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Hamlett joins Montreal Impact coaching staff

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For the second year in a row, Denis Hamlett will be an assistant with a team making the move from Div.-2 to Major League Soccer.

Hamlett, who was an assistant with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2011, was named to Montreal Impact coach Jesse Marsch’s staff Saturday.

“We are extremely excited to add a coach like Denis Hamlett to our coaching staff,” said Marsch in a release issued Saturday. “We know the experience and knowledge that he brings will be a great addition to the team. Many of us have worked with Denis before, making him a very good fit for our group.”

Hamlett and fellow assistant Colin Miller were given their walking papers by the Whitecaps at the end of the 2011 season. It was an ironic twist, because, at the start of the 2011 season, there was a school of that Hamlett’s experience as an MLS coach made him a likely candidate to take over the Vancouver bench if Teitur Thordarson faltered. Thordarson was indeed sacked, but Tom Soehn, whose head coaching resume isn’t as impressive as Hamlett’s, came down from the front office to coach the remainder of a disappointing season.

Hamlett coached the Chicago Fire in 2008 and ’09, and had helped galvanize one of the stingiest defensive clubs in MLS. But the book on the Fire was that it couldn’t win in the playoffs. After the Fire chose to go in a different coaching direction, the club has plummeted out of the playoff picture — and isn’t close to being the consistent defensive machine that it was under Hamlett.

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