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Player approval in the Yallop poll


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Player approval in the Yallop poll

New coach gets thumbs up from team

By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

Former Canadian men's soccer coach Holger Osieck, or so the story goes, once verbally dressed down a player for whistling on the team bus.

Apparently, that sort of thing was par for the course during his five-year term as national team coach.

By the time Osieck resigned from his post last September, the Canadian Soccer Association was dealing with a near mutiny. Many of Canada's top players by then had decided that it wasn't worth the effort to fly home and play games for a coach who treated them as if they were cadets at the marine corps academy.

One such player was midfielder Marc Bircham, who actually retired from the national team during Osieck's tenure as coach.

"Holger was German, I'm English, so we don't really get on," Bircham said yesterday, a mischievous smirk crossing his face. "On the pitch I'm serious but off I'm not, but he wanted to turn the lads into robots."

"He locked you in your room. It was like you were in boarding school, like you were in prison."

Osieck did some good things for the men's program, including guiding the squad to a historic Gold Cup title in 2000. But with the 2006 World Cup qualifying less than a year away, it was obvious a change was needed. Osieck's autocratic style was not cutting it anymore with his new world players and CSA decided that finding a Canadian coach with strong enough credentials would be ideal.

It's still early, but it appears the CSA has found the right man in Frank Yallop, who signed a three-year deal with the national team last December.

The players, almost to a man, are thrilled to have the former national team defender in control.

"He has proven that you can have a professional environment on the national team," midfielder Iain Hume said this week, between World Cup qualifying games against Belize in Kingston.

Added striker Tomasz Radzinski: "You can't imagine what kind of enjoyment and what kind of great team spirit there is now. This is not work right now, this is really fun. Frank has made it so nice."

Of course, soccer at this level is not supposed to be nice. But the point the players are tying to make is, the game is supposed to be about sweat and sacrifice, but when you give up holiday time and skip club games for your national side, the experience should at least be enjoyable. That's what was lacking with Osieck, but it's something Yallop has brought back.

"I told the guys my hiring has nothing to do with what went on before. That's irrelevant," Yallop said. "We're trying to build a team that will compete. Every time we play someone, they know they're in a game against Canada.

"What I didn't say was, it was going to be a holiday camp, that we'll have a great laugh going out drinking together. I did tell them it would be a lot of work."

Born in Watford, near London, Yallop moved to New Westminster, B.C., at 10 with his family. He developed his considerable soccer skills in British Columbia and, at 14, was invited to attend training camps for the Ipswich Town club team back in England. Yallop signed as an apprentice at 16, first played for Ipswich at 19 and stayed until he was 32.

His hard-nosed defensive play and amiable personality off the pitch made Yallop, who made 376 appearances for Ipswich, a fan favourite. During his time there, Yallop played under some of the best managers in the business, but it was John Lyall and Bobby Robson, later the England manager, who left their mark.

"Bobby made me feel like I was the best player who ever played, as a 16-year-old kid," Yallop said. "He's a great manager but a wonderful person. Lyall was similar."


Because he played for the England under-16 side, it was years before Yallop was able to join the Canadian men's team. But when he did, at 27, he rarely missed a game and recorded 52 caps in total.

After his playing days ended, Yallop joined the coaching ranks as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Mutiny of the MLS, and later D.C. United before landing the head job with the San Jose Earthquake, leading that team to two titles in three years.

After signing with the national team, Yallop's first order of business was reaching out to the players who had decided to leave the national program, standouts such as Paul Peschisolido, Jason de Vos, Radzinski and Bircham, and convinced them that it would be worth coming back. As a manager who has lived the life of a European-based pro, he could relate to the Europe-based Canucks, who often felt unappreciated at home.

"Coming off their long season to play international games, you have to make it fun for them," former Canadian team and Ipswich goalkeeper Craig Forrest said. "They don't have to be babysat. The pressures of playing league football are extreme. So when they do come home, they want to be able to enjoy the experience."

One other aspect of Yallop's presence is the attacking brand of football he brings to a team long known for its defence-first style of play. Yallop considers his style a hybrid -- new world with a touch of the Manchester United teams from the 1990s.

"I used to watch them every week," he said of Man U. "They all worked hard, very structured, they all really wanted to play for their manager, were always fit, never switched off. I knew that's the way I wanted to play."

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Guest Georgio

Lot's of Holger bashin in every Canadian soccer article I read. He did some good stuff too! I was a proponent for his removal as well but still. I'd rather we qualify and then examine what Yallop is doing correctly over Holger.

Nevertheless, I like that the players are happy.

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Radzinski took more than a little bit of stick on this board for his decision. But I see a difference between someone who turns out, gives his all for Canada but eventually tires of the associated **** versus someone who isn't selected for a series and decides that he has been disrespected and will never show up for Canada as a result - or decides not to turn out for other reasons such as club vs. country. The most direct comparision is Radzinski and Aguiar and it is safe to say that both were vilified. If Fernando ever reconsiders, then I am sure the same level of forgiveness will be extended to him.

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quote:Originally posted by Massive Attack

I find it ironic that Aguiar is villified for his stance on the national team, yet players who did the same thing under Holger are talked about like they're heroes for coming back.

Firstly, the players took a stance against Holger, not Yallop. All of the conspiracy rubbish is just that, pure rubbish. Guys like Rad, Jazic, etc, are now extremely happy and speak highly of Yallop.

As well, none of the players that left the program were stupid enough to publicly slag their teammates for "playing on lower level teams that no one has heard of."

Any player that posts on the forum that a team-mate is an "asshole" has no place on the Canadian squad. A complete lack of professionalism and a poor attitude that this team can do without.

The fact that the team atmospere is positive and players are happy with the coach and team-mates is a complete vindication from retard conspiracy theories.

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quote:Originally posted by Georgio

Lot's of Holger bashin in every Canadian soccer article I read. He did some good stuff too! I was a proponent for his removal as well but still. I'd rather we qualify and then examine what Yallop is doing correctly over Holger.

Nevertheless, I like that the players are happy.

so true.... I've have always found it strange how people like to pile on others after their gone. Given the stories of widespread discontent among players and ( more importantly) the results, I too feel that a time for a coaching change was due. But now there are quite a few rediculous accuations leveled his way including the notion that, being a german, he had a dislike for the British. We never saw any such kind of accusations leveled at Bob Lennarduzzi's coaching but what has Bobby Lennarduzzi's MNT's ever accomplished?

Regarding the fact that all the players are singing KOOM BA YAH together. That should be completely irrelevatant and insignificant to any fan. Shouldn't we be more concerned about performance and results instead. Would we rather have a happy team that loses because of lack of discipline. Or a well disciplined team that wins despite some tension in the locker room. We are not the ones in the locker room.

Also, lets not forget that very few players ever liked Scotty Bowman. But look at how many championship rings he owns and would you not want him as a coach.

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