto FC, a team that currently is having difficulty attracting players of such calibre.

"It's wonderful a player like him wants to come to Montreal. It's a sign we are doing a good job here in Montreal. It's good to have players like this who are motivated to come here so that's a good base to have good work together."

Work will prevent Schällibaum travelling to Kansas for Wednesday's All Star Game. Displaying his inner comedian he indirectly referenced his pitch side indiscretions during previous encounters as reason for not travelling.

"I won't be going to Kansas because I don't like Kansas, but really I am not going because I am working. We have a game three days later, so I will stay in Montreal."

We do know now what his social plans are the evening of July 31st.

"I will of course watch it on the TV. We have two players there together Marco (Di Vaio) and Patrice (Bernier), which is nice. I am proud for them, my team and it is reward for the hard work they do every day."

Away from an overflowing work schedule this week, Schällibaum will be showing off his adopted home; Montreal to his wife and daughter.

By the sounds of it, he has no plans for any type of sudden departure.

In fact, to warm all Impact supporter hearts and players with whom he has struck up a significant professional bond with, the exact opposite would appear to be in order.

"I now show many things in Montreal to my family, which is really nice.  They now know where I live and where I work. I hope we have a future also maybe for one, two, or three years to stay here so I can motivate my family to come here to live."

With Montreal in the national news for all the wrong reasons of late, one multilingual immigrant could not seem happier with his lot in La Belle Ville.

"I feel very well here, the people are really nice. There are a lot of things to see and a lot of quality of life in Montreal."

"I enjoy my time here with my family because that's the base for all the things, to have this force everyday also to have a family to give you the good things in life."

You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:
Montreal Impact v Sporting KC - Live on TSN2 Saturday at 7:00pm et/4:00pm pt.

Noel Butler

Noel Butler

Noel Butler is an analyst for TSN's soccer coverage and his blog can be read on You can follow him on Twitter at and listen to his radio program oranges@halftime on TSN Radio 690 Montreal.


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