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Interesting article about the MNT and Yallop


loyola

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http://www.saanichnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=28&cat=40&id=569883&more=

By Thomas Winterhoff

Saanich News

Jan 11 2006

When Canada’s senior men’s soccer team takes to the field against the United States in an international friendly Jan. 22, fans of “the beautiful game” won’t see any local players suiting up.

Despite a very strong soccer community on Vancouver Island and the fact that several B.C. players have a relatively high profile on the world stage, only Rob Friend of Kelowna made the cut this time around.

Part of the reason for the apparent dearth of local players is that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA – the sport’s global governing body) hasn’t declared Jan. 22 an “international” competition day, meaning that club teams from around the world aren’t required to make any of their Canadian players available for national team duties. Therefore, top Canadian internationals like Paul Stalteri, Iain Hume, Tomasz Radzinski, Julian de Guzman, Daniel Imhof, Jim Brennan, Olivier Occean and Kevin McKenna won’t be playing against their American counterparts.

Greater Victoria’s own Josh Simpson – who signed with Millwall of England’s Championship League after impressing Millwall’s coaches during the club’s 2004 Canadian tour – is one player who might have seen action next week in San Diego.

So where are the emerging British Columbia players who conceivably could have taken their places? The roster for the U.S. friendly (and the accompanying training camp in California) is currently loaded up with six players from the Montreal Impact of the United Soccer Leagues (USL), as well as players from Scandinavian leagues who will be on the customary winter break in their schedules. But there’s no sign of any up-and-coming local professionals, such as Geordie Lyall of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Canadian senior men’s head coach Frank Yallop told the News that his final roster selections are largely based on which players have the necessary skills to benefit the national side at that particular point in time.

“All I basically do is select players whom I think are going to play well for Canada,” he explained. “I don’t really look at what province they’re from.”

The players also have to be able to fit into Yallop’s system of play, which he feels has become more aggressive and more focused on ball possession since he took over the program from former head coach Holger Osieck in December 2003. He said it’s a playing style that is more suited to the FIFA region that Canada plays in: the Confederation of North Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The group features perennial powerhouses Mexico and the United States, as well as several strong Central American countries.

“I’d like to think that we are completely changing our style to suit the region,” Yallop explained. “When you’re down in Mexico City or (where) it’s a very hot and humid climate, you can’t be giving the ball to the opposition. It’s going to end up wearing you down and then you’re not going to get a result. I felt that we needed to possess the ball better (and) be very good on the counterattack.”

Yallop coached the San Jose Earthquakes to a second Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2003 and he wants to bring a similar mix of innovative offensive play and tough defensive strategy to the Canadian national side.

“I think we’ve got to that point where we’re pretty good at that. Now we’ve got to start building (by) creating more quality chances for our strikers and then (have) our strikers take those chances that do come along,” said Yallop.

So far, he added, the Canadian men’s team is “on the right track” and he feels that he’s now assembling a team with the “building blocks” to make a serious run at qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Canada was bounced out of CONCACAF’s semi-final qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in November 2004, which some observers put down to a combination of inexperience and questionable officiating in the final games. Yallop had been on the job for less than a year at that point and was still adjusting to the CONCACAF competition.

“I learned a lot from that round and if you look at the way we played in the six to eight games we did have in qualifying, I think we played well at times (but) we couldn’t score goals when we needed to-” said Yallop. “The odd sloppy goal here or there cost us, but if you’re scoring goals at the other end, you can allow yourself to give up some goals.”

After being eliminated from contention for the 2006 World Cup, Yallop and his coaching staff had to focus on what it would take to strengthen Canada’s chances of qualifying for the 2010 competition. That meant taking a closer look at players who have performed well in the national under-20 program and who are now ready to play at the senior level.

“I also look at players who have done well with their clubs and I select certain players who I think can help me down the line when I go into (World Cup) qualifying in two or three years’ time,” Yallop explained, adding that some of the players who have earned international caps under his tenure fit into that category. They include midfielders Atiba Hutchinson (playing with Helsingborg of Sweden) and Patrice Bernier (with Tromso of the Norwegian Premier league).

Veteran Dwayne De Rosario, a versatile midfielder/forward, is currently with the Earthquakes of the MLS (after the team recently moved from California to Houston, Texas), but he played for Yallop for years during their days in San Jose.

“He’s one that will probably lead the pack a little bit,” said Yallop.

Canada will also play a friendly against Austria on March 1, a day when Canada’s more high-profile international players should be available. It’s difficult to guess how different the national men’s roster will look for that game – or whether additional B.C. players will be given their shot at the big time.

Vancouver Whitecaps director of soccer operations Bob Lenarduzzi represented Canada in the 1984 Olympics and the 1986 World Cup. He doesn’t feel the lack of B.C. players on the current roster is indicative of a problem with the province’s development programs, pointing to the tremendous success experienced by B.C.’s women soccer players at the national level.

“I think the other provinces have done (a) very good job with their player development – especially Quebec-” said Lenarduzzi. “I’m not so sure whether we’ve done a bad job or whether the others have gotten better. Sometimes this process is cyclical; you get a lot of players from one of the stronger provinces and then all of a sudden there seems to be a bit of a tapering off. I don’t know if I could put my finger on any one reason why it’s happened, but it’s a good observation.”

Dave Dew is a former head coach of the Whitecaps women’s team and was also heavily involved in the national women’s U-16 and U-17 programs. He agrees that the Canadian senior men’s coaching staff should be selecting the best players regardless of where they’re from, but he also thinks that some talented B.C. players might have been overlooked this time around.

“They wouldn’t really care if a player was from Cortes Island, Spuzzum or Pump Handle, Saskatchewan. If he’s good enough, they’re going to take him,” Dew said. “But I was quite shocked when I saw that Rob Friend was the only B.C. player selected - I know that the international players aren’t available to (Yallop) so he hasn’t selected guys like Josh Simpson, (but) he hasn’t looked at any of the younger ones like Geordie Lyall or anybody like that.”

Lyall played for UVic and is now with the Whitecaps team that made the playoffs last season, but Dew acknowledged that there are few local players playing at a level comparable to that of Simpson.

“Right now, for players at that standard – outside of Simpson – (there really aren’t) any players at this point that I would look at and say: ‘Ya, they should be on the World Cup team.’ ”

However, there are a few other B.C. players he thinks could make the grade in the future. Spectrum and Gorge FC alumni Tyler Hughes is reportedly recovering from a broken leg, but he played in Canada’s final World Cup qualifying game against Guatemala in 2004. Manny Gomez is another talented youngster who is playing overseas with River Plate’s junior program in Argentina and Dew expects he will be named to Canada’s next U-20 squad.

Dew felt that Yallop would give any qualified B.C. player a fair shot when it comes to representing their country on the international stage.

“To give credit to Frank, I know that he has people looking all over for him and he’s one of those guys who’s wide open to giving everybody an opportunity.”

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Interesting but sad. The writer seems a bit over his head or at minimum out of his element. He seemed to want to make the lack of BC players some sort of an issue.

Perhaps he grew up in Quebec?

quote:Originally posted by loyola

http://www.saanichnews.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=28&cat=40&id=569883&more=

By Thomas Winterhoff

Saanich News

Jan 11 2006

When Canada’s senior men’s soccer team takes to the field against the United States in an international friendly Jan. 22, fans of “the beautiful game” won’t see any local players suiting up.

Despite a very strong soccer community on Vancouver Island and the fact that several B.C. players have a relatively high profile on the world stage, only Rob Friend of Kelowna made the cut this time around.

Part of the reason for the apparent dearth of local players is that the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA – the sport’s global governing body) hasn’t declared Jan. 22 an “international” competition day, meaning that club teams from around the world aren’t required to make any of their Canadian players available for national team duties. Therefore, top Canadian internationals like Paul Stalteri, Iain Hume, Tomasz Radzinski, Julian de Guzman, Daniel Imhof, Jim Brennan, Olivier Occean and Kevin McKenna won’t be playing against their American counterparts.

Greater Victoria’s own Josh Simpson – who signed with Millwall of England’s Championship League after impressing Millwall’s coaches during the club’s 2004 Canadian tour – is one player who might have seen action next week in San Diego.

So where are the emerging British Columbia players who conceivably could have taken their places? The roster for the U.S. friendly (and the accompanying training camp in California) is currently loaded up with six players from the Montreal Impact of the United Soccer Leagues (USL), as well as players from Scandinavian leagues who will be on the customary winter break in their schedules. But there’s no sign of any up-and-coming local professionals, such as Geordie Lyall of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Canadian senior men’s head coach Frank Yallop told the News that his final roster selections are largely based on which players have the necessary skills to benefit the national side at that particular point in time.

“All I basically do is select players whom I think are going to play well for Canada,” he explained. “I don’t really look at what province they’re from.”

The players also have to be able to fit into Yallop’s system of play, which he feels has become more aggressive and more focused on ball possession since he took over the program from former head coach Holger Osieck in December 2003. He said it’s a playing style that is more suited to the FIFA region that Canada plays in: the Confederation of North Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). The group features perennial powerhouses Mexico and the United States, as well as several strong Central American countries.

“I’d like to think that we are completely changing our style to suit the region,” Yallop explained. “When you’re down in Mexico City or (where) it’s a very hot and humid climate, you can’t be giving the ball to the opposition. It’s going to end up wearing you down and then you’re not going to get a result. I felt that we needed to possess the ball better (and) be very good on the counterattack.”

Yallop coached the San Jose Earthquakes to a second Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2003 and he wants to bring a similar mix of innovative offensive play and tough defensive strategy to the Canadian national side.

“I think we’ve got to that point where we’re pretty good at that. Now we’ve got to start building (by) creating more quality chances for our strikers and then (have) our strikers take those chances that do come along,” said Yallop.

So far, he added, the Canadian men’s team is “on the right track” and he feels that he’s now assembling a team with the “building blocks” to make a serious run at qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. Canada was bounced out of CONCACAF’s semi-final qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in November 2004, which some observers put down to a combination of inexperience and questionable officiating in the final games. Yallop had been on the job for less than a year at that point and was still adjusting to the CONCACAF competition.

“I learned a lot from that round and if you look at the way we played in the six to eight games we did have in qualifying, I think we played well at times (but) we couldn’t score goals when we needed to-” said Yallop. “The odd sloppy goal here or there cost us, but if you’re scoring goals at the other end, you can allow yourself to give up some goals.”

After being eliminated from contention for the 2006 World Cup, Yallop and his coaching staff had to focus on what it would take to strengthen Canada’s chances of qualifying for the 2010 competition. That meant taking a closer look at players who have performed well in the national under-20 program and who are now ready to play at the senior level.

“I also look at players who have done well with their clubs and I select certain players who I think can help me down the line when I go into (World Cup) qualifying in two or three years’ time,” Yallop explained, adding that some of the players who have earned international caps under his tenure fit into that category. They include midfielders Atiba Hutchinson (playing with Helsingborg of Sweden) and Patrice Bernier (with Tromso of the Norwegian Premier league).

Veteran Dwayne De Rosario, a versatile midfielder/forward, is currently with the Earthquakes of the MLS (after the team recently moved from California to Houston, Texas), but he played for Yallop for years during their days in San Jose.

“He’s one that will probably lead the pack a little bit,” said Yallop.

Canada will also play a friendly against Austria on March 1, a day when Canada’s more high-profile international players should be available. It’s difficult to guess how different the national men’s roster will look for that game – or whether additional B.C. players will be given their shot at the big time.

Vancouver Whitecaps director of soccer operations Bob Lenarduzzi represented Canada in the 1984 Olympics and the 1986 World Cup. He doesn’t feel the lack of B.C. players on the current roster is indicative of a problem with the province’s development programs, pointing to the tremendous success experienced by B.C.’s women soccer players at the national level.

“I think the other provinces have done (a) very good job with their player development – especially Quebec-” said Lenarduzzi. “I’m not so sure whether we’ve done a bad job or whether the others have gotten better. Sometimes this process is cyclical; you get a lot of players from one of the stronger provinces and then all of a sudden there seems to be a bit of a tapering off. I don’t know if I could put my finger on any one reason why it’s happened, but it’s a good observation.”

Dave Dew is a former head coach of the Whitecaps women’s team and was also heavily involved in the national women’s U-16 and U-17 programs. He agrees that the Canadian senior men’s coaching staff should be selecting the best players regardless of where they’re from, but he also thinks that some talented B.C. players might have been overlooked this time around.

“They wouldn’t really care if a player was from Cortes Island, Spuzzum or Pump Handle, Saskatchewan. If he’s good enough, they’re going to take him,” Dew said. “But I was quite shocked when I saw that Rob Friend was the only B.C. player selected - I know that the international players aren’t available to (Yallop) so he hasn’t selected guys like Josh Simpson, (but) he hasn’t looked at any of the younger ones like Geordie Lyall or anybody like that.”

Lyall played for UVic and is now with the Whitecaps team that made the playoffs last season, but Dew acknowledged that there are few local players playing at a level comparable to that of Simpson.

“Right now, for players at that standard – outside of Simpson – (there really aren’t) any players at this point that I would look at and say: ‘Ya, they should be on the World Cup team.’ ”

However, there are a few other B.C. players he thinks could make the grade in the future. Spectrum and Gorge FC alumni Tyler Hughes is reportedly recovering from a broken leg, but he played in Canada’s final World Cup qualifying game against Guatemala in 2004. Manny Gomez is another talented youngster who is playing overseas with River Plate’s junior program in Argentina and Dew expects he will be named to Canada’s next U-20 squad.

Dew felt that Yallop would give any qualified B.C. player a fair shot when it comes to representing their country on the international stage.

“To give credit to Frank, I know that he has people looking all over for him and he’s one of those guys who’s wide open to giving everybody an opportunity.”

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quote:Originally posted by loyola

Canada was bounced out of CONCACAF’s semi-final qualifying round for the 2006 World Cup in November 2004, which some observers put down to a combination of inexperience and questionable officiating in the final games.

I'd argue the biggest degree of inexperience was actually that of Yallop as a national team coach.

I think its great that Yallop isn't biased towards his home province though and is picking players regardless of where they are from. That's how it should be.

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Its a good question and I am glad it is a local BC writer who raised the red flag about the declining representation of BC players on the national teams. Because its a local writer it adds more credibility and raises awareness.

Fact is, the canadian climate ( short lenght of summer season) has always been an important barrier for player development in Canada. Yet, the BC demographics, as I understand them, show that the most densely populated areas have a cliamte that gives players a tremendous advantage in developing individual skills . With that advantage one would think that that would make up for population differential between a province like BC or Ont & Que. Yet, we see more notable representation from AB players within our national teams than BC players. Furthermore, I cannot think of a recent BC player who has caught my attention with his technical abilities. If you go by the "law of averages" , it shouldn't be that way.

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quote:He seemed to want to make the lack of BC players some sort of an issue.
Huh? I'd suggest that was his hook for the article, and it's not a bad one at all. Saanich News is a local twice-weekly chain publication in the Victoria area. I give the writer credit for pursuing the story and coming up with a reasonable article.

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quote:Originally posted by BC supporter

Huh? I'd suggest that was his hook for the article, and it's not a bad one at all. Saanich News is a local twice-weekly chain publication in the Victoria area. I give the writer credit for pursuing the story and coming up with a reasonable article.

Yes, that is the way I read it as well. It good to see that there is at least acknowledgement of the issue from the likes of Yallop and the Lennarduzzi. Now one would hope that it would spur action on their part to try to turn things around.

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quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

I'd argue the biggest degree of inexperience was actually that of Yallop as a national team coach.

I think its great that Yallop isn't biased towards his home province though and is picking players regardless of where they are from. That's how it should be.

What I don't understand though is why he is picking so many Impact players. It is the best club in Canada but 6 players is a lot especially when some of them have been pretty poor in previous outings and don't seem to have much future potential either. Why not give a few other players a chance? Throughout his tenure what has disturbed me most about Yallop is his player evaluation abilities. Players who don't perform well continue to be called/starter while other alternatives are not given a chance despite his quotes where he claims to be looking at everyone who is doing well with their clubs.

Some of Yallop's quotes sound good (I think he would make a good politician) but I have yet to see evidence of many of the points in practice. We are playing more possession orientated but it certainly hasn't produced better results so far. Nor does he seem willing or able to change tactics during a game when this approach is not working.

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quote:Originally posted by Grizzly

What I don't understand though is why he is picking so many Impact players.

Well for a January camp for North American & Scandinavian players, there's not many others he can call. The Whitecaps have a lot of aging players who have already had their chance - do you call Watson & Dasovic in defense instead of Gervais & Pizzolitto? Sutton is the top keeper in the A-league, so no problems there. Braz has played well, even against Spain, and warrants the call-up for this kind of camp. The only one I have a problem with is Leduc - I'd give Kevin Harmse a proper look instead (and I am surprised that the article mentions Geordie Lyall instead of Harmse as the most overlooked player on the Caps).

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quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

Well for a January camp for North American & Scandinavian players, there's not many others he can call. The Whitecaps have a lot of aging players who have already had their chance - do you call Watson & Dasovic in defense instead of Gervais & Pizzolitto? Sutton is the top keeper in the A-league, so no problems there. Braz has played well, even against Spain, and warrants the call-up for this kind of camp. The only one I have a problem with is Leduc - I'd give Kevin Harmse a proper look instead (and I am surprised that the article mentions Geordie Lyall instead of Harmse as the most overlooked player on the Caps).

I am ok with calling Sutton, Braz and Hainault. I am not crazy about Pizzolitto, Gervais and Leduc. None have been impressive in past appearances and I just don't think they are international quality players. None of them are young either. We need to be looking at alternatives to them. I wouldn't mind if Yallop called one or even two of the three since a lot of players aren't available but all three worries me. I am also worried with them in the picture that he will call them when better players are available in games that matter. He has done it before. No I would not call Dasovic and Watson but Harmse, Kindel and Lyall would all be candidates as well as Jordan up front. I would even prefer to see Martin Nash instead of Leduc. To be clear I am not saying all these players should be called but that there are a few Whitecaps as deserving or more deserving to be called than a few of the Impact players and I say that as an Impact fan.

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I don't care what cities or provinces players come from, but I do care about clubs. It doesn't make sense to me that there should be so many Impact players and so few Whitecap players involved with the national team when these clubs are otherwise quite comparable.

The Whitecaps have been training for a while now, even playing full friendly matches, so they should be in game shape.

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