Mohamed Farsi’s road to MLS has been a winding one. « The opportunities did not come on a golden platter, » said the Quebecer. I went to get them. »
Posted at 6:00 a.m.
PLSQ. PLC. MLS Next Pro, then MLS. Passing through Algeria. The path he has traced can now be used by young Quebec talents dreaming of the highest levels in North America.
« In truth, that’s the goal, » he admits in an interview Zoom with The Press.
Two weeks ago, Farsi signed a contract with the first team of the Crew of Columbus, club which will face CF Montreal this Wednesday evening in Ohio. He thus became the second active Quebecer to play in MLS outside of Montreal, after goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau.
Farsi had been engaged with Crew 2 since March, a reserve team playing in MLS Next Pro. This new circuit, considered the American third division, is a development circuit for the big league.
Mohamed Farsi has made three appearances so far with the Crew. Including two before signing his contract. And each time, he “took it seriously”.
I was aiming to sign this year, but maybe more towards the end of the season. […] It came faster than expected. Yeah, I’m happy.
Another who is “happy” is Mathieu Choinière. The CF Montreal midfielder knows Farsi well: the two players crossed swords when they played in regional soccer.
“It is greatly deserved, this jump in MLS! “, indicates Choinière during an exchange of text messages with The Press.
“I can’t wait to face him soon. It’s gonna be like the good old days. »
« The PLC did not want me »
Mo Farsi has a friendly, warm tone. At the time of our call, he is “quiet at home” after his training with the Crew. Not so long ago, this last complement of sentence would have seemed out of reach for the Montrealer, whose parents were born in Algeria.
As a teenager, Farsi had not distinguished himself enough to join the Impact Academy, « his city’s team ».
No hard feelings, he assures.
“When I was younger, between 12 and 15 years old, I was not in the Quebec elite. […] It was really around 16 that I exploded compared to players my age. »
There was a futsal parenthesis. Then a season with CS Longueuil in the Quebec Premier Soccer League (PLSQ). He finally joined AS Blainville in 2019. And stood out at the age of 19 during a clash in the Canadian Championship against York9, a club from the Canadian Premier League (PLC). Which leads him to get along with a team from the Algerian first division, AS Aïn M’lila.
I had my first pro contract in Algeria. Because unfortunately the PLC didn’t want me. We will tell the truth!
But « it went badly » in Algeria. In one season, he was never able to walk the field. Back home, the Calgary Cavalry, in PLC, offered him a try.
Despite the « blow on the ego », he rolls up his sleeves.
“I did my two-week trial. I gave everything. Coincidentally, I signed on a Friday around 1 p.m. »
It was March 13, 2020. Does this date ring a bell?
“Two hours later, they announced that the activities were going to be interrupted for a few weeks. […] It was interrupted from March to June. »
Hold on. Did you sign your pro contract two hours before everything closed because of the pandemic?
“I signed at the perfect time, man ! »
That year he became one of the young stars of the Canadian circuit. Until winning the title of U21 player par excellence in 2020. After another great season in 2021, he joined Crew 2 in March 2022.
A career choice that some questioned, according to him.
« Going from PLC to MLS Next Pro was not a step forward, » he said. You play against young people, etc. But I really wasn’t afraid to make that choice. When I did, it spoke. […] I know why I did this. »
“At the end of the day, look who passes for a genius! “, he adds, laughing.
“Inspire” and “Help”
Wilfried Nancy, head coach of CF Montreal, spoke of a « great story » on Tuesday when asked about Farsi.
“I still remember there were a lot of skeptics about PLC,” says Nancy. […] But thanks to that, it allowed players to evolve, like this youngster. And like Joel Waterman, who is also from there. »
“There is talent” in Quebec, assures Farsi. He would like to “inspire” it, show that there are “other gateways” to CF Montreal.
“If I can help in that way, it just makes me happy. »
Waterman won’t be suspended after all
It was believed that Joel Waterman would be suspended for this match against the Columbus Crew, after he received one yellow card too many last Saturday night. But the warning, reported at 53e minute by the official Ramy Touchan, finally went to Djordje Mihailovic’s record. Not only is Waterman therefore available for this Wednesday’s game, but you can even withdraw a card from his counter for his five consecutive games without his name having been entered in the referee’s notebook. According to Alistair Johnston, his teammate claimed his innocence upon returning to the locker room on Saturday. “Joel was well aware of this case, said the defender, amused by the reaction of his fellow Canadian. […] He said, “No, it wasn’t me. I went to see the report from MLS officials and they changed it to Djordje. […] It is good for our defensive body. Joel has been playing amazing lately. »