It is okay that NYCFC legend Maxime Chanot is back in MLS

  • Former NYCFC player Maxime Chanot made a surprise move back to MLS
  • The center-back has signed with LAFC less than a year after leaving NYCFC
  • It is difficult to be angry, but it is still confusing

Maxime Chanot, formerly of NYCFC
Maxime Chanot, formerly of NYCFC / Evan Yu/GettyImages

When Maxime Chanot left New York City FC last summer, there were a lot of emotions from the supporters, and rightfully so. The former captain was a legend who wore the club's crest with pride and honor. He represented the team on and off the pitch. Many thought he would retire with the Pigeons, but instead, he shocked everyone and moved over to France and joined AC Ajaccio.

Chanot and NYCFC declared the move was so the defender could be closer to his family and allow them to watch him play in person. However, many believed that was not the entire story, for rumors swirled about a possible falling out between him and Nick Cushing. It did not help when he posted cryptic posts on social media either, alluding to the idea that his departure was not entirely about his family.

Now, with less than a season under his belt with Ajaccio, Chanot stunned NYCFC supporters and the rest of Major League Soccer when he moved to Los Angeles FC. The center-back terminated his contract with the French club to move back here to the United States.

This fuels the fire that the defender did not move to France due to family. Many did not believe the company line regardless, for Chanot always expressed how New York City was his home. In addition, it makes one wonder whether there was bad blood between him and Cushing, or even between some in the front office. Regardless of the why, the two sides handled everything respectfully and professionally, keeping the legend's legend status intact.

Maxime Chanot's move to LAFC is okay from the NYCFC perspective

Truthfully, some NYCFC supporters might feel like it is a punch in the gut. Chanot has always expressed his continued love for the team after his departure, as shown on his Instagram. Why would he play elsewhere in MLS?

However, his move to LAFC does not hurt too much. It was an okay move for him to make. He did not move to an Eastern Conference club, especially a rival. NYCFC will also not meet with the California team in the regular season. The center-back has not said anything badly about his former club either. There is no question his love for the city remains. Unfortunately, there was no room for him despite the fact that the club really needed him and still does.

At least, that is the case as long as Cushing is the head coach. The infamous retweet about Chanot implying the difficult moment with his departure was possibly created by the head coach reminds everyone that the story is still not fully told. Sure, there is that dream now that maybe down the road a trade for his return can be made. That road would have a different head coach.

With the knowledge of the possible and probable friction that led to his departure, it is difficult to be upset with Chanot. Maybe he did not want to go to France, but moving to Ajaccio was his only option. Perhaps it was enticing, but then he realized it was not what he thought it would be. Although, he did start most of the matches this season.

It was Chanot though who apparently forced the contract termination, for the French team basically told the world that the center-back would not honor his commitment to the club. This adds to the confusion about why the former NYCFC captain has made the moves he has made in 2023 and 2024.

Maybe one day the whole story will be revealed. Chanot's move to LAFC does not mean he is no longer a NYCFC legend. It is sad to see him in other MLS colors, but the love for the player remains. He also did not move to a team like the New York Red Bulls or Philadelphia Union.

His shocking return to MLS was puzzling at first, but it is easier to digest when one remembers the aftermath of his departure from NYCFC, and the fact he is on the West Coast.