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Yallop to play in MLS Legends game


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No sure is this was mentioned before:


Canadian soccer coach dons boots for weekend MLS Legends game


TORONTO (CP) - Frank Yallop is no stranger to MLS all-star games, having played and coached in them.

So the Canadian national team coach is looking forward to returning to the MLS fray Saturday, this time as a member of the MLS World Legends in an exhibition game before the league's proper all-star contest (TV, 2 p.m. EDT). Yallop and the World Legends will take on the MLS USA Legends in what is being billed as a "Celebration Game" at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

The Canadian coach has extensive ties to the U.S. circuit. He played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny from 1996 to 1998 after ending his career in England, eventually moving into coaching as an assistant first in Tampa Bay and then D.C. United.

From there he went to San Jose, leading the Earthquakes to two MLS titles in three seasons. He was named MLS coach of the year in 2003 before quitting to take over Canada.

At 40, Yallop is a little young to be a legend but he won't look out of place on the field Saturday judging from his performances at Canadian team practices.

"I'm going to tell those U.S. guys 'get your shinpads on because I'm coming for you, man,"' he joked from Vancouver.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing some familiar faces from MLS, and looking forward to playing the game," he added. "It's an honour to do that and I was really chuffed when they phoned me to see if I wanted to play in the game."

Yallop will be reunited with former Tampa Bay teammate Carlos Valderrama, the Colombian famous for his deft passing touch and wild shock of hair. He still holds the MLS record for assists.

"One of the best players in the world, especially South America," Yallop said.

Other colleagues on the World team include Scotland's Richard Gough and Bolivia's Marco Etcheverry.

In an interesting twist, Yallop will be coached at the legends game by Bruce Arena, former D.C. United coach and current U.S. national team boss.

The well-travelled Bora Milutinovic will coach the MLS USA Legends. Milutinovic, currently Honduras' technical director, coached five teams at the World Cup finals: Mexico, Costa Rica, the U.S., Nigeria and China.

With the likes of Cobi Jones and Eric Wynalda on the U.S. team, and all-star games' traditional disdain for defence, Yallop knows he could be in for a busy afternoon.

The 16-man U.S. Legends roster has a combined 1,289 international caps and some (Jones and goalkeeper Tony Meola) are still active. All 16 were part of the U.S. World Cup squad in 1994.

The U.S. roster also includes Alexi Lalas, current GM of the San Jose Earthquakes.

"I was looking for defenders and I saw two, plus me," Yallop said of the World team. "I expect to be playing the whole game and I don't think they (the rest) will be defending too much. But it will be fun."

He expects to line up with Gough and Nigeria's Michael Emenalo in the backline. All three can count on an interesting game with the unpredictable Jorge Campos in goal.

The good news is the game only lasts 50 minutes.

Yallop played in the '97 all-star game and coached in the 2002 game.

Canadian international goalkeeper Pat Onstad, a native of Vancouver who plays for San Jose, will start for the West in the all-star game that follows the legends contest.

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